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Sustainable Water Infrastructure Contacts

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Water & Energy Efficiency by Sectors

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Additional Resources
  • Alliance for Water Efficiency’s Exiting EPA (disclaimer)  Resource Library strives to provide the best on-line resources on water conservation and efficiency.
  • People use lots of water for drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, etc. Water Footprinting Exiting EPA (disclaimer)   looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.  
  • Additional links provided by WaterSense
  • The primary purpose of United States Conference of Mayor’s Water Council Exiting EPA (disclaimer)  is to assist local governments in providing high quality water resources in a cost effective manner. The MWC provides a forum for local governments to share information on water technology, management methods, operational experience, and financing of infrastructure development.
  • The California Urban Water Conservation Council Exiting EPA (disclaimer)  was created to increase efficient water use statewide through partnerships among urban water agencies, public interest organizations, and private entities.  The Council's goal is to integrate urban water conservation Best Management Practices into the planning and management of California's water resources.
  • ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability Exiting EPA (disclaimer)  is an international association of local governments as well as national and regional local government organizations that have made a commitment to sustainable development.
  • To give water managers a better understanding of the relationship between water management decisions, energy consumption, and air quality the Pacific Institute has created two "Water to Air Models". Exiting EPA (disclaimer) One model is for urban water districts and the other for agricultural districts. The models provide a flexible but consistent framework for quantifying the energy and air quality dimensions of water management decisions.
  • The WaterSmart Guidebook: A Water Use Efficiency Plan and Review Guide for New Businesses provides information on water-saving technologies applicable in the commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors and is intended for use as a resource by: existing and new businesses, developers, consultants, and designers planning agencies; and water providers.

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What Is Municipal Water Use?

According to the United States Geological Survey, community or municipal water use, or public supply, “refers to water withdrawn by public and private water suppliers that furnish water to at least 25 people or have a minimum of 15 connections. Public-supply water may be delivered to users for domestic, commercial, industrial, or thermoelectric-power purposes.”  In 2000, about 11% of our nation’s available water was withdrawn by municipalities for schools, parks, and public buildings, but much may have been lost to leaks or non-metered services.

How Can Water and Energy Be Used More Efficiently?

Saving energy saves water. Local governments that partner with EPA and take the ENERGY STAR Challenge demonstrate their commitment to taxpayers as well as the environment.

Renewable energy options—like solar, geothermal, and wind—use negligible amounts of water compared to conventional sources of energy (e.g. coal and nuclear); investing in renewables invests in water conservation.

Solar process-heating systems are designed to meet the need for large quantities of hot water or space heating at commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings.

Also known as a water survey, a water audit is an excellent way to understand current water use and future water savings. Generally, a water audit provides a detailed description of a building or facility’s water use, identifies potential water and financial savings, and recommends various water efficiency upgrades. Conducting water audits in public buildings will make you a leader in water conservation and efficiency; providing water audits to your community will promote large-scale water conservation and efficiency.

Progressive water pricing is another excellent way to conserve water. Ultimately, prices signal value to consumers and it is important for prices to reflect the increasing scarcity of water. Pricing water to accurately reflect the true costs of providing high quality water and wastewater services to consumers is needed to both maintain infrastructure and encourage conservation.

Tuscon, Arizona

An expanding metropolis in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Tucson receives just 11 inches of rain a year and has no perennial surface water supply. Water scarcity has made Tucson a water-conscious city, which is reflected in its policies, rate structure, utilities, and educational institutions. Read more »»

Additionally, supporting Green Infrastructure like rainwater, graywater, and permeable pavement can also help save tremendous quantities of water. For example, the City of San Francisco Exiting EPA (disclaimer)  has launched a rainwater harvesting initiative; Tucson now requires that 50% of the water used for commercial-landscaping must come from rainwater.

By becoming a WaterSense promotional partner you can strengthen your water-efficiency outreach efforts with a credible, national brand and a strong, consistent message.

A watertight city is serviced by certified water efficiency professionals, like WaterSense landscape irrigation professionals, Green Plumbers, Exiting EPA (disclaimer) and rainwater catchment professionals. Exiting EPA (disclaimer) Community Colleges like Lane in Oregon like are helping to create a green-collar work force through programs like the Water Conservation Technician Associate Degree. Exiting EPA (disclaimer) Promote water conservation and efficiency in your city by supporting a blue, green education!

Case Studies

  • To help meet increasing water demands, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has developed a comprehensive suite of water conservation and water recycling programs that have resulted in cumulative savings of 370,000 acre-feet (AF) of new water supplies between fiscal year (FY) 92-93 and FY 05-06.
  • To save taxpayers' money and minimize adverse impacts on the environment, the National Park Service (NPS) recently incorporated solar energy into the design of three new comfort stations at Chickasaw National Recreation Area.
  • A large solar thermal system installed at the Phoenix Federal Correctional Institution in 1998 heats water for the prison and costs less than buying electricity to heat that water. This renewable energy system provides 70% of the facility’s annual hot water needs.
  • Cases in Water Conservation: How Efficiency Programs Help Water Utilities Save Water and Avoid Costs features the efforts and achievements of 17 water systems. These systems range in size from small to very large, and their efficiency programs incorporate a wide range of techniques for achieving various water management goals. In every case, the results are impressive.
  • Rainwater as a Resource Exiting EPA (disclaimer) shares the details of utilizing concepts like swales, retention grading, cisterns, infiltrators and strategically-planted trees in building and landscaping design, and sheds light on the many opportunities to implement the wide array of available technologies.
  • The Toilet Replacement Program of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWDSC) Exiting EPA (disclaimer)  employs community-based organizations in the distribution of 100,000 free ultra-low-flush toilets annually to households throughout Southern California.
  • The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation Exiting EPA (disclaimer)  has compiled case studies demonstrating water reuse and innovative waste treatment technologies as an alternate means of reducing water consumption.

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