Water efficiency is a crucial component to ensuring enough clean water for today and for the future. Water is a finite resource, meaning we cannot make more water to meet the increased competing demands of a growing population and economy. We also do not have full control over water quality or quantity due to the geologic makeup of our state, climate change, lingering pollution issues left by past generations, and new emerging contaminants of concern. So how do we adapt to the upsurge of competing water demands knowing that there are limitations to the quality and the availability of water supplies? We use only what we need. The DES Water Conservation Program works with community water systems, commercial water users, industrial water users, and institutional water users across the state to develop water conservation plans focused on reducing water losses, water waste, and water use.
The DES Water Conservation Program fits into the water resource management scheme by supporting the balanced use of water in the state through implementation of RSA 485:61 and Env-Wq 2101, Water Conservation rules. Certain water systems and water users in the state seeking approvals from DES for new sources of groundwater or surface water are required to implement a water conservation plan (WCP) using best management practices to reduce water losses, water waste, and water use. For example, to reduce water losses a community water system may implement a leak detection survey and repair program, to reduce water use the system may discontinue the practice of overflowing a water tank for water quality purposes and address the issue through a change in system design, and to reduce water waste the system may offer product rebates to assist customers with replacing outdated bathroom fixtures with new water efficient fixtures. Through the implementation of these plans, community water systems, commercial water users, industrial water users and institutional water users not only achieve water efficiency, but also energy efficiency through reducing energy usage associated with pumping, treating, distributing, and using water.
The DES Water Conservation Program is further committed to promoting water efficiency through a partnership with the EPA WaterSense Program and a Leak Detection Grant Program. DES annually promotes the WaterSense Program’s “Fix-a-leak Week” and “ShowerBetter” campaigns and continues to spread the message about WaterSense certified water fixtures and products. Also, annually, DES funds leak detection survey grants, providing community water systems across the state with acoustical leak detection surveys conducted by a leak detection specialist.