Conservation and urban water providers

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Here’s a look at water planning and conservation, from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

While the Colorado Water Conservation Board is looking at several ways to increase or share water supplies, cutting back on urban demand also will be a factor as part of the mix of strategies. “There really needs to be an effort to meld land-use planning into the availability of water,” Reed Dils, who represents the Arkansas River basin on the CWCB, said earlier this year in a discussion on urban conservation. “We’re just doing it piecemeal.”

Some of those pieces are coming together within Colorado, however, as urban use decreases and studies look at how to get by on even less water per person. The most noticeable effect has been the decline of use by individual water users in the cities since the drought in 2002. In some cases, it has been caused by continued restrictions and higher rates, although some cities, like Denver, have waged large education campaigns…

Last year, the Pueblo Board of Water Works found users are consistently watering their lawns less – outside watering accounts for about two-thirds of Puebloans’ water use. Surveys show customers are in favor of more conservation measures on the household level. Peak demand days were lower this year as a result, and it appears metered water sales might bring in less revenue than projected this year…

Meanwhile there are some communities being planned in a way that reduces water use, while allowing storm flows off new development to return to rivers in a more natural way, reducing the worst effects of minor floods and improving water quality. Two of those in Colorado were part of a recent study by Western Resource Advocates, a group that works for wise use of water, among other environmental causes. A neighborhood being developed at the former Stapleton airport site is being developed at a higher density than traditional suburbs – about 12 units per acre. That will allow for wetlands and improved drainage throughout the 12,000-unit development. About one-quarter of the homes have been built, and are selling well. The design of Stapleton houses, both inside and out results in a savings of water of about 40 percent per capita, according to the report. A proposed 3,000-acre, 12,500-unit development in Douglas County called Sterling Ranch is targeting supplying the needs of five households per acre-foot of water, almost twice the efficiency of nearby development…

Colorado State University-Fort Collins is studying how to recycle graywater – the product of sinks, showers and washing machines – directly on-site for irrigation and flushing toilets. Researchers are also studying how much water savings can be obtained from rainfall harvesting, reuse, conservation and graywater use.

More conservation coverage here.

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