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As Spotsylvania County's population grows and water demands rise, it is becoming increasingly important to manage not only the water supply and treatment, but also the demand on an ongoing basis. One tool water utilities use to manage demand is to develop a comprehensive water conservation program. Water conservation is broadly defined as the beneficial reduction in water use, waste and loss. The ultimate goal of water conservation is not to prevent water use, but to maximize efficiency and the benefit of each gallon used.
The Spotsylvania County Utilities Water Conservation Initiative is a result of a study the County conducted to determine appropriate conservation programs based on Spotsylvania County's demand projections and customer characteristics.
The U.S. Water Resources Council defines water conservation as activities designed to reduce the demand for water, improve efficiency in use, reduce losses and waste of water, and improve land management practices to conserve water. In short, water conservation is the reduction of water usage or reducing its waste and loss.
Efficient water use is often considered the minimal amount of water that is technically and economically feasible to achieve an intended function. Water efficiency accomplishes more with less by using the best available technology and using water in smarter and more innovative ways.
Water waste and water loss mean two different things.
Less than 3 percent of the water on Earth is fresh; much of that is unreachable in glaciers, icecaps, or deep in the earth. 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
The benefits of water conservation not only assists with protecting the water supply (especially during drought), but water conservation may delay the need for infrastructure expansion for both water and wastewater treatment and the need for additional short-term and long-term storage capacity by reducing high peak demands.
1"Water Conservation," <https://www.greenbiz.com/research/report/2002/08/02/water-conservation>, accessed on October 16, 2019.