CWAG lists quickest, cheapest ways to address water shortage concerns
Most citizens residing within the Prescott Active Management Area (AMA), which includes the Quad Cities, don't necessarily have to be worried about running out of water within this lifetime. For those outside the AMA, the story is not so defined.
"Prescott has water for the next 100 years," said Dr. Peter Kroopnick, Citizens Water Advocacy Group's Science Committee Chair at a recent CWAG meeting. "The edges, it's hard to know."
One thing that is known, is that no matter where someone lives and no matter what is happening on the legal fronts of water use policies in the state, anyone can take personal action to conserve water.
"It's just the right thing to do," said Gary Beverly, CWAG's Public Policy committee chair. "Whether you have a water shortage or not, why should you waste stuff."
Not only can minimizing water use reduce one's water bills, but it can also reduce the size and cost of proposed expensive water projects such as the Big Chino Water Ranch pipeline (overall estimated to cost about $300 million).
"It can prolong our existing groundwater supplies... and by delaying pumping the Big Chino, that helps protect the Verde River," Beverly said.
Nationally, about 73 percent of the water pumped into an urban home goes toward interior use. The largest portions of that 73 percent are from flushing toilets (27 percent) and laundry (22 percent), followed by showers (17 percent), faucets (16 percent), leaks (14 percent), dishwasher (2 percent) and baths (2 percent).
"Right away, these numbers kind of give you a hierarchy of what problems you would try to address as you try to conserve water in your home," Beverly said.
Right off the bat, locating and stopping those water leaks is a clear step to take, Beverly said. The City of Prescott provides up to $5 per leak rebates for indoor or outdoor leak repair.
From there, one can turn to fixture upgrades for toilets, urinals and showerheads, which the City of Prescott also provides rebates for (up to $100).
Then there is the washing machine. Although it can be a bit of an investment, purchasing a water-efficient washing machine pays off in the end by reducing water bills.
Water conservation efforts such as these require some thought, but they don't require behavioral changes, which can be more difficult to tackle, Beverly said.
"Changing habits is important, but habits are tough to break," Beverly said. "What I'm talking about is changing devices. Devices stay with the home when it's sold and are working for you even when you're not conscious of them working."
For those who do landscaping on their property, this is also a realm to explore water conservation.
This can be done by replacing water-intensive plants with native vegetation, installing a rain-harvesting system to ensure water stays on the property (up to $300 rebates from city available), or converting irrigation to a drip system (up to $75 rebates available).
Beverly believes every single family residence could easily achieve a personal water use goal of 35 gallons per capita per day (GPCD) by following just a few of these tips.
Anyone can determine their household's GPCD by looking at their water bill.
To do so, take the number of gallons used per day as shown on the water bill, divide it by 32 days and divide that by the number of people in the household.
"This is not unreasonable, this is something we can do," Beverly said.
Follow Max Efrein on Twitter @mefrein. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 1105, or 928-642-7864.