Less than 3 percent of the water on Earth is fresh; much of that is unreachable in glaciers, icecaps, or deep in the earth. The depletion of these dwindling water supplies degrades the natural environment and can necessitate costly water projects. Water conservation practices, such as efficient appliances and fixtures, behavioral changes, and changes in irrigation practices, can reduce water consumption by as much as a third.1
Water Conservation and demand management continue to be important components of the management of our long term drinking water supply. The benefits of lower demand are:
- Buffers against the unknown - With the effects of climate change, shorter, more intense rain events as well as longer, dry spells in the summer months are expected. Having as much water storage in the reservoir as possible provides the assurance that not only will there be a sufficient quantity of drinking water for the year, but it also provides the flexibility to deal with changing weather and precipitation patterns.
- Water quality - Less annual fluctuation in the reservoir’s water levels contributes to a more biologically stable reservoir, through less opportunity for sediment re-suspension and nutrient loading, and longer water detention time within the reservoirs (which has a number of resulting benefits such as lower turbidity, low color, neutral pH, low bacteria, and low parasites).
- Capital project delay - Less water being used by the community can delay the need to build new expensive water infrastructure that would be necessary to provide increased capacity if demand continues to rise.
- Save energy - Water conservation helps reduce the amount of energy used to process and deliver water to homes. For example, shorter showers will save water as well as the energy used to heat the water.
- Save time and money - Planting native species that are adapted to the longer, dryer summers in the region, require little to no watering once established. Spend more time enjoying your garden, instead of maintaining it.
1"Water Conservation," <https://www.greenbiz.com/research/report/2002/08/02/water-conservation>, accessed on October 16, 2019.