Best Practices to Consider When Evaluating Water Conservation and Efficiency
Best Practices to Consider When Evaluating Water Conservation and Efficiency as an Alternative for Water Supply Expansion.
A key function of a water utility is to ensure that it has adequate supply to provide water services to its domestic, commercial, and industrial customers. Because population continues to grow nationally, and at faster rates in some parts of the country, utilities often need to consider whether it is appropriate to develop additional supplies.
Such supplies may be provided by greater withdrawals from surface water or groundwater, construction of reservoirs, or construction of desalination or water reclamation facilities. Any of these types of projects carries a cost. As water utilities consider options, it makes sense to ensure that they are effectively managing the water resources already under their control.
More efficient use of water may avoid impacts to aquatic resources, provide greater ecosystem protection, and/or free up the water saved to serve additional needs.
EPA has developed this best practices document to help water utilities and federal and state governments carry out assessments of the potential for future water conservation and efficiency savings to avoid or minimize the need for new water supply development.
The document can also be used by a utility or a third party to conduct assessments of how the utility is managing its water resources from a technical, financial, and managerial perspective. The document consists of six major practices, with suggested metrics to guide evaluations of progress.
No single metric is intended to serve as a stand-alone test. Instead, the combined information on water conservation and efficiency implementation, with emphasis on planned measures, can inform reviews of a project’s purpose and need, and analysis of alternatives