The Hydrozone Program promotes water-efficiency for developments that design, install and maintain water-efficient landscapes. This allows for a reduced water rights payment on the associated irrigation meter.
How Does the Program Work?
A hydrozone plan includes irrigation and planting design that clusters plants with similar water requirements together to help conserve water. A water budget* will be calculated to the specific plants under the hydrozone plan. The landscape design must show at least 25% reduction from the 3 acre-feet of water per acre required to irrigate Kentucky bluegrass. Going forward, if the water budget is exceeded, an annual surcharge will be assessed, which can be very costly. This water budget will be monitored by Loveland Water and Power on an on-going basis.
Who can Participate?
This is a voluntary program available to Loveland Water and Power customers with dedicated irrigation meters for either new landscapes or for retrofitting** existing landscapes.
* Water budgets are calculated from the square footage in each hydrozone category and their corresponding water requirements.
**For retrofitting an existing landscape, contact Nathan Alburn.
How to Apply for New Development?
- Application: Applicant voluntarily applies to join the Hydrozone Program prior to City approval for the Public Improvement Construction Plans (PICP).
- Submit Plans: Submit plans that meet all program requirements included in Municipal Code Chapter 19.06 and briefly summarized below:
- Landscape Plans – Plant areas grouped by distinct hydrozone categories. Identify location and size of the dedicated irrigation meter.
- Hydrozone Plans – Include a table that lists each hydrozone category, square footage, and maximum gallons required per square foot per year.
- Irrigation Plans – Schematic view of the irrigation system with the size and location of the irrigation meter, location of irrigation automatic controller and automatic rain sensors.
- Pay fees: Pay system impact and water rights fees.
- Hydrozone Agreement: Complete a hydrozone plan between the City and Applicant/Owner.
- Soil Amendment Affidavit: Add proper soil amendments*** prior to the planting of the landscaping and submit the soil amendment affidavit.
|Example Hydrozone Plan Table|
|Hydrozone Category||Sq. Ft. of Area||Max Gallons Required/Sq. Ft.||Water Budget|
|High||2,000||X 20 =||40,000|
|Moderate||100||X 12 =||1,200|
|Low||1,000||X 3.6 =||3,600|
|Very Low||50||X 0 =||0|
***Amending soils with compost increases the soil’s capacity to hold moisture, which allows for watering to be reduced. Soil amendments are key to successfully staying under the annual water budget.
Long-Term Program Participation
Hydrozone Agreement - A hydrozone agreement must be executed between the City and the Developer. The agreement will also be recorded with Larimer County so that all future owners will be notified of the implications and responsibilities of this program.
Initial 3-Year Grace Period - Participants are allowed an initial 3-year grace period to establish plantings in which the water budget may be exceeded without penalty.
What Happens if I Exceed My Annual Water Budget?
After the initial 3-year grace period, surcharges are assessed on excess water usage. If the water budget is exceeded by more than 5% for 3 consecutive years, the site will no longer qualify to be on the Hydrozone Program. The difference between the water rights already paid and the amount owed for a standard irrigation meter will be due to Loveland Water and Power by the current owner, which can be very costly.
What if I Need to Replant and Use More Water in a Given Year?
You can apply for an exemption year to use more water to replant and establish new plantings.
Can I Increase My Annual Water Budget?
Yes, at any time, the current owner may buy more water rights that will equate to an increased water budget and still stay on the program. The new water budget must be at least 25% below the 3 acre-feet per acre requirement for typical Kentucky bluegrass.
Irrigators must meet the requirements of Municipal Code Chapter 18.08 (Landscaping and Buffering) and demonstrate a twenty-five percent reduction in water use from traditional bluegrass landscapes as set forth in Municipal Code Chapter 19.06 (Irrigation).
Water Resources Civil Engineer