Event Title

Trends in Municipal and Agricultural Water Use and Conservation

Presenter Information

Amy Vickers

Location

ECC 216

Event Website

https://water.usu.edu/

Start Date

3-31-2008 1:30 PM

End Date

3-31-2008 2:15 PM

Description

The volume and efficiency of municipal and agricultural water use across America is changing–for better and for worse. The good news is that there is growing adoption of water-efficient technologies and practices, such as high-efficiency plumbing products and appliances, commercial kitchen and medical equipment, and innovations in agricultural irrigation management. Moreover, a number of local, state and federal policies and funding mechanisms now exist to help accelerate the installation of water-saving measures. Such measures collectively have the potential to reduce residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural water demands by over 40 percent. The bad news is that water savings from these efficiency technologies are being erased and in some cases eclipsed by new “end uses of water.” Urban water use, particularly among single family homeowners, is increasing in a number of cities and communities across the US after several years of declining demand that had been attributed to low-volume fixtures and other water-saving measures. The primary reasons for this increased demand appear to be consumer adoption of new water-using products that promote water use extremism, such as residential landscape “water features” (ponds, waterfalls, and streams), home snow-making kits, and multi-headed shower “towers.” In some cases, water use is increasing after the installation of so-called “smart controller” lawn irrigation products. The state of U.S. agricultural water use is becoming more complex–in some cases more efficient and in others far more wasteful than in the past. On one hand, the water demands from the boom in corn-based ethanol production is having an adverse impact on water supplies in the Midwest. On the other, the trend toward local and small-scale organic farming offers the promise of more efficient micro-irrigation methods compared to the inefficient flood and sprinkler irrigation systems that dominate conventional agriculture. At the same time, some of the reported reductions in agricultural water use are due less to efficiency than changes in land use and policy. For example, high value and water-rightsrich agricultural land in parts of the West are being sold to make room for more development–often suburban sprawl. Further, less expensive and imported food crops now populate many grocery produce sections, but is the “virtual water” embedded in those food products more efficient than if it were home grown here in America? Lastly, what are the practical differences between water efficiency and water conservation? Is “Jevons’s Paradox” – the theory that increased resource efficiency leads to increased resource consumption, as has been shown for US energy demands– shadowing the future of U.S. efforts toward more sustainable water use?

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Mar 31st, 1:30 PM Mar 31st, 2:15 PM

Trends in Municipal and Agricultural Water Use and Conservation

ECC 216

The volume and efficiency of municipal and agricultural water use across America is changing–for better and for worse. The good news is that there is growing adoption of water-efficient technologies and practices, such as high-efficiency plumbing products and appliances, commercial kitchen and medical equipment, and innovations in agricultural irrigation management. Moreover, a number of local, state and federal policies and funding mechanisms now exist to help accelerate the installation of water-saving measures. Such measures collectively have the potential to reduce residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural water demands by over 40 percent. The bad news is that water savings from these efficiency technologies are being erased and in some cases eclipsed by new “end uses of water.” Urban water use, particularly among single family homeowners, is increasing in a number of cities and communities across the US after several years of declining demand that had been attributed to low-volume fixtures and other water-saving measures. The primary reasons for this increased demand appear to be consumer adoption of new water-using products that promote water use extremism, such as residential landscape “water features” (ponds, waterfalls, and streams), home snow-making kits, and multi-headed shower “towers.” In some cases, water use is increasing after the installation of so-called “smart controller” lawn irrigation products. The state of U.S. agricultural water use is becoming more complex–in some cases more efficient and in others far more wasteful than in the past. On one hand, the water demands from the boom in corn-based ethanol production is having an adverse impact on water supplies in the Midwest. On the other, the trend toward local and small-scale organic farming offers the promise of more efficient micro-irrigation methods compared to the inefficient flood and sprinkler irrigation systems that dominate conventional agriculture. At the same time, some of the reported reductions in agricultural water use are due less to efficiency than changes in land use and policy. For example, high value and water-rightsrich agricultural land in parts of the West are being sold to make room for more development–often suburban sprawl. Further, less expensive and imported food crops now populate many grocery produce sections, but is the “virtual water” embedded in those food products more efficient than if it were home grown here in America? Lastly, what are the practical differences between water efficiency and water conservation? Is “Jevons’s Paradox” – the theory that increased resource efficiency leads to increased resource consumption, as has been shown for US energy demands– shadowing the future of U.S. efforts toward more sustainable water use?

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2008/AllAbstracts/15