Grant Program Supports Water Efficient Efforts 

Get funding for your landscape project, and become a partner in Northern Water’s education and outreach network 

In 2018, Northern Water launched a Collaborative Water-Efficient Landscape Grant Program to promote water-efficient, Colorado climate-friendly landscapes. This program helps expand our education and outreach efforts in the communities we serve. Grants awarded help fund new or redevelop landscapes based on the principles and best practices displayed in our Conservation Campus and Gardens. We also provide signs and other materials so the project can serve as a landscape efficiency education site. 

Who can apply?  

The program is open to new or redeveloping landscapes at public or private facilities, including cities, enterprises, non-profits, businesses, schools, multi-family complexes and HOA-managed landscapes.

Grant Amounts 

The maximum amount awarded per project in 2020 is $20,000, with a matching amount required from the applicant, which can be met with cash and/or in-kind labor contributions. A limited number of grants will be awarded, at the sole discretion of Northern Water.

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Apply for the Grant Program 

Grant Application
2020-21 Grant Program Timeline
  • Consultations for Applicants:  July 20-Sept. 30, 2020
  • Applications Accepted: Oct. 1-Nov. 20, 2020 
  • Applicants Notified: Jan. 20, 2021 
  • Contracts Signed/Projects Start: March 31, 2021
  • Project Completion Deadline: Sept. 1, 2021
Submitting an application?  

Please return application and materials to: Chad Kuhnel, Northern Water, 220 Water Ave., Berthoud, CO 80513. Digital applications and accompanying materials can be emailed to Chad Kuhnel

Along with the completed application, please also include:  

  • Photos of the property 
  • Project drawings and sketches 
  • A site map with dimensions 
  • A break-down of costs, including total project cost, in-kind services, and other funding 
  • A five-year maintenance plan for the new or redeveloped landscape 
  • Any other information pertinent to the project

Grant Program Projects

Program Requirements

  • Projects must be within Northern Water’s boundaries.  
  • Landscapes must be at least 1,000 square feet (although smaller projects may be considered if they offer unique public education opportunities) 
  • Landscapes must be designed to use substantially less water than traditional landscapes and must include at least 50 percent plant coverage when the plants are mature. 
  • This program is not retroactive. Projects underway prior to approval are ineligible.  
  • The grant recipient is responsible for obtaining the required permits from local entities and making sure the project follows all local ordinances.   
  • Implementation of the project is the sole responsibility of the applicant.  
  • Grant recipients will be required to submit monthly updates with photos while the project is underway.  
  • Grant payments will be made once the project is completed.  
  • Potential applicants are required to take part in a landscape consultation with Northern Water prior to submitting an application. Applicants will be requested to pursue a Slow the Flow Irrigation Audit as part of the consultation and grant application, where appropriate. To schedule a pre-application consultation, contact Chad Kuhnel at 800-369-7246. 
  • Hard costs (plants and materials) plus contract and in-kind labor can qualify for matching funds. Material costs per unit must not exceed manufacturer’s suggested retail price. 
  • In-kind labor must be documented and is to be valued at prevailing rates not to exceed $25 per hour.  
  • Recipients must keep all original receipts and plant labels to verify that all grant qualifications have been met. Copies of itemized receipts are required for reimbursement processing. Contractor’s invoices must show an itemized materials list separate from labor.  
  • To ensure water savings are achieved, the converted area must remain in compliance with the program terms and conditions for a period of five years following project completion and receipt of the grant payment.  
  • Applicants are required to include a maintenance plan as part of the application process. 
  • Location: High-visibility locations will be given priority due to the educational component, but all qualifying projects will be considered.  
  • Plants must be xeric and have low to moderate water requirements and be appropriate to Northern Colorado’s climate. Plant Select and CSU Extension plant recommendations are preferred. Invasive plants and artificial plants are not allowed. Applicants are encouraged to tour Northern Water’s Conservation Campus and Garden to see examples and utilize plants from the Campus Plant Database.
  • To meet the 50 percent coverage requirement, up to half of the existing tree canopy can be used. To determine mature plant size, consult the Plant Select and CSU Extension plant lists. Plants outside the converted area are not considered in the calculation, even if they’re adjacent to or overhang into the converted area.  
  • Impermeable surfaces, such as concrete, that do not allow water to penetrate into the ground, are not allowed as part of the conversion area. Permeable concrete or pavers are allowed, but the 50 percent plant cover rule still applies to the entire area.  
  • Mulch: Appropriate planting areas must have a minimum of 3 inches of wood or natural-material mulch. Weed barrier fabric is not preferred under wood mulch or small gravel rock one-half inch or smaller. If a weed barrier is used it should only be for larger rock mulch and not directly around plants. 
  • Irrigation: An irrigation system is not required. However, if installed, the system must have a WaterSense controller, be well-designed and receive an irrigation audit. Where possible, drip irrigation is preferred. As the project is implemented, separate metering of the irrigation system is preferred, if possible. Existing zones must be reprogrammed to reflect reduced water use.
  • Grant project applications are encouraged to incorporate third party landscape certifications, including Plant Select's HOA Demonstration Gardens Partnership
  • For professional assistance, please see our Partners and Resources page.