According to Klaus Reichardt, CEO of Waterless Company and a frequent author of articles on water conservation issues, when it comes to water — and many other environmental issues — demand management refers to “policies that help control consumer demand without specifically asking consumers to reduce water consumption.”
“One of the best examples of an effective water demand management strategy can be found in the state of Arizona,” says Reichardt. “New reports indicate that while the population has increased nearly 500 percent since 1957, the state’s overall water use has remained about the same.”*
Demand management, which is a strategy being adopted in more and more states and communities, is based on three principles:
- Public awareness: While not specifically asking people to conserve water, an understanding as to why water must be used more efficiently is necessary
- Regulatory: Requiring the use of low flow and no water fixtures; for instance, waterless urinals are now required in many Arizona state buildings
- Pricing: Adjusting the costs of water to reflect the true costs of acquiring, treating, and delivering it.
“For advocates of more responsible water use, the underpricing of water in many parts of the country has actually worked against us,” explains Reichardt. “However, just as increasing energy costs have resulted in new technologies that use energy more efficiently, the same is evolving for water, which is necessary for us to thrive in the 21st century.”
* Source: Water Costs Will Rise, But So Will Conservation, Azcentral.com, a Gannett publication, October 30, 2013.
NOTE: While different studies come to different conclusions, all indicate that Arizona is using less water per capita today than it was 20 years ago and water use in key metropolitan areas of the state have actually declined even with the significant population increases.