Water conservation is a set of measures to reduce water consumption and improve the efficiency of wastewater treatment in order to ensure resource conservation, environmental protection, and economic efficiency improving in industry, housing, and agriculture.
Measures for the rational use of water include:
- Any significant reduction of water losses, its use or contamination, as well as maintaining the quality of water resources.
- Reduction of water use through the implementation of measures for water conservation or water efficiency.
- The introduction of water management systems reducing or conducive to reducing excessive consumption of water.
The main objectives to be achieved by measures to rationalize the use of water:
- Sustainability. To ensure the availability of water resources for future generations, the intake of fresh water shall not exceed the natural replacement rate of water.
- Energy saving. Activity related to water pumping, its delivery, and wastewater treatment consumes substantial amount of energy. In some regions of the world, 15% of the total energy consumption is spent on activities related to water resources management.
- Conservation of natural habitats. The reducing of water consumption by humans helps to preserve the natural aquatic environment, important for the local flora and fauna and increases the total water flow. The need to build new dams and other structures for water intake also reduces.
Typically, the program for the protection and conservation of water are initiated at the local level, or the local municipality or regional structures. Key strategies include social marketing campaigns, split-level price for the water (the more water consumption – the higher the cost), or a ban on the use of water outside the house (watering lawns or washing machine). In the U.S. cities located in areas with dry climates often require the installation of the “dry irrigation” systems.
One of the most important objectives for the water conservation is a widespread installation of metering systems. Distribution of water meters in the private sector is very different in different countries. Recent surveys have shown that in the U.K. only 30% of households use meters to measure their water consumption, In Canada this indicator reaches 61%. Although there are conflicting opinions about the usefulness of the installation of water meters in private homes, according to the U.S. Agency for Environmental Protection, the metering could reduce consumption by between 20 and 40 percent. These metering systems do not only inform consumers about the level of water consumption, but are an excellent tool for the detection and localization of leaks.
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