WaterNow and Western Resource Advocates (WRA) supported The City of Golden in developing a graywater ordinance and demonstration program. The goal of this project was to encourage the implementation of laundry-to-landscape (L2L) graywater systems in residential homes to reduce peak potable water demands, as well as energy demands related to water and wastewater treatment.
The City of Golden aimed to improve their existing customers’ water efficiency in order to build resilience in the face of drought and future water supply shortages. Through Project Accelerator, the goal was to expand on their existing programs by developing alternative sources of supply such as graywater. They decided to pursue development of an L2L graywater ordinance, which would 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.
A secondary purpose of this project was to develop resources for other communities interested in implementing a similar ordinance and program. The project included five phases: 1) researching existing graywater programs and Colorado specific regulations; 2) drafting ordinance language; 3) engaging with local stakeholders; 4) finalizing graywater ordinance language and presenting to the Council; 5) developing graywater program outreach and education plan; and 6) supporting demonstration projects.
In an 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. 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.