WaterNowAlliance and Western Resource Advocates partnered with the Town of Severance to incorporate sound water conservation tactics in the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.
The Town of Severance has experienced rapid growth over the last decade and began updating its Comprehensive Plan at the end of 2019. The recent local growth combined with an ever-increasing spotlight on water in the Colorado Front Range led to the Town wanting to take a more thorough look at water efficiency. There was an opportunity for the Town to better understand and implement water efficiency starting with the Comprehensive Plan and the codes and policies that follow. WaterNow worked with Town staff and Board members to provide additional capacity and expertise to guide the development of water elements into the Comprehensive Plan. We researched and compiled existing resources on integrating water into comprehensive planning, identified and conducted informational interviews with communities that have adopted exemplary comprehensive plans with water conservation elements, convened stakeholder meetings, and drafted water efficiency recommendations to include in the Plan. Developing water wise land use planning measures is one of the most crucial steps that fast-growing communities can take to ensure their water supply resilience.
In an unanimous vote on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, the Severance Town Board approved the Town’s updated Comprehensive Plan, taking a critical first step in integrating water conservation into their land use decision-making processes.
The final Plan incorporated water and water conservation throughout, including in the Guiding Principles and Planning Influences sections, as well as a separate Water System Implementation section that included specific opportunities for improving water efficiency moving forward. These opportunities include adopting water efficient landscape regulations and design criteria and coordinating with North Weld County Water District to develop conservation-oriented system development connection charges.
Since the project’s completion, the Town has since focused on implementing Land Use Code updates that incorporate water conservation, based on water-related actions identified in the Comp Plan. It has implemented multi-family standards/requirements that include water conservation specifications. During 2023, the Town is planning to adopt new Non-Residential Commercial Developments Code Criteria, as well as new code language regarding Open Space Code Criteria that focuses on water conservation and requirements.