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Water Budget Adjustments

The Utility Billing Office will grant water budget adjustments under certain circumstances, outlined below. If you feel that any of the below circumstances apply to you, please complete the appropriate water budget adjustment application form below and submit any required documentation.

Be sure to read the entirety of the form before sending it in. If your adjustment is approved, it will become effective the date the city received it.

Please note: The information provided in your application form could be subject to verification by other city departments. 


Water budgets can be adjusted for the following reasons:

Number of people in household (Single-family residential accounts only):

  • Water budgets for single-family residential customers are calculated assuming four people per household. If you have more than four people living in your household year round, you can apply for an adjustment. pdf Your monthly water budget will increase by 1,000 gallons per person for each additional person in the residence. Please include the number of people living in the household and the first and last names of each person on the form. The adjustment application for number of people in household must be submitted by either the property owner or property manager. This type of adjustment expires one year from the adjustment licenses, leases or other records that show the number of persons per household as additional documentation.

Medical Needs:

  • If a medical need requires a significant increase in the amount of water being used, please submit verification from your healthcare provider. All medical information will be kept confidential. 

Licensed In-Home Childcare or Eldercare Facility or Co-Op: 

  • If a residential dwelling is being used as a licensed childcare, eldercare facility or co-op, then you can apply for an adjustment.

Irrigable Area Square Footage (e.g., landscaping):

  • Irrigable area of the property is used to calculate water budgets for outdoor watering needs. 
  • If you have made significant changes to your landscaping or feel that your irrigable area is incorrect, then you can apply for an adjustment. pdf
  • If you irrigate an area that you are required to maintain in the public right-of-way that is 200 to 300 square feet or more, then you can apply for an adjustment. pdf
  • The adjustment application for irrigable area must be submitted by either the property owner or the property manager. Please check your property as illustrated on the city’s map to determine the current irrigable area. 
  • View Water and Stormwater Area Map

HOA Adjustments

  • If a Homeowner Association (HOA) is requesting an adjustment, then the HOA must provide a signed written agreement (between HOA and homeowner) or by-laws which state irrigation responsibilities. 

Number of Dwelling Units (Multifamily residential accounts only):

  • Water budgets for multifamily residential customers are based on the number of dwelling units and bedrooms/unit in the building. If you feel that the number of dwelling units for your building is incorrect or if you have more than two bedrooms in any of your units, you can apply for an adjustment. pdf  

Your water budget will not be adjusted for any of the following reasons:

  • Evaporative (swamp) coolers, pools, spas, or hot tubs
  • Gardens
  • In-home businesses or hobbies that use an increased amount of water



Commercial/industrial/institutional (CII) customers can now choose from four different water budget options. Each CII account will only be able to change budget options once per year.

The three budget options are:

  • Historical Monthly Use (HMU ) - The HMU budget is calculated using a rolling three-month average for each individual month. For example, the average of the past three January's use would be next year's January budget.
  • AWC with Irrigation - The AWC with Irrigation budget is similar to the single-family budget in that it is comprised of both an indoor water allocation and an outdoor water allocation. 
  • Efficiency-Standard - This option allows for a specific customized water budget. The customer must hire a professional engineer to evaluate and recommend a personalized indoor budget, which then must be reviewed and approved by the city. The customer will be charged a fee for the city review.

If you are submitting an adjustment for any of the above, please carefully read the appropriate adjustment form and include the required documentation.



Water Budgets Explained

The City of Boulder has a water rate structure that uses "water budgets", or the amount of water that you are expected to use during a specific month. Each customer's water budget will be different based on their unique water needs, as well as their past usage levels.

Water budgets may vary monthly based on seasonal outdoor watering needs. No matter what your water budget is, you will only be billed for the water you use. View water budget rules. pdf

Water budgets help promote water conservation. If you stay within your budget, you pay less for the water you use. If you exceed your budget, you pay more for the water you use.

Your utility bill includes a graph that shows your monthly water use compared to your monthly water budget. This graph will show whether your actual water use was above, below or equal to your monthly water budget.

Access your water budget, usage statistics and pay your bill online at MyBoulderUtilityBill . If you have questions about your water budget, contact Utility Billing. View water budget frequently asked questions (FAQs). pdf

The water budget only applies to water-use charges and does not include other costs such as wastewater, stormwater, other fees, etc.