What Is Water Efficiency?
Quite simply, water efficiency is doing more with less – not doing without. Water efficiency efforts include the practices, techniques and technologies that extend water supplies and other resources (e.g. energy) by either saving water or through substituting with alternative supplies such as reuse. This, in turn, frees up water supplies for other uses, such as new development, stored drought reserves, agricultural leases, and environmental uses (e.g. instream flows). Water efficiency is inclusive of water conservation and includes both system demands and customer water demands.
Why Plan for Water Efficiency?
Long-term water efficiency planning
is needed to extend Colorado’s water supply as demands increase from a growing population. As the Statewide Water Supply Initiative (SWSI)
outlined, water efficiency planning should be integrated into local water resource planning to achieve overall water resource management goals. Water efficiency planning can help water providers identify where future planning efforts need to be focused, examine the effect of water efficiency on future water supply and demand, and estimate how water efficiency may affect (e.g. reduce) the need for and costs of new water supplies and other investments. Best Management Practices
are good tools for developing comprehensive water efficiency plans.
For more information about how to develop a water efficiency plan, visit the CWCB Water Conservation Planning
What Are the Benefits of Water Efficiency?
Lowering water demands as a result of water efficiency can assist providers in avoiding, downsizing, or postponing the construction and operation of water supply facilities and wastewater facilities as well as eliminating, reducing, or postponing water purchases. In addition to these water supply benefits, there are other societal, political, and environmental benefits.
Examples of such benefits include:
- Reduction of wastewater discharges through indoor water savings which can improve water quality and aquatic habitat.
- Reduction of outdoor irrigation runoff which can improve water quality.
- Demonstrating commitment to sustainability.
- Meeting political and regulatory requirements necessary to obtain permitting for local and regional water supply projects.
- Demonstrating leadership to the community that being more efficient is the right thing to do in an arid environment.
- Lowering operational costs such as pumping and water treatment.
- Lowering amount of chemicals needed to treat water.