Sustainability is a core principle in how Castle Rock Water manages and operates our business to best serve our customers, care for the environment and ensure a strong water future. Our daily operations go beyond water protection and align business performance with a commitment to environmental, social and community stewardship. Along with our Environmental Policy which states our purpose to protect the environment, Castle Rock Water has implemented an Environmental Management System to help manage operations and the environmental aspects associated with them.
First awarded in 2018, Castle Rock Water maintains the Gold status of the Environmental Leadership Program by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for voluntarily going beyond compliance with state and federal regulations, and also for showing commitment to continued environmental improvement.
Conserving water is a primary goal in any sustainability efforts, but for Castle Rock Water it also makes business sense. Saving water means the less we have to purchase in the future with less financial impact to our rate payers. Our goal is to reduce consumption of gallons per capita daily to 100 by 2050.
Though residents have embraced a conservation culture and usage has reduced from 135 GPCD, the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and the drought conditions potentially caused a rise in gallons per capita daily usage by 1% to 118 GPCD.
- Introduced the regulation for all new residential development to restrict turf grass in the front yard and limit it to 500 square feet in the backyard, as well as restricting turf grass in new commercial development in non-functional areas.
- Reduced peak demand usage by assisting with increasing irrigation efficiency from top customers including Town outdoor facilities and non-residential customers
- Water Use Management Plan - this demand management tool, revised in 2022, provides processes to ensure adequate volumes and pressure to the water distribution system during landscape irrigation season
- Water Efficiency Master Plan - steps to encourage customers to use water efficiently
- Water budget rate structure - tiered water budget with incremental rates to encourage conservation
- Watering schedules - limited days per week and times during the day for residential and non-residential customers to irrigate, resulting in conservation and peak demand management
- Landscape and Irrigation Performance Standards and Criteria Manual - regulations for construction regarding landscape and irrigation design
- Registration for Landscape Professionals program - required educational course on efficient irrigation practices for professional landscapers
- Water Wiser workshops - free resident educational classes on efficient irrigation practices
- ColoradoScape education - free xeric design workshops and demonstration gardens
- Rebates and customer incentive programs - rebates for turf removal, select irrigation products, ultra-efficient toilets and whole house water monitoring systems to increase conservation practices
- Customer outreach - messaging on the value of water in billing newsletter, social media and direct mail
- Annual town-wide conservation campaigns - spurring customer engagement with campaigns including the national Mayor's Challenge and the ColoradoScape contest
One of our renewable water sources is surface water from Plum Creek. Preventing hazardous waste from entering our stream and keeping this source clean, directly affects costs and treatment options. Most water pollution comes from non-point sources (the general public) and thus outreach and education to influence individual responsibility is our focus.
Castle Rock Water completed 100% of the sanitary sewer inspection in 2022, reducing the risk of collection system issues.
- Source Water Protection Plan - identifies risk and responses for activities and dangers that could affect surface water
- Outreach and assistance for Douglas County Household Chemical Roundup pop-up events, collecting chemicals including pesticides and herbicides, batteries, motor oil and latex paint
- Annual Spring Up the Creek community-wide clean up with hundreds of volunteers collecting trash on community trails and creeks
- Pet waste pickup activities including sponsorship of dog waste station on Perry Street trail and outreach messaging
- Promotional education for the unused medication drop off at the Town police station
- Target to minimize Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) to 0 per year by cleaning or inspecting one-third of collection systems annually
An Energy Management Plan was developed in 2015 to focus efforts on ways to reduce electrical consumption, a primary cost center for pumping water from the underground aquifer and through distribution channels.
Per kwH usage has increased since 2021 as Advanced Treatment was put online in 2021 with several energy-intensive processes. As water quality is a high priority, energy savings is being realized in other areas such as those outlined below.
Actions for electrical savings
- The implementation of the Energy Management Plan in 2015 enabled Castle Rock Water to minimize increases in electrical usage while encountering an increase in water production.
- Transition away from pumping deep water wells, the primary electricity user for water operations
- Time of use billing at all pump stations
- Use of billing dates to effectively determine when to start and stop operations at well facilities
- Use the most efficient billing rate to keep costs at their lowest
- Involvement in the Town of Castle Rock Project Green program for energy savings within work areas including using blankets instead of space heaters, Turn It Off light switch reminders and anti-idling campaign.
- Continued replacement of old, failing indoor and outdoor light fixtures with LED lighting
- The O&M Building built in 2017 uses high-energy efficiency measures such as motion-sensor interior lighting as does the newly built (2021) Administration Building
Actions for natural gas savings
- Natural gas usage is for facilities only and not part of the business operations
- Project Green education on the use of clothing layers and blankets to accommodate temperature fluctuations within offices and buildings
- Lowering thermostats in remote, unoccupied facilities to maintain temperatures above freezing
Recycling and environmental impact activities are an identified goal in all operations of the utility and part of the corporate culture. A primary focus in 2020, as identified in the 2006 Water Use Management Plan, was the addition of Advanced Treatment to Plum Creek Water Purification Facility in order to treat recycled (reuse) water. Reuse water will ultimately constitute 1/3 of the water supply in Castle Rock.
Castle Rock Water recycled more than 1,388 lbs. of scrap metal, prevented 12 porcelain toilets from ending up in the landfill, and reuse water constitutes about 1/3 of renewable water supplies.
- Recycling of all retired brass meters
- Recycling of metal from various obsolete equipment and parts
- Recycling of cardboard, including shipping boxes with on-site recycling bin
- Recycling containers are used in personal office space and break rooms with continued education and reminders for use
- Recycling of office supplies and equipment such as printer cartridges, copy paper, batteries, etc.
- Participated in the Town of Castle Rock Project Green Team's educating staff on what can be recycled in the recycling bins throughout all facilities
- Recycling of old toilets through our toilet rebate program
- Maximizing water supply through Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) with the addition of Advanced Treatment and identified water supply sources
- Assistance with the development of State regulatory requirements for Direct Potable Reuse (DPR) water