NEWWA Best Management Practices and Advisories...

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Best Management Practices (General)

New England Water Works Association/ Massachusetts Water Works Association Toolbox of BMPs for Water Resource Management
Amended and passed by the New England Water Works Association Board of Directors May 20, 2008 and supersedes previous version passed by NEWWA Board of Directors

Effective water resources management requires that a community understand its specific local circumstances, identify the specific challenges it faces with regard to system and demand management and apply the appropriate tools to address pertinent issues. The toolbox of potential best management practices presented here is designed to be used as a menu of choices by municipal officials and water managers; not all the BMPs will be appropriate to any particular system. One needs to recognize that municipal departments, districts and private utilities have different governing structures that impact the way decisions are made. The toolbox approach to successful water resource management provides community planners the flexibility to develop specific plans and priorities tailored to solve the particular problems facing the system.

Best Management Practices (Conservation)

Conservation Outreach/Public Information Programs
Outdoor water used to maintain lawns and landscapes is the most significant non-essential water use and is one that involves residential, commercial, and municipal water users. Building public awareness of the limitations of local water supplies, and the consequences of overuse through public outreach is a key component of developing and implementing a drought or water shortage plan. A well- informed community will understand that overuse of water supplies will not only impact nearby ecosystems, but also threaten the availability of water for more essential purposes (such as drinking, or fire protection) and will respond more readily when asked to minimize non-essential water use. Public outreach should also appeal to the needs of different customer classes. For example, small business customers may require a different outreach strategy than residential customers with large landscapes.

Water Conservation Coordinator Position
Water conservation coordinators are professional positions commonly found in the West and other places frequently plagued with drought conditions. Here in New England, however, one would be hard pressed to find a water conservation coordinator – even in a large utility. For some communities this may represent a cost-effective solution to sound water resource management.

Conservation Pricing 
Conservation rates and associated metering and billing practices are activities employed by water utilities with the intent of providing a price signal to reduce or minimize wasteful use of water resources and to reduce future costs to customers. Fundamental to this strategy is the idea that potable water is an extremely valuable and, in some cases, limited resource that should be protected and sustained over time.

The objective of this Best Management Practice is to provide a description of pricing practices available to water utilities to encourage consumers to minimize the wasteful or unnecessary consumption of potable water. Rate setting is one of many measures or practices that can be employed to encourage water conservation; however, rate changes should be viewed in the overall context of a water system’s plan to integrate both supply and demand side management techniques. 

Water Resource and Demand Management Plan
Water conservation should be an important component of long term water resource planning. The possibilities for both new source development and optimization of existing sources should be considered. Likewise, the obligation to uphold the mission and protect the sustainable operations of the water utility must be considered. One of the first steps towards undertaking a sound water conservation program is to develop or update the Water Resource Plan. A Water Resources/Demand Management Plan, accessible to the public, is important to many aspects of community support. 

Residential Water Audits
A water use audit program can be an effective method of reducing both indoor and outdoor water use. Consumption audits provide water systems and their residential customers with information about how water is used and help identify potential conservation strategies.

Commercial & Industrial Consumption Audits
Commercial/Industrial (C&I) customers are significant users of water and typically represent a water system’s largest accounts. As such, targeting C&I customers for water efficiency improvements may be a cost effective components of an overall demand management strategy.


18 Reasons Why a Public Water Supplier Might Want to Pursue Water Conservation

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