Water Conservation

In the Western U.S., water is a scarce resource. We are becoming increasingly aware of this in our everyday lives and our community.

Why it matters:

In 2018, the main stem of the Yampa River had its first-ever call. Shortly after, in 2020, the second. These administrations on the river meant that junior water right holders had to stop using their water until more senior water right holders received their allotted water.

Recently, Routt and Moffat Counties were identified as “hot spots” for increased temperatures. Hotter temperatures cause more evaporation and thirstier soils and vegetation that uptake more water. These conditions can lead to drought and further water scarcity. As we experience first-hand the changing climate in the Yampa Valley, we need to be ready to adapt. Water conservation practices can help us prepare for this new normal.


The Alliance for Water Efficiency provides resources for ways to increase water efficiency.

EPA Water Sense has many tips and tricks on ways to conserve water.

The Water Use it Wisely website provides resources for ways to use water wisely. 

Check out the United States Drought Monitor for data on current drought conditions.

This webpage from the Division of Water Resources provides information on rain barrels, greywater, and other strategies for conservation. 

What we’re doing:

To address water scarcity and adapt to our changing local climate, YVSC has partnered with the City of Steamboat Springs, Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District, and Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation to implement equity education and outreach for the 2020 Water Conservation Plan.

In early summer 2021, we hosted an information session about rain barrels and showcased how you can build your own. This is a great strategy that helps reduce demand for treated water supplies and will also help you understand the natural precipitation patterns in the Yampa Valley.

Do you have questions about the watering schedule in the City of Steamboat Springs? Here is our flyer outlining the schedule. Click the image below and print to fill the days that your household is supposed to be watering.

On August 26, 2021, we hosted our inaugural Principles and Practices Workshop: Conserving Water in Gardens and Landscaping. This workshop featured a presentation from Western Water Management and was focused on techniques for watering your landscape efficiently and ways to be water conscious in your landscaping and design. After the presentation, we hosted a panel discussion and Q&A. This panel focused on Yampa Valley climate-appropriate plants, landscaping construction and design, permaculture, native landscaping, and low-water-use tips for your garden. Click here Sustaining Water document for tips on how to conserve water in your garden and landscaping from our expert panel.

Every other Wednesday, YVSC hosts Water Tip Wednesday on our social media platforms. Check out an archive of our past Water Tips below.

What you can do:
  • Start using a rain barrel (or two!), to harvest water for use on your garden or landscape. Since 2016, Coloradans can use up to two rain barrels of a combined capacity of 110 gallons to collect rainwater. Learn more here.
  • Update outdated and leaky fixtures to higher-efficiency ones. Are you a City of Steamboat Springs or Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District water customer?
    • Apply here if you are a City of Steamboat Springs water customer
    • Apply here if you are a Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District water customer
  • Rethinking your landscape design or just moved to the valley? Consider native plants and landscaping that are accustomed to this environment and can withstand drought. Click here for a guide to native plants if you are planting at 7,500 ft elevation and above. Click here for planting below 7,000 ft elevation in the Western Slope.
  • Apply mulch to your garden or landscape and conserve up to 30% of the water applied.
  • Avoid outdoor irrigation during the hottest parts of the day, when water will be more likely to evaporate. Water before 10 AM or after 6 PM.
  • Conserve water by only watering outdoors on your designated day. Water days are based on the last number (even or odd) of a customer’s address. There is no watering on Wednesday. Click here for the schedule and more information.
  • Get a precipitation gauge or an inexpensive soil moisture sensor to inform when to water or shift your irrigation schedule.
  • Apply compost to your garden or landscaping to improve soil health and bolster its ability to retain water.
  • When possible, use irrigation controlled by soil moisture levels in your fields, lawns, or garden. This technology only waters based on the soil’s needs.
  • Know how much water you use. Check out this water footprint calculator to see how much and where you use the most amount of water.


The program was highlighted in this Steamboat pilot article on April 6, 2021.

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