Frequently Asked Questions
A District is a governmental entity with limited powers. The District is established under Title 32 of the Colorado State Statutes as a political subdivision of the State of Colorado. It is a limited-power governmental entity because it only has the authority to provide services outlined in its service plan. In the case of Cottonwood, they would be water and sanitation.
The taxes (mill levy) that property owners pay for the District goes entirely to pay off the funds that the District borrowed to purchase surface water and for the cost of water and wastewater infrastructure.
Stormwater is rainwater, snowmelt, or even water from a garden hose or car wash that runs off of a surface (like driveways, parking lots, or rooftops) and goes into a gutter, ditch, or roadside drain, and ultimately into the storm drain system. In our area, stormwater does not go to a treatment plant, so any pollutants carried in the stormwater are discharged into waterways and the environment.
The water rates are based on providing enough revenue to cover daily operation costs, maintenance costs, and to pay for capital improvements. You can provide input to the Board either in written form or by attending any of the Board meetings held on the third Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm at 8334 Sandreed Circle, Parker, CO 80134. You are welcome to attend.
The District Board determines the water and wastewater rates based on an analysis of the required revenue and expenses of the District. The rates are based on providing revenue to equal the operation and maintenance costs, as well as capital improvements. You can provide input to the Board either in written form or by attending any of the Board meetings.
Cottonwood’s water currently comes from deep wells. The deep wells, however, are a non-renewing source of water and thus don’t benefit from snow and rainfall that replenish our streams and rivers. Once the deep well water is used, it is gone. So, as the demand for water in the South Metro Area continues to increase, the water in the deep wells is being depleted more rapidly. Here’s the good news. Cottonwood has water rights in Cherry Creek and it’s renewable.
About fifty percent of Cottonwood’s water will continue to come from wells (while we can still produce it), the rest will be from Cherry Creek. It marks the beginning of the District’s transition to surface water.If you’re a resident of Cottonwood, be assured that the water quality from both the deep wells and Cherry Creek are treated to meet the Colorado's Department of Health and Environment drinking water standards and regulations.
If a water or wastewater emergency occurs such as an outside line break, call the District office at 303-792-9509. If the emergency occurs after hours, call 303-426-3167 for direction to the District’s 24-Hour Emergency Answering Service. Please keep in mind that if the problem is within your property, you should call a plumber.
The District owns, operates, maintains and repairs all water and sewer main lines. Main lines are large pipelines generally located in streets or open spaces, which serve more than one residence or facility. The homeowner is responsible for the service line beginning at their property line to and throughout their home.
First, check for a possible leak inside your home. The most common causes of leaks are dripping faucets or toilets. You can get toilet tank leak detector tablets or place a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color appears in the bowl, the toilet is leaking. If your toilet is not leaking, the next most likely reason may be an outside leak or lack of efficient water use, possibly outside irrigation. The best way to determine if your irrigation system is leaking is by looking at your lawn. If you notice wet spots or pooling of water around your spray heads, this is a good indication that your irrigation system has a leak. If you have a layout of your irrigation system, start tracking the lines to determine the exact location.
If you suspect a leak, the easiest way to confirm is to check the reading on your meter by taking the following steps:
- Make sure all faucets and water-using appliances, inside and out, are turned off. Leave the master valve open.
- Check the reading on your meter. Your water meter is located in the basement or in some of the older homes it may be located outside in a meter pit. There is a small dial, which moves clockwise.
- If there is no water being used inside or outside the home and the meter continues to move or “creep” it is often indicative of a leak or drip somewhere in your home’s water system.
You will first want to shut off the water source to stop the leakage. While repairing most in-home leaks, such as a toilet, is actually very easy, you might want to consult with a plumber or hardware store agent.
An easy way to conserve is to water early in the morning to prevent excessive evaporation. You can also use a sprinkler that makes large drops to ensure that your yard gets the water it needs to flourish under the restrictions. Watering can also be reduced by selecting low water demanding plants. Water-wise plants such as native plants, perennials and bushes will reduce your water bill while still adding a lot of color to your yard.
