The Center for Resource Conservation seeks to ‘Slow the Flow’

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Here’s a guest commentary about the CRC irrigation audit program from Justin Patrick running in The Denver Post. Here’s and excerpt:

The auditors travel to residences in the Denver area, each averaging four per day, to evaluate participating homeowners’ sprinkler systems. Their job is to identify any technical ailments in the system, optimize its efficiency, and, if the system is sound, to recommend a scientifically calculated irrigation schedule. The result? Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per year are saved from pointless waste, and most homeowners end up saving a few—or a few hundred—dollars on their water bill.

During their employment from June through August, irrigation auditors consulted with 1,700 homeowners and sixty Homeowners Associations (HOAs). Their services come without a fee and implementing their suggestions is optional. Their evaluations represent a chance for homeowners to know more about what their sprinklers are doing and what they can do to reduce their water usage…

The program is one of several conservation initiatives launched by the Center for Resource Conservation, and its success has not gone unnoticed. The Boulder-based non-profit receives some funding from grants and donations, but most of its operating budget is generated by its innovative social services. “We’re not a typical non-profit in the way that we’re funded,” said Kate Gardner, Water Programs Manager. “It’s all about contracting with local governments.” In other words, the CRC must consistently perform to the standards of discriminating public organizations that must justify spending choices.

The auditors’ time, for example, is billed to the water provider that services the home where the audit is performed. The CRC maintains contracts with water providers in nearly all of the populated counties outside Denver (Denver proper is the only exception; it oversees its own conservation efforts). If expectations were not met, contracts would be cancelled. That has not yet happened. In fact, Slow the Flow is expanding by two or three cities per year. The program began in Boulder in 2004 and immediately caught on. Throughout the years counties and municipal water providers eager to better organize and more efficiently utilize available water resources have included funding for the CRC’s assistance in their annual budgets.

More conservation coverage here.

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