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xERISCAPING IN CASTLE PINES NORTH

A good landscape and garden begins with a good design. To learn how Xeriscaping can enhance your home and save you money on your water bill, read The 7 Principles of Xeriscape. You will also find information on water saving Bluegrass alternatives in this document.

Although the Front Range presents a special set of challenges for growing trees, the desire to have a large shade tree in your yard can be a reality. Learn more about caring for your trees in Castle Pines North.

Want to know the proper way to plant trees and shrubs? Our Tree and Shrub Planting Guidelines can get your plants off to the right start.

Full color guide to Xeriscape Plants

FAQs


General

Who do I call with questions about water, waste water, storm water and parks, open space and trails?

Castle Pines North Metropolitan District provides these services to the residents and businesses located in the Castle Pines North community. To contact CPNMD by phone, please call 303-688-8550. Or visit our website www.cpnmd.org.


Water Bills, Rates and Fees

What are my options for paying my water bill?

  1. Pay online with a VISA or Mastercard credit or debit card:
    Pay Online Now
  2. Use the bill stub and mail your check to the remittance address shown on the invoice:
    Castle Pines North Metro District
    P.O. Box 5067
    Denver, CO 80217
  3. Sign up for automatic bank draft. Payment will be deducted automatically from your checking or savings account. You will receive a copy of your bill each month for your records. Sign up using the ACH application form.
  4. Drop your payment off at our office at 7404 Yorkshire Drive on the NE corner of Castle Pines Parkway and Yorkshire Drive. For your convenience, a secure after-hours drop box is located outside of the office door.
  5. Call 303-688-8550 to make a credit card payment over the phone with one of our customer service representatives.

What are the line items for on my water bill?

  • WATER CHARGE: Pays for actual water used and also pays for maintenance of more than 60 miles of water lines, and electricity for pumping of District- owned wells and water treatment.
  • CUSTOMER CHARGE - WATER: Applies to the District's day-to-day water-related operations, including, but not limited to: (a) transporting the District's seasonal renewable water through Centennial Water and Sanitation District's water treatment plant to our District's pump station and water distribution system, (b) maintaining and repairing water infrastructure (e.g., water treatment plant, ten groundwater wells and associated pumps), (c) paying for the electricity required to operate the District's renewable water pump station, groundwater well pumps, booster pumps, and the water treatment plant, (d) adjudicating and monitoring the District's water rights, (e) water quality monitoring and testing, (f) funding the water rebate program, and (g) staff.
  • CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT FEE - WATER: Applies to construction and/or acquisition of water-related infrastructure including, but not limited to: (a) the ICPP pump station & pipeline, (b) groundwater well replacement, (c) Chatfield Expansion & Reallocation Project, (d) water rights, and (e) future renewable water infrastructure.
  • WASTEWATER CHARGE: Pays for wastewater treatment at Plum Creek Water Reclamation Authority facility, electricity for nine wastewater lift systems, and the operation and maintenance costs for our wastewater collection system that consists of 7.5 miles of pipeline. Charges are based on average winter water consumption.
  • CUSTOMER CHARGE - WASTEWATER: Applies to the District's day-to-day wastewater-related operations, including, but not limited to lift station and sewage treatment operations.
  • STORM DRAINAGE CHARGE: Applies to the District's storm water operations and infrastructure maintenance and repair.

On my water bill there is a line for Water Budget Information. What is my budget based on?

All CPNMD residential water customers have individualized water budgets, or allotments, that are based on a number of factors, including lot size. During the irrigation season, April through October, your monthly budget will vary depending on these factors, which take into account historical anticipated rainfall amounts. The budget is designed to cover both indoor water use and irrigation. During the winter, all residents are allotted a budget of 5,000 gallons per month for indoor use.

Your budget determines the rate at which your water use is charged. Residents who stay within their budget are charged at the lowest rate per thousand gallons, or what we refer to as Tier 1. As you exceed your budget, the rate per thousand gallons increases through Tiers 2, 3, and 4. Water budgets are one of the means by which the District hopes to encourage conservation. Simply put, the more you use, the more you pay.

Each month, your bill shows your budget for that month and how your actual usage compares to that budget. There is also a notation of the next month’s budget so that you can plan your water use accordingly. You are only charged for the gallons you use.

Why are rates and fees so high?

Our rates and fees here at CPNMD, and for most water providers across the front range, consist of two components: monthly base fees and consumption charges. Base fees cover the cost of providing water service. Consumption charges are calculated from how much water you use. The base fee is not a minimum use charge, but a flat rate charged to every rate payer. It includes all the shared costs for bringing water to a community – pipes, pump stations, water storage, water treatment repairs and several other items related to water delivery.

If a customer were to use zero water during a given month, they would still have to pay the base fee to ensure the service is available. If you use water, then you pay an additional amount for the water consumed. At CPNMD we categorize water usage into Tiers.

