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Net Blue: Supporting Water-Neutral Community Growth

Net Blue is a collaborative initiative of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the Environmental Law Institute, and River Network to support sustainable community growth. The project team members developed a model ordinance that communities can tailor and customize to create a water demand offset approach meeting local needs. Communities in different regions throughout the United States were consulted to help develop the model ordinance and the offset components, and to ensure that the program is adaptable to many different political climates, legal frameworks, and environmental challenges.

The Net Blue Project is divided into four parts:  

  1. Initial Offset Research 
  2. Model Ordinance 
  3. Offset Methodology 
  4. Community Outreach 

Project Advisory Committee

A project advisory committee of experts in water resources, water law, and planning and zoning helped guide the project. The three organizations wish to express their heartfelt gratitude for the time and insights donated by these experts to the project. 

  1. Dave Anderson, Drenner Group
  2. Jacob Atalla, KB Homes
  3. Sarah Bates, National Wildlife Federation
  4. Bill Cesanek, CDM Smith
  5. Doug Farr, Farr Associates Architecture and Urban Design, Inc.
  6. Kyle Harwood, Egolf & Ferlic & Day
  7. Paula Kehoe, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
  8. Cooper Martin, National League of Cities: Sustainable Cities Institute
  9. Dwight Merriam, Robinson & Cole
  10. Brian Richter, The Nature Conservancy

This project was made possible by a generous grant from the Rosin Fund of the Scherman Foundation. 

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Project Partners:

Alliance for Water Efficiency: The Alliance for Water Efficiency is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the efficient and sustainable use of water in North America. Working with more than 400 water suppliers, business and industry, regulatory and advocacy organizations, AWE delivers innovative tools and training to encourage cost-effective water conservation programs, cutting-edge research, and policy options necessary for a sustainable water future. 

Environmental Law Institute: The Environmental Law Institute is an internationally recognized, non‐partisan research and education center working to strengthen environmental protection by improving law and governance worldwide. ELI fosters innovative, just, and practical law and policy solutions to enable leaders across borders and sectors to make environmental, economic, and social progress.

River Network: River Network’s mission is to empower and unite people and communities to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain the health of our country. Founded in 1988, River Network is leading a national watershed protection movement that includes nearly 2,000 state, regional and local grassroots organizations whose primary mission is to protect rivers and watersheds.

For more information, email

AWE conducted a two-part webinar on Net Blue. Click here to view Part I, an overview of the project. Click here for Part II, "Office Hours," which addresses common uses of the tools and answers frequently asked questions.

This project was made possible by funding from the Scherman Foundation's Rosin Fund, the Paul H. Johanson Fund, and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

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