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Integrated Water Management: Water Efficiency for Cost Savings, Other Benefits/Challenges

Posted By Johanna Bell, Friday, October 14, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Water efficiency is an essential element in the development of potable, municipal irrigation, stormwater, reuse, and water resource recovery infrastructure.  Water efficiency can also lead to cost savings, energy savings, and significant cost savings to rate payers.  With respect to security, water efficiency can increase a region's drought resilience and ensure adequate water supply for future growth.

The 2010 USGS National Water Use Report indicates that residential Idaho water use is 168 gallons/capita/day (gpcd); nearly twice the United State average residential water use of 89 gpcd.  The high residential use in Idaho suggests there are significant indoor and outdoor residential water efficiency opportunities in Idaho.

For many Idaho municipalities, indoor and outdoor water efficiency improvements are projected by the Idaho Department of Water Resources to be 30 - 50% or more.  

Municipal case studies from arid regions in the western United States demonstrate that water efficiency can provide cost savings and other benefits, plus some challenges for water and wastewater operations.  Benefits include smaller potable and wastewater infrastructure (treatment, distribution, collection, etc.), energy savings, water supply for future growth, drought resilience, and significant cost saving to rate payers.

Challenges include decreased sewer collection line flows, solids accumulation, increased hydrogen sulfide generation, and corrosion and increased bacterial levels in residential and commercial building potable water systems that are not properly designed or have long residence times.  

As the Draft Sustainability Section for the State Water Plan proposed by the Idaho Department of Water Resources points out: "Stewardship of Idaho‚Äôs water resources begins with the realization that the water resources of the State are not inexhaustible and therefore it is necessary to manage, administer, and take action to sustain, maintain and enhance the resource."  

AIC is gathering input and perspectives on the various water supply issues facing Idaho municipalities and is planning a Water Summit for October 25th.  For more information, please visit the AIC Calendar or contact 



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