Denver Water

by Curt Burnett on April 20, 2011

I spent last week in Denver, and of course had to look into the water situation while I was there. Denver Water has a very informative website, and so I drilled down to take a look at their conservation program.

Here it is in a nutshell:

Use only what you need. It’s Denver Water’s rallying conservation call and for many, it’s a way of life. Creating a culture of conservation in Denver dates back to 1936 when Denver Water advertised on street trolleys asking customers to help save water. The modes of transportation have changed, but the message remains the same as does our commitment to helping customers use this precious resource wisely.

It’s interesting to see that the utility claims to have created in 1982 the term “Xeriscape” for landscaping which uses plants which thrive in a low-water environment.  (see the Wikipedia entry for more information on Denver water and the term “xeriscape” : ) They maintain two xeriscape demonstration gardens to show the public what this approach looks like. They also have creative incentive programs for efficient irrigation and strict seasonal “no watering” rules as needed – the carrot and the stick.

In their 40-page brochure “Solutions: Saving Water for the Future”, a colorful graph shows what part of the typical family’s consumption goes to various purposes.  The runaway leader is “outdoor”, at 55% of total usage. The next nearest is “Toilet”, at 11% and “Clothes Washer” at 9%. This really gets to the heart of the matter for municipal water conservation. Water-saving toilets and appliances are valuable and important, but a conservation program that doesn’t address landscape irrigation is doomed to failure.

Denver Water looks to me to be a real conservation leader. Check out their website!

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