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Fort Collins Utilities named inaugural recipient of Outstanding Public Engagement Award

SWAT recognizes Fort Collins Utilities for its community engagement and education in promoting smart irrigation technologies and practices.

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA (Oct. 3, 2019)
— Smart Water Application Technologies, a committee of the Irrigation Association, named Fort Collins Utilities of Fort Collins, Colorado, as the recipient of the inaugural Outstanding Public Engagement Award. This award recognizes a water provider with a successful program focused on public engagement and education on smart, efficient irrigation technologies and practices.

Fort Collins Utilities’ residential sprinkler audit program educates customers on efficient landscape watering through one-on-one engagement with their residents. The utility performs irrigation assessments and develops personalized audit reports with recommendations to help customers reduce inefficiencies in their sprinkler systems that lead to water waste.

“Fort Collins Utilities is a great example of sustained results from educating customers on water-efficient alternatives,” said IA CEO Deborah Hamlin, CAE, FASAE. “This program has shown that quality engagement empowers residents to make better, more informed choices around water use.”

Since the program began in 1999, Fort Collins Utilities has provided over 6,000 free residential sprinkler audits and saved the community over 68 million gallons of water. The program staff stays up to date on irrigation technology advancements, incorporating new products into the rebate and education components of the program.

“Fort Collins Utilities has done a great job of educating their customers on the water requirements of their landscapes and how to leverage smart technologies,” said Abby Owens, chair of the SWAT Promotions Working Group and public works compliance analyst for the City of Plano, Texas. “Ultimately, participants have gained greater confidence to manage their landscapes while watering more efficiently.”

Reducing outdoor water use has become a top priority in communities across North America. More frequent droughts and outdated water infrastructure are placing constraints on providers managing increasing water demand in high population growth areas. As much as half of water used for landscape irrigation is lost due to improper irrigation system design, installation and maintenance, making this an area ripe for transformation.

The 2019 Outstanding Public Engagement Award was presented at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 2. More information about this award is available at