Assessing The Sustainability Of Your Community's Residential Water Management

The agencies involved in water management may have different names in each community. Generally they will fall under the following categories: municipal public works, water bureau, county or regional water agency, waste water treatment plant.

  • List the programs your community has in place to help citizens conserve water. e.g., free water saving fixtures, information campaigns, etc.
  • Describe why each program came into existence and its current goals.
  • What have been the principal strategies used to achieve citizen participation? Which have been successful and why? Which have not been successful and why?
  • How is success measured? Include the numerical targets of the program. If there are no targets, how might targets be established?
  • What percentage of citizens participate in each program?
  • What amount of water does each program conserve?
  • What has been the participation and amount of water conserved for each program over the last three years? Has participation and conservation increased, leveled off or decreased?
  • What neighborhoods have the most successful residential participation and water conservation?
  • What neighborhoods have the least successful residential participation and water conservation? Why is this? Please describe what has been learned.
  • Are the municipality's storm drains and sewers combined? If so, would water conservation help alleviate any problems of combined sewer overflows?
  • What incentives are there in the municipality, if any, for water conservation e.g., regulatory compliance with state or regional targets, avoided costs of building new infrastructure such as wells or wastewater treatment facilities, city ordinance committing to natural resource conservation as a principle of community sustainability, etc.?
  • Which service providers benefit from water conservation? e.g., city water department from reduced costs to meet peak water demand, waste water treatment plant from reduced operating costs and extended life of current facility, etc.
  • If fiscal benefits are derived from water conservation, how could these be calculated and projected over time, e.g., gallons of water needed to be saved to extend the life of the current facilities by a certain number of years, operational efficiencies of water treatment plant, etc.?
  • Are there any policies to reinvest these financial savings into increased water conservation? Please describe. If not, how could a policy be put in place?
  • What disincentives are there in the municipality, if any, for residential water conservation, e.g., increased revenues based on residential water use, financial obligations to pay off water treatment plant based on resident fees, etc.?
  • Which service providers do not benefit from water conservation, e.g., city water department who increase revenues from volume of water supplied, companies that build city wells, etc.?
  • Are there any municipal policies for assuring that incentives to water conservation are enhanced, and disincentives eliminated? If not, how might these be pursued?
  • If the municipality has created disincentives to water conservation, what can be done to remedy this, e.g., renegotiate contracts with service providers based on incentives in water conservation, redesign policies, etc.?

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