Water Efficiency 101
Did you know that while over 85% of Colorado’s population resides on the plains East of the mountains (i.e., the “east slope”), up to 85% of precipitation falls on the “west slope” of the Continental Divide? The Front Range communities must be strategic in the way we use our water resources. Colorado is also a critical headwaters state in the West. Millions of people in 18 US states and Mexico use water that originates in our mountain watersheds.
As a semi-arid state, Colorado’s water supply is limited and demands are projected to increase with growing populations. Thriving Colorado communities rely on water for consumption, agriculture, landscapes, industry, recreation, fisheries, and ecosystems. While PWSD is prepared to supply water to our customers far into the water-stressed future, it’s important that we use water efficiency as a demand-reducing strategy. This strategy ensures this precious resource can meet multiple beneficial uses within our state.
Image Source: Colorado Water Plan Chapter 5, Colorado Division of Water Resources Average Deliveries 2008-2014, and Statewide Supply Initiative 2010
Indoor vs. Outdoor Water Use
The first step to efficiency is understanding where our water goes. Across the state, much of the water that serves communities is used outdoors to maintain landscapes. In residential settings, for example, nearly half of the water consumed is used outdoors to irrigate landscapes. Therefore as a PWSD customer, your efforts to conserve water must consider both indoor and outdoor measures.
PWSD provides financial and educational resources to our customers interested in improving water efficiency at your home or property – namely irrigation audits and xeriscape resources. You can also register for AquaHawk, which is a powerful water management tool that allows you to monitor your water usage in nearly real-time.
Conservation vs. Efficiency?
The terms “water conservation” and “water efficiency” are often used interchangeably but have different meanings. Conservation refers to those measures that provide verifiable, permanent water savings, or a reduction in the amount of water consumed. Efficiency focuses on reducing the amount of water waste – using the minimum amount of water necessary to accomplish a task.
Do you want to learn more about water in Colorado?
Water Education Colorado provides a Citizen’s Guide series with information on where your water comes from, CO water law, conservation, groundwater, interstate compacts, and more!