From The Denver Post (Drew Beckwith):
The residential portion of Sterling Ranch will be designed to use an average of 0.22 acre-feet of water per unit per year, or about 71,500 gallons — even though Sterling Ranch has agreed to bring additional water for the first phase of development. This low-use target has proved feasible at several residential developments across the West and is less than a third of the county’s current planning standard. Using readily available technology, Sterling Ranch will be able to meet this target without requiring residents to modify their normal behavior.
There is an array of practices that can be used to conserve water in new developments, many of which are exemplified in Sterling Ranch’s proposal. Indoors, all new homes will be built with water-efficient appliances and fixtures, such as low-flow showerheads and high-efficiency toilets. Outdoors, small yards will be planted with water-wise, drought-tolerant vegetation and watered with efficient irrigation systems.
Across the development, homes will be clustered in villages with parks and open spaces providing ample recreation opportunities. Homeowners will be charged for their water using a conservation-oriented rate structure, the most powerful water-conservation tool. In addition, ongoing reporting of water use will enable the tracking of water-conservation savings and adjustment of management practices as new technologies become available.