for water and waste water agencies
Increasing Trust, Support and Investment
Conservation and/or Water Use Efficiency
Communicating the need for conserving water or being more efficient with water resources is a common practice for many utilities. However, consumers can still be confused about the motivations for conservation.
Although utilities may think it intuitive that we should "conserve the precious resource," consumers understandably have been known to ask, "Why should I conserve so you can build more houses?" "Will my rates go up even if I do conserve?" "Do we need to conserve all the time or just during droughts?"
Arguably, conservation makes more sense when we relate to our water customers as shareholders and owners of the water system. Ongoing water use efficiency makes sense because it allows us to get more out of existing infrastructure and assets and, properly managed, it allows us to be less vulnerable to water restrictions during drought. Conservation or water restrictions during a drought are simply ways to reduce the risk of water crises. These two motivations, although linked, are different.
Clarity about terms and motivations will help the public understand and respond appropriately.