Water Resources Planning and Management
Water Resources Planning and Management is the "parent" of water conservation and efficiency in many organizations. The Alliance for Water Efficiency recommends that water conservation planning be fully integrated into overall water resources supply planning so that the benefits and costs of conservation programs can be compared against the benefits and costs of water supply options on a level playing field.
Developing a number of water supply options that include water conservation is at the heart of integrated resource planning (IRP). According to recent research published by the American Water Works Association, one of the central tenets of IRP is achieving goals at the least cost. IRP can be useful in the joint evaluation of supply-side and demand-side options in developing a resource portfolio. Water utilities that once viewed themselves as being only in the water supply business, have redefined their mission as one of providing safe and reliable water service (Chesnutt, et. al. 2007). Copies of the AWWA report titled, Water Conservation Programs for Integrated Water Management can be purchased from the AWWA Bookstore here.
Water Efficiency Expands Options
Many water utilities appreciate the value of water use efficiency (WUE) for accomplishing their long-term mission of providing a safe and reliable potable water supply. The importance of water efficiency goes well beyond the short-term measures invoked to respond to drought emergencies, and is much broader in scope. Improved water-use efficiency is seen as a viable compliment to – and in some instances, a substitute for – investments in long-term water supplies and infrastructure (Chesnutt, et. al. 2007).
Water efficiency programs must be held to a reasonable economic standard: a good WUE program should produce benefits (i.e. water savings, increased awareness, etc.) that exceed the costs of implementing the program. Imbedded within this standard are many complexities that have troubled water utilities as they attempt to rationally determine the efficacy of water efficiency programs. As Chesnutt points out in his research, these difficulties fall into three categories:
- Conceptual. How are the benefits and costs of conservation programs defined? How do benefits and costs differ when viewed from the utility or customer perspective? Why are different perspectives important?
- Analytical. How should benefit and cost information be compared to make the correct decisions? What analytical tools can facilitate these decisions?
- Informational. How can a water utility to obtain reliable information to estimate the benefit and cost components?
The Alliance for Water Efficiency is working to develop tools and information to assist utilities in conducting sensible and reliable benefit-cost calculations about water conservation programs.
AWE Library Resources
AWE maintains a number of general water resources planning and management documents and pages in the reference library. Some of these content items can be accessed from the links provided below.
Definition of Terms
Looking for a quick definition of a water or conservation related term or concept? The AWE Glossary has an extensive list of the most commonly used terms in the biz.
AWE Glossary of Common Water Related Terms, Abbreviations, and Definitions
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