Water Conservation

Ensuring our supply of fresh water will be one of the major challenges for municipalities across the country in the coming decades. Water conservation has become a national priority and many levels of government have enacted legislation to encourage and promote water conservation. One of the easiest and most effective methods of conserving water is to educate residents about the importance of water conservation by modifying how we think about water and how, as consumers, we use it.

Advantages

Water conservation is associated with the following advantages:

Limitations

Achieving water conservation practices can be difficult due to:

How To Use This Tool

Comprehensive plans: Implementation of a water conservation program should be based on adopted policy within the resource conservation goals expressed in a municipal comprehensive plan or in a similar policy statement. As noted above, the topic of water conservation has become a matter of national importance, which is reflected by the enactment of federal legislation specifically addressing water conservation measures. Many government, utility and conservation organizations have active water conservation programs and conservation plans, and also include tips and practices that can be included or referenced regarding water conservation efforts.

Building codes: Conservation practices can include the identification and modification of personal water usage habits related to bathing and food preparation, maintenance of existing plumbing to eliminate leaks in faucets and toilets, installation of low flush volume toilets and low flow shower heads, installation of efficient dishwashers and clothes washers.

Stormwater management: Outdoor water use represents areas where more significant water conservation results can be achieved. These could be related to gardening, car washing and outdoor cleaning. The use of rain barrels to capture stormwater from roofs is becoming increasingly popular. Other stormwater conservation practices include the use of rain gardens and micro-grading yards to direct stormwater flows to vegetable or flower gardens or even to wooded areas. Automated irrigation systems can be designed to provide the correct amount of water application and can prevent wasteful overwatering.

The use of stormwater recharge and infiltration systems can help recharge the groundwater table by directing stormwater into manmade basins that allow water to percolate into the ground rather than being allowed to run off downstream, and potentially cause erosion. Such systems are increasingly used in commercial applications in Chester County, and are effective although they require periodic maintenance.

Automated irrigation systems are designed to provide the correct amount of water for ordinary situations, but they rarely have the capacity to shut off if it does rain. Gardeners that are considering such systems should include automated shut-off controls to prevent overwatering.

Examples

There are various designs and practices that can conserve water, including:

Chester County municipalities that require water conservation practices or fixtures include:

Also, municipalities in Chester County with Stormwater Management provisions that require recharge basins also include water conservation ordinances:

Related References

Related Tools

Landscapes2 Relevance

This tool is related to all the topics addressed in Landscapes2, but specifically to the goals and objectives in Chapter 5, Natural Resources, Chapter 10, Housing and Chapter 11 Utilities and Infrastructure.

Watersheds, An Integrated Water Resources Plan for Chester County, Pennsylvania and its Watersheds, 2002, is the adopted Water Resources Element of the 1996 Chester County Comprehensive Plan, Landscapes. The Landscapes2 Water Resources Objective is to "Protect, sustain, and enhance the quality and quantity of all water resources as described in Watersheds." This tool is also supported in Watersheds.