People are becoming more aware of the impact their actions can have on the environment and there is a growing movement to try to use our natural resources as efficiently as possible. Water efficiency, which only a few years ago was considered by many water agencies as simply a “ feel good” measure, is now considered a legitimate new “source” of water. Improving efficiency is not only good for the environment, it is good for the bottom line as well. But, not all water efficiency measures or programs are equally effective. Some measures have the potential to save large volumes of water but are difficult or not cost-effective to implement; other measures are well received but may result in very little actual water savings (e.g., we have all heard about school presentations touted as a success simply because children are taught to turn off the tap when they brush their teeth).
Developing a new source of water costs money. This is true whether the new source is a supply-side or demand-side alternative. As such, it is important that we spend our money wisely and that we get the “biggest bang for our buck.” And, while it is important that we consider the impact our actions will have on the environment, we also need to view our options with a discerning eye. If a water efficiency program is to be successful, it must include measures that are practical and cost-effective, that result in a significant volume of savings, and that are acceptable to a large percentage of our customers.