posted on February 10, 2015 23:01
Water conservation can be an attractive utility management strategy, particularly for utilities concerned about drought or those with water rights permits. However, once managers start digging into the details of water conservation options, things can get complicated in a hurry. Will customers adopt the necessary policies? What if they do? Won’t consumers who use less water hurt the utility’s bottom line? One resource we’ve found to help utilities navigate planning a water conservation program is the Twin Cities’ Metropolitan Council’s Water Conservation Toolbox.
The Water Conservation Toolbox provides resources approaching all aspects of water conservation. From a basic assessment standpoint, they offer downloadable Excel workbooks for cost benefit assessment, program prioritization, and rate structure evaluation. But this webpage goes much further than a few workbooks. The toolbox provides links to additional resources for five program categories: regulatory programs, incentive programs, education programs, water conservation rate structures, and stormwater reuse. These links include actual consumer information resources, regulations and ordinances, rebate programs, and rate structures used by utilities in Minnesota and around the country. The stormwater reuse section is particularly rich in helpful materials, with links to factsheets, presentations, and reports on stormwater reuse topics, as well as a stormwater manual, a calculator, and a downloadable zip file containing a 130-page stormwater reuse guide and accompanying Excel workbooks.
Some materials, such as certain state-wide regulations, might be specific to Minnesota, but most of the information in the tool is generally applicable to anyone interested in starting a water conservation program. If that describes your utility, this toolbox can be a great starting point.
If you know of other helpful water conservation resources, tell us in the comments!