Where your water meter is located, there is a radio-frequency device that can be read when we walk by. If, for any reason, the signal doesn’t work, we will get a “physical” read at which point, we will ask the homeowner to read the dial to us over the phone or we may need to make an appointment to get inside. If we cannot get a read at all (bad signal, dead battery, etc.), we will estimate the usage according to the average at that property. If we estimate, we will put that property on a “repair list” and we will try to contact you to make an appointment to repair or replace the meter before the next billing. Please call the District to provide the latest contact information for your account.
Most households are pretty consistent in their use of indoor water usage for bathroom, laundry, kitchen, etc., which can make overall use very similar. We read and bill to the nearest 1,000 gallons. Example: if the last reading was 5,000 gallons and this time it's 5,700 - the read will be 6,000. Especially during the summer months you’ll want to keep a close watch on your monthly water totals.
Water base charges are a flat monthly fee that covers fixed costs of providing services that do not change with water usage. These are items such as management, administration, customer service and the cost of our operations contractor. Water usage is billed based on actual use per thousand gallons that goes through your meter monthly. This volume is read each month from your meter. The sewer charges are fees used to pay the third party for sewer treatment. Cottonwood does not have their own Wastewater Treatment Plant and must contract out services for that service.Click here to read about your bill.
- The monthly "base" fee is a monthly charge that covers fixed costs of providing services that do not change with water usage. This line item includes the on-going management, administration, customer service and the cost of our operations contractor.
- Water usage is billed based on actual use per thousand gallons that goes through your meter monthly. This volume is read each month from your meter.
- The sewer charges are fees used to pay the third party for sewer treatment. Cottonwood does not have their own Wastewater Treatment Plant and must contract out services for that service.
The CCR is an annual water quality report that all community water systems are required to provide. It is based on the 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act and the right-to-know provisions of that Act. Each customer of the Cottonwood Water and Sanitation District (CWSD) has the opportunity to review it annually. The CCR helps them to make informed choices about the water they drink. The report lets the customers of CWSD know what contaminants, if any, are in their drinking water, and how these contaminants may affect their health. Be assured that the water CWSD provides the community continues to meet and/or exceed all water quality standards.
The reason for the report containing results from the previous year is based on the sampling requirements from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE), along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some of those sampling requirements occur each month and others occur at different times of the year based on water usage and when a contaminate may be more likely to be found in the water. So in order to provide a complete CCR report for the entire year, along with providing sufficient time for the public water systems to prepare the report, the CDPHE allows six months for the water provider to prepare and distribute the report to its customers.
Every community water system is required by Federal law to provide its customers with a water quality report, also known as a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) by July 1st of each year. This report lists the regulated contaminants, if any, for that year’s sampling requirements. The results, along with the Safe Drinking Water Maximum allowable level, are always on the CCR report that you receive. All of the water quality tests during that year’s sample period will be reported on the CCR, which include results from the previous year. Thus, the current CCR will be dated from the previous year.
Yes, you can be assured that CWSD continues to meet and/or exceed all State and Federal water quality standards as set forth by the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act and any other subsequent revisions. See for yourself by reviewing the current CCRs.
Wastewater (sanitary sewer) services are calculated once a year in March. These charges are based on an average of your water usage during the months of November, December, January, and February. That’s the time of year your water usage is constant because there is no outside use of water.
Stormwater is a charge that Cottonwood collects as a service to the Town of Parker for expenses related to maintaining the storm drainage system that collects and conveys runoff during storm events, lawn and garden runoff, and basically includes any water that enters the storm drainage system.
While providing water to your home and wastewater treatment can be very expensive, Cottonwood is right in the middle for its costs to its resident. Even though Cottonwood is a smaller District, it’s Board and management has been very aggressive with regards to ensuring quality water to the area while keeping the costs to a minimum.
The District has an extensive system of wells, pipelines, a booster pump station and water storage that are constantly operated and maintained to insure that water is constantly available for your use. In order to use our renewable water supplies on Cherry Creek, the District also contributed to the building of a water treatment plant to guarantee your water meets high quality drinking water standards established by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The District provides wastewater treatment through the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority. Their wastewater treatment plant meets some of the toughest treatment requirements in the country because of the importance of protecting the quality of water in Cherry Creek Reservoir.