Fort Collins to begin water restrictions in October

Sam Moccia

Mandatory water restrictions across Fort Collins are slated to begin Oct. 1, after Fort Collins City Manager Darin Atteberry signed a declaration and order for the action level IV restrictions last week, according to a Sept. 15 press release from the City of Fort Collins

“The City manager will lift restrictions when they are no longer needed, expected by Nov. 30, according to the press release.”

Under the outdoor water use restrictions, lawn watering is not allowed, according to the Water Shortage Action Plan. Trees, gardens for food production and other landscapes may be watered by hand or drip systems, with additional exceptions being made by permits for athletic/active fields.


The action level IV restrictions, which are pursuant to the City’s WSAP, are reserved for “unique water shortages that are not adequately addressed by the other action levels,” according to the press release.  

The planned restrictions were enacted to avoid a water shortage in light of numerous factors, namely the ongoing state wide drought conditions, the nearby Cameron Peak Fire and a new local infrastructure repair project, known as the Horsetooth Outlet Project, according to the press release. 

The HOP, planned to begin in October, is a “proactive infrastructure maintenance project” designed to provide water to both the Fort Collins Utilities and Soldier Canyon water treatment facilities, according to the release.

“Together, the two facilities serve more than 220,000 residents and businesses in Fort Collins and the surrounding area,” the press release said.

During the project, utilities will have limited water from Horsetooth and will rely more on the Cache la Poudre River, according to the press release. But if continued drought or poor water quality induced by the Cameron Peak Fire occur, water delivery from the river could become limited due to reliance on a backup system with lower capacity, according to the press release. 

“If water demand levels have not decreased to typical winter levels and the backup system needs to be used, there will likely be a water shortage,” the press release said. “Outdoor water use restrictions will proactively increase utilities’ ability to deliver full water demand, if the limited-capacity backup pump system is needed.” 

The City manager will lift restrictions when they are no longer needed, expected by Nov. 30, according to the press release.

According to the press release, updates and the latest information on HOP and water restrictions, including exemption information, can be found at, by emailing or by calling 970-416-8040 or V/TDD 711.

Sam Moccia can be reached at or on Twitter @SamuelMoccia.