In a unanimous vote on September 10, the Golden City Council approved a “Laundry-to-Landscape” (L2L) graywater ordinance – the first in Colorado to focus exclusively on L2L systems, and only the fourth graywater ordinance in the state.

Golden’s ordinance will allow participating single-family residences to water non-edible outdoor plants with water from their laundry machines and laundry room sinks, meaning the potable water they would have used for irrigation can be saved. The ordinance is a step toward achieving Golden’s sustainability goal of reducing per capita total water use by at least 15% by 2030.

L2L is one of the simplest, most affordable graywater systems communities can pursue. It works by discharging gravity-fed water from a washing machine to water outdoor plants. It is an approachable example of the water conservation strategy known as beneficial reuse. No tanks, pumps or filters are required, it needs little maintenance, and parts can be purchased for roughly $250 from a home center.

“I'm proud of Golden for becoming one of the first cities in the state to pass a graywater ordinance as another tool in our water conservation toolbox," said City Council member Jim Dale.

This decision comes at a time when the state is experiencing severe drought, and the pandemic has boosted understanding of water’s value among the general public. It is more critical than ever to utilize alternate water sources to meet the growing demand on water supply. Golden is excited to focus next on demonstration projects that show homeowners the simplicity and effectiveness of L2L systems.

Wondering how this ordinance came to pass? Last year, the City of Golden was accepted into WaterNow’s Project Accelerator program where we offer pro-bono support and technical assistance to research and develop innovative water programs. Since then we’ve worked closely with the City and our partners at Western Resource Advocates (WRA) to assess current efforts in Colorado and leverage best practices to design a tailored graywater program for Golden. Learn more about Golden’s Project Accelerator program.

The next Project Accelerator round will open in winter 2020. Stay tuned for future updates on this page and apply to get support from us for your own initiative!

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