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Water Supply Requirements#

Horsetooth Reservoir

Fort Collins Utilities assesses Water Supply Requirements and assigns water allotments to all commercial customers who are developing or redeveloping a property associated with a water tap. This process ensures that our community shares in the responsibility to guarantee a reliable source of water for years to come.

Water Supply Requirements (WSRs) are met by developers to account for the additional demand created from new developments. These water supplies ensure a reliable source of water in all years and are translated into an equivalent annual water allotment for commercial and irrigation taps. When the allotment is exceeded, an Excess Water Use surcharge is applied to all water used over the allotment for the remainder of the year.

Water Supply Requirements (WSRs) will be evaluated for commercial and irrigation-only taps on properties that apply for a change of use permit, a Minor Amendment, or any development review process per Ordinance 119,2021

  • WSR Calculation: 
    • If the commercial use type or landscape requires a higher WSR, you will be credited for the current allotment and required to pay WSR fees for the difference to satisfy the higher WSR. 
    • If the commercial use type or landscape requires a lower WSR, you will not be required to meet any additional WSRs, and the allotment will stay the same.

  • Allotment Assignment: 
    • If a water account associated with the permit application does not have a current water allotment, one will be assigned. 
    • If a water account associated with the property has an allotment, the allotment amount will be reviewed for sufficiency. 
  • Water Supply Requirement (WSR): A WSR accounts for the additional water demand, defined in gallons or acre-feet of water, brought into the Utilities water service area by a new development or redevelopment. WSRs provide the revenue to develop reliable water resources for the development, including water rights and associated infrastructure.

  • WSR Fee: A development fee collected to pay for the use of water necessary to serve the development. It covers the impacts of that new development or redevelopment on the water supply, from the source all the way to the water treatment facility.

  • Allotment: The volume of water a given tap can use in a 12-month period (December 1 – November 30) before incurring Excess Water Use surcharges. The allotment volume is based on the amount of WSR satisfied at the time of development plus any increases to the allotment paid for after development. A customer may increase their allotment at any time by paying WSR fees or providing City water certificates and credits.   

  • Excess Water Use (EWU) surcharge: A volumetric charge assessed on all water used through the remainder of the 12-month billing period once a customer has exceeded their annual allotment. The billing period runs from December 1 – November 30. The EWU is applied in addition to the regular utility rates. This surcharge is tied to the cash rate for the WSR fee and is evaluated every two years.
  • Commercial: All non-residential commercial, industrial, public entity, group housing, nursing homes, fraternities, hotels, motels, commonly owned areas, clubhouses, and pools, including HOA common spaces and irrigation accounts. Multifamily development and redevelopment do not fall into this category.

Frequently Asked Questions#

A Water Supply Requirement (WSR) is a development fee collected to pay for the use of water necessary to serve the development. It covers the impacts of that new development on the water supply, from the source all the way to the water treatment facility.

In general, the fee varies such that lower-water-use developments pay less, while higher-water-use developments pay more. Non-residential and irrigation accounts’ Water Supply Requirements are translated into annual water allotments. Excess Water Use (EWU) surcharges are applied when the annual water allotment is exceeded.

Depending on the type of business, some customers use more water than others. Water allotments are based on the amount of Water Supply Requirements provided to Utilities to meet the customer’s needs. Funds collected through the Excess Water Use surcharge, which are applied to water use over the allotment, allow Utilities to acquire additional water supplies if a customer uses more water than their allotment. 

Unlike regular utility rates, which cover the cost of operation and maintenance of the distribution system, revenue from the EWU surcharge goes toward acquiring, developing and improving Utilities’ water resources to address the impact of customers exceeding their planned water demands/allotments. 

Depending on the type of development, the following information must be included on the respective plans (see Development Application Submittal Requirements for specific information):  

  • All Development Types: Complete a Water Fee Form and submit it as part of the Final Development Plan (FDP).
  • Non-residential: For non-residential entities within the Fort Collins Utilities water service area (see this map to determine your water provider), include the non-residential Water Supply Requirement use type and corresponding square footage on the Development Plan Land Use Table. Use types are available in Section 26-149 of the municipal code.
  • Irrigation:Water Use Table for each irrigation tap must be included on both the Landscape Plan and the Irrigation Plan.
  • Residential: Include an Outdoor Area calculation on the Site Plan for single-family and duplex developments. The number of bedrooms must be included on Development Review plans for single-family, duplex, and multifamily developments.

WSR may be satisfied with cash or by existing City of Fort Collins Water Certificates, Credits, or Josh Ames certificates (per City Code Section 26-150). A 1.92 factor will be applied to any certificates issued prior to Jan. 1, 2022, to ensure their historic value is maintained under the WSR system that was adopted that day. The current Water Supply Requirement Fee is $0.2093 per gallon or $68,200 per acre-foot (325,851 gallons). The current Excess Water Use surcharge is $16.67 per 1,000 gallons over the allotment. See Water Development Fees for more information. 

While WSR payments can be made at any time, payment is required upon the issuance of a building permit. If WSRs are pre-satisfied prior to the issuance of a building permit, they cannot be refunded or transferred to another project.

The EWU surcharge will appear on the monthly bill when the allotment was first exceeded. The surcharge will also be applied for the remainder of the calendar year ending Nov. 30. For example, if a customer exceeds their allotment in the middle of July, the surcharge will appear for the first time on the July bill and will appear on all subsequent bills for the remainder of the year.  

First, contact Utilities Water Conservation at 970‑416‑4371 to determine if it is necessary to increase the allotment. If it is, customers can pay to increase the allotment at any time.

Commercial and irrigation WSRs can be satisfied by using an alternative compliance method if the applicant’s calculated WSR is 20% less than the WSR calculated under City Code Section 26-150, the applicant’s calculated WSR is appropriate based on all known facts, and the applicant’s WSR does not adversely affect the water utility. An example report with the types of information to include for an alternative compliance application can be found here. There is not an alternative compliance process for single-family residential or multifamily WSRs.

Apply for alternative compliance

Reach out to our Customer Accounts team at or 970‑416‑4371.

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