City initiative calls residents to save money by reducing water use

Isabel Brown

water tower
Water tower outside of Colorado State University’s Foothills Campus Sept. 20. (Grayson Reed | The Collegian)

Residents of the City of Fort Collins were encouraged to shut off their outdoor irrigation systems by Oct. 1 through the 2021 Shift Your Water Challenge.

This initiative, according to a press release from Sept. 1, has the potential to save 100 million gallons of water, the same amount it saved last year.

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“Seven hundred and fifty-two households signed up for the Shift Your Water Challenge and pledged to turn off their outdoor irrigation by Oct. 1,” said Jensen Morgan, senior environmental sustainability specialist for the City of Fort Collins and project manager for the Shift Your Water Challenge. 

Residents can pledge to join and enter a drawing to earn one of 100 prizes of $50 credits to their next water bill, according to the press release.

According to Morgan, the winners of the drawing will be announced in late October, after the amount of water saved is verified.

The Shift Your Water webpage states 91% of Fort Collins Utilities customers pledged to shut off their water last year, leading to 105 million gallons of water saved. 

Residents who rent their living space may not have control of their outdoor water systems, but they may have other options to get involved in the future.”

The City of Fort Collins Utilities serves about 70% of the City, according to the Water Related Environmental Indicators webpage.

“We are in the process of calculating the gallons of water saved,” Morgan said. “We do not yet have the data but would be happy to share it in the future.”

Shutting off outdoor sprinkler systems this early in the fall months won’t influence how green lawns will be this coming spring, the press release states. Not only does this save water, it can also save residents money on their water bills.

water treatment center
Water treatment center for Fort Collins next to Colorado State University’s Foothills Campus Sept. 20. (Grayson Reed | The Collegian)

The Fort Collins Climate Dashboard website states the energy used to treat wastewater and water for drinking causes some greenhouse gas emissions, and while these emissions aren’t as large as other areas of energy use, conserving water still has a beneficial impact on not only the watershed but global warming and the economy.

Since 2005, these emissions have decreased by 16%, according to the dashboard.

Residents who rent their living space may not have control of their outdoor water systems, but they may have other options to get involved in the future.

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“We have two more actions planned for the Shift Your Water Challenge,” Morgan said. 

The first action will be in partnership with Larimer County Conservation Corps. Residents will be able to get a free water-saving toilet installed in their home, according to Morgan. He said the second action will be oriented around motivating residents to shorten their shower time. 

The website reminds residents to winterize their irrigation systems after turning them off so the pipes don’t freeze and cause damage.

If you would like to pledge to join the initiative or learn more, visit the Shift Your Water Challenge webpage. 

Isabel Brown can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @isabelbrown02.