Aspen, CO Enforces Mandatory Water Restrictions for the First Time in History

Steven Agar |
aspen, water ban, restriction,
Stage 2 restrictions in force in Aspen, CO. Credit: Denver Post.

For the first time in history, the city of Aspen, Colorado has declared a stage 2 water shortage. Due to extremely low water levels due to low snowpack and little summer precipitation, Aspen City Council approved the move at its regular meeting Monday, reports Summit Daily. The restrictions will remain in effect indefinitely.

“After a warm spring and summer, conditions have deteriorated, so we are recommending a stage 2 shortage,” said Margaret Medellin, the city’s utilities portfolio manager. “We are asking people to be thoughtful about their water use.”

aspen, water ban, restriction
Aspen in the summer. Credit: Gareth Williams

The council enacted a stage 1 water shortage in May, which was all voluntary restrictions, and stage 2 comes with mandatory restrictions for all Aspen water customers, including no watering lawns more than three days a week and no more than 30 minutes per sprinkler zone per day. Restrictions also include no watering native areas more than two days a week and no watering lawns between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., and at any time when it is raining. Stage 2 further increases billing rates for the highest water-use customers. These rate changes will be from 50 to 75 percent based on which category the customer’s water use falls into (tier 3 or 4).

There cannot be any watering of lawns, landscaping, or amenity resulting in ponding or the flowing of water onto paved surfaces. There also will be no washing of sidewalks, driveways, patios, tennis courts and parking areas. Violations will have consequences.

aspen, water ban, restriction
I’m afraid you’ll have to stop washing those tennis courts, Aspen residents. Credit: Frias

Violators will be issued a notice to correct the infraction. If it’s not corrected, a first offense carries a $500 fine. If it’s blatant, the first offense can carry a $500 with no correction notice. Subsequent offenses could result in additional $500 fines or disconnection of water service. The goal is to protect the health of Castle and Maroon creeks, which are running at only 30 percent of average for August while maintaining Aspen’s municipal water at levels that can meet customers’ demands.

One thing is for certain, we need a really good snowpack this year, and not just for shredding!

For more information, email or call 970-920-5110. For water conservation programs and information visit

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