Water Conservation Works
Managing and protecting our water resources is one of the most critical issues facing Texas today. The state’s population is expected to nearly double by 2060, putting more pressure on limited water supplies. At the same time, scientists warn that Texas will likely experience longer, more severe droughts more often in the future. The impact on the state’s already stressed rivers, aquifers and other natural resources could be dramatic. In many river systems, the state has issued more water rights than would be available during dry years, meaning rivers could be pumped dry, while many aquifers are being pumped faster than rainfall can replenish them.
Given this emerging reality, Texas must manage its limited water supplies as efficiently as possible. Increasing water use efficiency allows communities to do more with existing water supplies and postpone or even eliminate the need for expensive and environmentally damaging water supplies, such as reservoirs or long-distance pipelines. Using water wisely is the most economical and environmentally sound way to ensure water is available to meet all critical water needs – including water to support healthy Texas rivers and estuaries.
Saving Water Saves Money – An Economic Case for Conservation
Cities across the country have shown that water conservation is a cost-efficient way to meet increased water demands. Conserving water – consuming less to achieve a specific purpose, wasting less such as avoiding leaks, or reusing wastewater in appropriate circumstances – reduces costs and postpones or eliminates the need for expensive and environmentally damaging new dams or similar water supply projects.
San Antonio Water Systems: San Antonio reported that spending an average of $1 per person on conservation programs saves $4-7 per person in water utility expenditures. The city’s $4.4 million conservation program in 2006 translated to approximately $308 per acre-feet saved. Comparatively, the cost of new surface water rights ranged from $400 to $1,500 per acre-foot and the cost to purchase additional groundwater rights in the Edwards aquifer was significantly higher. Read more about San Antonio and water conservation.
Lower Colorado River Authority: A 2009 planning effort by the Lower Colorado River Authority, which manages the water supply of the Lower Colorado River Basin, estimated that conservation programs would cost roughly $400 an acre-foot while the river authority’s options for new pipelines and reservoirs would cost roughly $2000 an acre-foot.
Read more about opportunities to save money by saving water through municipal water conservation.