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Tip #208

Insulate hot and cold water pipes above the water heater(s).

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Fort Collins Utilities is an equal opportunity residential and commercial utility service provider. We do not discriminate in the terms, conditions or provision of services based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin.


Fort Collins Utilities es una empresa proveedora de servicios públicos residenciales y comerciales con igualdad de oportunidad. No discriminamos en los términos, las condiciones o la provisión de servicios en base a raza, color, religión, sexo, discapacidad, estatus familiar o nacionalidad de origen.

West Vine


  • A more rural area of the West Vine Basin showing low lying areas that are prone to flooding.

The West Vine Basin, located in northwest Fort Collins, extends east from Horsetooth Reservoir to the Cache la Poudre River and south from West Vine Drive to Mulberry Street and Laporte Avenue. The total area is approximately 2,350 acres. Less than 15 percent of the basin is within city limits; the rest is in unincorporated Larimer County. In general, the basin drains from west to east along five flow paths that are not well defined. Throughout the years, development has occurred over the historical flow paths. Most of the basin's drainage facilities are inadequate during any storm event, and as a result, drainage problems have occurred regularly.

Four irrigation canals cross the basin generally from north to south. The three main canals - the Pleasant Valley and Lake Canal (PV&L), the New Mercer Ditch (NMD) and the Larimer County Canal No. 2 (LC2) - impact the drainage in the basin. The canals intercept runoff traveling through the basin and transport it out of the basin. They also regularly spill runoff into the basin when their capacity is exceeded. During a 100-year storm, 33 structures and 14 roads could be damaged with an estimated $1.7 million in damages.

The recommended plan of improvements include construction of detention ponds, channels, and spill structures (from the canals). Once all improvements are in place, there will be two structures damaged in a 100-year storm.

The master plan update is currently underway. The goal is to address stormwater quality from rainfall runoff and to identify stream restoration projects that protect the city's watersheds.


  • Floodwaters were up to 18 inches deep in Hollywood Street in 1999

  • Bulldozers removed flood waters on Hollywood Street in 1999

Flooding History

The West Vine Basin originates in northwest Fort Collins in the foothills and extends nearly four miles before joining the Poudre River just north of Vine Drive and Shields Street.

As water travels down the basin toward the river, it floods low-lying areas where historical channels have disappeared. The majority of the basin is in Larimer County outside of the city limits.

Development occurred sporadically over the years, leaving some areas with small storm sewers while other areas have no storm sewer system at all. Many houses in the basin lie within the floodplain and have suffered damage during even relatively small storms.

In 1992, Irish Drive was flooded by a storm centered over Old Town that dropped two and a half inches of rain in less than an hour. Snowplows were used to push water from Irish Drive into the irrigation canal. Again in 1994, a storm caused water to overtop Overland Trail and flooded several homes.

In the 1997 flood, Spring Creek received the most damage, but considerable destruction also occurred in the West Vine basin. Nearly 12 inches of rain fell in two days in the western portion of the basin. The large lake that formed on Hollywood Street on July 28 inundated houses with three to four feet of water before it spilled onto Sunset Street and the Irish neighborhood.

Damages resulting from this event caused an outcry by hard-hit residents for drainage improvements by the County. Homes in other parts of the basin also were damaged by this storm.

A slow-moving spring rain in 1999 caused significant flooding in the basin when over four inches of rain fell in a two-day period on already rain-soaked ground. The storm culminated the second wettest April on record. Floodwaters reached depths of 18 inches on Hollywood Street and triggered voluntary evacuations. East of this area, on Irish Drive, City crews filled sandbags and pushed water into the New Mercer Irrigation Canal with snowplows and heavy machinery.

While the Irish/Hollywood neighborhoods have benefitted from a recent $1 million drainage project, flooding is a problem that will continue to occur in the many low-lying areas in the West Vine Basin.