For Water Savings
second annual report to Reclamation on the Urban Water Conservation
Partnership records additional water savings and offers several fresh,
constructive lessons for future projects.
quote the Executive Summary: "Conservation has been recognized
as an integral part of an overall plan to ensure reliable water supplies
for Southern California."
EMPOWER SMALL AGENCIES
USBR pays 40
percent of project costs, MWD up to 50 percent, with the local agency
share adding up to at least 10 percent. USBR co-funding allows small
agencies to realize gains from conservation programs they would not
be able to afford otherwise. Some agencies signed the MOU specifically
for USBR funds.
The funding selection
committee is composed of USBR's Steve Jones from the Lower Colorado
Region, three Metropolitan conservation staff members, a conservation
coordinator from Northern California, and a member of the environmental
The 56 projects
underway or completed within the report period cost $7.5 million.
USBR provided $2.9 million of this amount, or 39% of the total cost,
thus far delivering 80% of the total federal grant of $3.65 million.
should save more than 34,000 acre feet at an average regional cost
of $182 per acre foot. That's about a three day supply for 20 million
people, conserved at half the price of purchasing it from MWD.
moisture sensors are potentially cost effective for correcting over-irrigation.
Critical factors: where sensors are placed and how they are adjusted,
plus the initial extent of over-watering.
Pricing Makes a Difference:
from central irrigation computer control systems (Centrals) depend
on a specific site's water use history, the local cost of water, and
the type of Central system installed. Conservation pricing for water
has proven an effective incentive for diligent use of Centrals.
It Easy For Folks:
11% of the households receiving mail-in surveys responded to them.
While residential mail-in survey respondents were mostly cooperative
about testing for toilet leaks and shower flow (93 and 59 percent,
respectively), only 5% completed the sprinkler system test, the results
of which are necessary for determining lawn watering schedules. The
testing process may have been too confusing or too much of a bother.
Will Go Out Of Their Way:
touch-tone version of the survey, despite the 15 minutes required
to key in answers to 50 questions, the response rate was 10.3%, almost
as good as the mail-in rate of return. Again, few survey respondents
reported results on sprinkler effectiveness.
More Personal, The Better:
of the standard surveys conducted personally by trained technicians
were supplemented by follow-up contact. Customers appreciated the
additional attention. Further analysis will show if these customers
actually changed their consumption patterns.
It Perfectly Clear:
standard survey participants were offered an evaluation for a user-friendly
sprinkler controller retrofit, plus minor system upgrades. Many who
were contacted misunderstood both the process and the offer, thinking
they were due a complete system overhaul at water district expense.
The miscommunication upset a number of customers, especially those
whose landscapes failed the screening examination. The program was
discontinued after 40 residences received the retrofit.
For Intermittent Labor and Demand:
seasonal survey technicians left the program soon after training to
take permanent jobs elsewhere. Also, the workload varied according
to the weather, with residents showing less interest when conditions
were cool and damp. The need for multiple recruiting and training
cycles added to project costs.
the involvement of three wholesale agencies and eleven retail agencies,
the communication and decision making issues can become complex. Frequent
"Partners Meetings" minimized the unwanted surprises.
Control = Community Gains:
Toilet effort this funding cycle proved that local agencies, once
they acquire the know-how and staff, prefer to directly control the
long-term customer interaction programs, thus building customer goodwill.
Helps To Have A Badge:
of San Fernando's residential survey/direct install ULF toilet program
gained the support of the local paper and the escort assistance of
the Police Department. Customer response was excellent!
Attention To Salesmanship:
of professional telemarketers for CII (commercial/industrial/institutional)
survey programs boosted a 25% response rate up to 90%. The survey
identified prospective savings amounting to 29% of water use. Customers
actually implemented almost half of the recommendations, thus realizing
nearly a third of the potential for saving water.
participation gives credibility to urban water conservation as a valued
part of water management. The program has been extended until September
30, 1998. More information on the Partnership.