Consumption up to 5,000 gallons in a non-irrigation month (November through March) is defined by CPNMD as Tier 1, which equates to the lowest charge per 1,000 gallons. For months during the irrigation season (April through October), Tier 1 is determined by a combination of irrigation factors, the most significant of which is a customer’s lot size. As customers exceed their Tier 1 usage “budget,” their charges progress into Tiers 2, 3, and 4 with corresponding higher charges per 1,000 gallons of usage. Since you are only charged for the water you use, using less water within your “budget” does save you money and staying out of Tier 2 and above saves you even more. It’s a good system that automatically encourages sensible use of the resource. There’s additional information on our website at CPNMD.org/water.

Every residence in CPNMD has a water meter inside of their house. Our staff is happy to assist with proper meter reading. You can call them to schedule an appointment at any time: 303-688-8550.

Why are water bills in cities like Aurora and Denver so much lower than Castle Pines?

There are many factors that go into water rates and fees, and those factors vary by water provider.

For CPMND, these factors include:

  • Water Sources – Most of our water comes from underground wells in the Denver Basin Aquifers. These aquifers do not replenish themselves, so we started planning for renewable water infrastructure, which has associated costs.
  • Infrastructure – Given our size, it’s more economical for us to partner with existing providers for treatment and storage. Denver Water, for example, has more control over its costs given its size and owned assets, some of which date back more than 90 years.
  • Customer Base – CPNMD is much smaller (3,200 business and residential taps) and newer than providers serving Denver or Aurora (over 325,000 residential taps), so we don’t benefit from the same economies of scale or “early entry” in the market for water rights.
  • Subsidies – Some providers assess higher taxes to offset the cost of water. So, while bills in some areas may look lower, those people could be paying higher taxes.

We set rates and fees based on cost of service. Rates cover variable costs (water use) and fees cover fixed costs (infrastructure to get the water to your tap). We use a third-party consultant that has developed a model that each year is updated with the proposed budget. The model then tells us what the rates and fees need to be to cover our costs.

Each year, as part of this process, the Board of Directors works with staff to assure that the proposed budget is in line with community needs and expectations, via a series of public meetings and communications.

We’ve pulled together a rate comparison based on information published on area water provider websites. The below assumes 5,000 gallons/month of indoor usage and 10,000 gallons/month of outdoor usage. The monthly charge per provider would look like this:

Woodmoor: $175.28
Roxborough: $138.84
Arapahoe County: $114.94
CPNMD: $107.80
Castle Rock: $103.34
Centennial: $76.55
Parker: $74.08

Please note:

Most of these providers saw increases in price since 2014 similar or greater than CPNMD. This comparison does not take into consideration mill levies that are collected to offset costs. Additionally, Castle Rock, Parker and Centennial are all in the WISE project, are working on renewable water plans and have larger customer bases.

Centennial Water & Sanitation District (serving Highlands Ranch) also created a rate comparison chart based on 2016 figures. This was published in a January 2017 Fact Sheet.

It’s important to note that the comparisons do not account for renewable water fees.

Do other water providers assess renewable water fees?

Yes, most providers in Douglas County assess fees for renewable water. CPNMD has the lowest renewable water fee ($15.00) among all area providers. Castle Rock charges $26.00, Centennial $27.00 and Parker $30.00.

Why has my water bill has gone up dramatically since 2014?

In 2015, the Board of Directors increased water rates and fees by about 8%. In 2016, the increase was about half that, 4.5%. These decisions relate to the factors listed above, which affect the cost of service. Some of the pipelines in Castle Pines are 20+ years old, and we knew we’d have some upcoming infrastructure repairs and replacements.

How is new development factored into water fees and rates?

New development contributes in many ways, including paying tap or connection fees to CPNMD to help offset the cost of infrastructure which is needed to provide service to the development. New developments in the community, such as Lagae Ranch, also pay an additional fee on top of the tap fee which is earmarked for renewable water. Developers are also responsible for constructing and paying for the infrastructure within the individual developments.

Additionally, each home or business in Lagae Ranch will pay property taxes, a portion of which comes directly to CPNMD.


Parks & Recreation

How do I reserve a practice sports field or park pavilion?

Ball fields maintained by CPNMD can be reserved for a nominal fee. How to reserve a facility. Pavilion areas at Coyote Ridge and Retreat Park are covered and may be reserved for special events or picnics. You may also contact Susan or Patty at the District office at 303-688-8550.

How do I reserve the community center?

Located at 7404 Yorkshire Drive, the Castle Pines North Community Center is a full-service facility that can be used for meetings and special events. The building features restrooms and a small kitchen. The Community Center may be rented for a nominal fee. Contact us to make a reservation.

What are the rates to reserve a sports field, park pavilion or the community center?

The rates for fields, park pavilions and the CPNMD community center for residents and non-residents, HOAs, scout and school groups, and profit and non-profit organizations are established through the year 2015. Fee schedule.