|dc.description.abstract||Not long ago, conversations on urban water demand
were not only rare but dull. Today, especially
in the West and Southwest, these conversations
can turn into heated debates. The question
of who has enough water for the future has
pitted urban interests against agriculture and financial
resources against cultural values.
Water supply is finite, even if it is part of a cycle.
Water may be plentiful in some places and
scarce in others. Until we are ready to make water
conservation a pattern of behavior to use less
water, our demand will continue to grow as our
population grows. Although water conservation
is not an answer to all growth, it does offer an alternative
to acquiring some new water supplies.
Water conservation is almost always the least
expensive water supply alternative. Water conservation
can have two definitions. First and
most often, conservation is considered a reduction
in the amount of water used. Each person
uses less. An alternative definition implies more
efficient use of water. We waste less. Less waste
can be attributed to best management practices,
more efficient hardware or literally less water
running into the streets from irrigation systems.
Urban water conservation incorporates watersaving
measures and incentives for the home,
on the landscape and throughout the city water
distribution system. It is easy to differentiate between
water-saving measures and incentives. A
water-saving measure such as a water-efficient
toilet reduces the amount used each and every
time it is flushed. Or, a rain sensor turns off a
sprinkler system during rain showers.
In contrast, incentives encourage the wise use of
water through education, ordinances or scheduling.
Educational programs suggest water reductions
in the landscape, ordinances mandate
how much turf is planted, and schedules tell
homeowners when to irrigate. Combined, measures and incentives provide a water conservation