Through Project Accelerator, WaterNow partners with communities and water agencies to implement affordable, climate resilient, and equitable water solutions. Building upon the successes of two prior Colorado Regional Accelerators, this latest application cycle furthers our commitment to helping communities achieve their water conservation and efficiency goals.

As we embark on this third round of Colorado projects, our focus remains on enhancing the existing library of sustainable water project examples and resources, fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing, and paving the way for innovative, regional solutions. Today, we are thrilled to announce the four new Accelerator projects that we will be launching this spring.

Colorado Springs Utilities, CO: Landscape Industry Education Plan for Water Conservation

Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) serves nearly half a million customers along the Front Range of Colorado drawing from diverse water resources, including the high mountain watersheds of the Colorado River. Through the establishment of regional and statewide stakeholder groups, the initiative aims to develop shared training objectives for a Colorado landscape industry education program tailored to the unique needs of the on-the-ground landscape professionals. Utilizing workshops, subject matter expert meetings, and certification program reviews, the project will pinpoint gaps and strengths in existing landscaper educational resources in Colorado, culminating in a comprehensive education plan centered on water conservation techniques. By harnessing diverse perspectives and expertise, the project strives to shape a collective vision for water conservation and landscape sustainability, catalyzing positive change statewide.


Commerce City, CO and South Adams County Water & Sanitation District, CO: Aligning Water Management and Turf Replacement: A Collaborative Framework

The City of Commerce City and South Adams County Water & Sanitation District (SACWSD) are working together to address future challenges including rapid growth of the customer base, increased temperatures, and unpredictable precipitation patterns. SACWSD provides essential services to over 68,000 customers in the City of Commerce City and parts of unincorporated Adams County, including potable, irrigation and augmentation water, and wastewater disposal. Effective water resource management and resiliency planning are of utmost importance to these two organizations, and finding ways to align their policies, programs, and water efficiency goals are key to safeguarding water supply reliability in the community. The City is currently working on updating its land development code, including landscaping design standards and a waterwise plant list, within the year 2024. To complement these code updates and a growing interest in waterwise landscaping in the community, the two partners seek to collaborate and ultimately develop a turf replacement initiative for their residents. Through this project, WaterNow will work with the City of Commerce City and SACWSD to evaluate existing water conservation programs and policies, facilitate collaborative team meetings, research viable turf replacement and demand-side management program options, engage with partners and the community for input, and develop a roadmap and communication plan to help the organizations implement this program.

Town of Erie, CO: Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance Development Program

The Town of Erie, a Front Range community approximately 20 miles north of Denver, is experiencing rapid population growth and warming temperatures. The demand for water resources is escalating, necessitating efficient water management strategies. In collaboration with WaterNow Alliance and Western Resource Advocates, Erie is embarking on a transformative initiative to develop its Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. The ordinance aims to establish enforceable standards and foster community engagement, promoting water-efficient landscaping across residential and commercial sectors. By reducing water consumption, nurturing diverse ecosystems, and cutting water bills, the ordinance will result in multiple environmental and social benefits. This effort is a significant stride toward a more environmentally responsible future while addressing Erie’s ambitious “10 in 10” goal of reducing water usage by 10% in 10 years, as outlined in the Town’s 2021 Water Conservation Plan. The project will entail drafting innovative ordinance language, creating an outreach and communication plan, developing educational resources, and convening stakeholder meetings.

City of Fountain, CO: CII Turf Conversion Incentive Program (TCIP)

In the Front Range City of Fountain, CO, approximately 40% of water is used outdoors. There is growing interest among commercial, industrial, and institutional (CII) customers for a commercial turf conversion incentive program that saves money and water. WaterNow and Fountain will partner to create a pilot-ready program encouraging the conversion of high-water turf into low water landscaping on CII properties. The project includes developing the program eligibility details, timelines, applications, review and reimbursement processes, minimum/maximum benefit thresholds, outreach materials, and more. This CII TCIP will not only address the pressing need for water conservation in Fountain, but also underscores the commitment to inclusivity by tailoring support for low-income and hard-to-reach customers.

Congratulations to the new Colorado Project Accelerator recipients and thank you to all of our excellent applicants!

Looking to Future Opportunities

As always, this selection process was exceptionally challenging, as we received many strong and creative applications for support on a wide variety of projects, from efforts to support turf grass conversion incentive programs to strategies to harness the influx of federal funding opportunities. If we could, we’d select every single one of them. It’s exciting to see so many utilities from across Colorado developing sustainable and innovative projects to improve their community’s water quality and quantity, as well as raising public awareness about these important issues. We look forward to adding this round of projects to the library of examples and resources available on our website, and encourage communities to keep an eye out for future application rounds.

We look forward to more opportunities to build a sustainable, resilient water future with you!

This program is made possible by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Thank You!

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