0% More Water: A Geographic Comparison of the Conservation Strategies of San Antonio Water Systems and Colorado Springs Utilities
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Water is one of the most precious commodities in the world. While water as a resource is often taken for granted by those in developed countries, the availability of water as a basic necessity for human life is in doubt due to human misuse, overuse, and population growth. Conservation is by far the most effective means to reduce demand for new and threatened water resources. It offers hope to humanity in terms of the challenging problems surrounding water resources. The purpose of this study is to critically analyze what conservation practices were chosen by Colorado Springs Utilities and San Antonio Water Systems in order to improve water use efficiency in semi-arid municipalities in the United States. As two rapidly growing regions with limited new water sources and groundbreaking water conservation initiatives, these utilities provide a model for other regions to contend with rapid water demand increases without similar increases in water supply. Based upon this geographic comparison, a municipality looking to conservation measures should first use technology, like high efficiency toilets, to reduce demand. However, in the long run, this will not be enough. Changing the social acceptability of water waste and changing associated behaviors and constant conservation program reassessment, will have to be the long-term water conservation strategies in U.S. cities. The most effective way for utilities to change their customers water use habits is to educate them on making conscious and personal decisions to use less water and to use the water they do need more efficiently.