Water Conservation Opportunities in Rockland County

Water Conservation Opportunities
in Rockland County
Stuart Braman
April 2, 2013
Water Use in Rockland County 2000 – 2009
(based on UW customer data)
Billion Gallons
Single -family
Single Family Residential Water Use in
Rockland County, 2000-2009
(based on UW customer data)
Gallons per capita
per day
Average use
(indoor + outdoor)
18.3 inches
Highest annual
average use during
period - 2001
13.6 inches
Lowest annual
average use during
period - 2009
25.7 inches
Indoor vs. Outdoor Single Family Residential Water Use
in Rockland County, 2000-2009
(based on UW customer data)
Indoor Use
Outdoor Use
Average use
Highest use during
65.0 (2001)
18.6 (2007)
Lowest use during
60.2 (2009)
3.5 (2002)
Single family residential
indoor water use benchmarks
Pre-1994 inefficient
70+ gpcd
Broustis, Seattle)
1997 intensive research
on 12 communities
69 gpcd
2008 estimated water
use for standard new
construction (EPA)
50 gpcd
1997 conserving home
45 gpcd
2008 WaterSense
conserving home (EPA)
40 gpcd
2008 super-efficient
home (David Broustis, Seattle)
25 gpcd
Water Conservation Potential
in Rockland County, in theory
• Single-family Residential
– 10% reduction from 62gpcd to 56gpcd
• 210587 people x 6gpcd = 1.3 mgd
– Contribution to addressing future water supply needs is
meaningful, though not sufficient to meet projected needs
Desal DEIS on Water Conservation
• History of conservation measures reviewed
Public education and customer outreach (since 1970s)
Increasing block rate structure (1981)
Distribution of residential retrofit kits (1983, 1993, 1994, 2007)
Guides to use of ET (1992)
Automatic meter reader monitoring (1992)
Multifamily residential billing and audits (1994)
Guides to water-efficient landscaping (2007)
• Estimated impact of additional code-driven water conservation
upgrades – 0.5%/year, net of 0.1% per year reduction in water use
taking into account new construction impact
• additional conservation measures will not be feasible as a means to
avoid the need for a long-term water supply project
Desal DEIS on Water Conservation - 2
"The other alternatives examined do not provide sufficient increases in
safe yield on their own and in most instances would likely be difficult
to implement with no certainty of success."
"A combination or composite of more than one alternative would be
less efficient, inherently more energy-intensive, more costly, and more
prone to disruption and repair. A combination of alternatives would
also require substantially more management by United Water to
oversee both construction and operations of these multiple systems."
"In summary, while any single alternative may be worthy of continued
interest and planning by United Water as it manages its water supply
into the future, there is no readily available combination of
alternatives sufficient to be a viable composite alternative compared
to the Proposed Project. "
The question remained – can increased water
conservation make a difference, or not?
• Concerned citizens suggest conservation can play
more of a role in meeting future needs
• 2010 back of the envelope calculation suggests some
but not all future needs could be met by increased
water conservation
• Two Columbia Sustainable Development Workshops
took a closer look in 2012
Spring 2012
Columbia Sustainable Development
Workshop Objective
• Estimate the water savings and the costs and
benefits of possible conservation programs both
from the perspective of the utility and the individual
Seven possible programs analyzed
1,2. High efficiency toilet rebates (single family residential
and commercial)
3. High efficiency washer rebates (single family residential)
4. Efficient outdoor water use ordinance (single family
5. Water efficient nozzle giveaway (single family residential)
6. Water efficient irrigation controller rebates
7. Water efficient pre-rinse spray nozzle
Workshop Results for all 7 programs
combined(including second workshop due diligence and
sensitivity analysis)
Optimistic Scenario
Pessimistic Scenario
Benefit Cost Ratio (utility)
Water savings 2015 (mgd)
Water savings 2016 (mgd)
Water savings 2021 (mgd)
What can an individual do?
• Install high efficiency toilets
• Install high efficiency washers
• Practice efficient outdoor water use
– determine the amount to water based on
evapotranspiration info
– use water efficient nozzles
– use water efficient irrigation controllers and
irrigation controller settings
What can Rockland County
and its towns and villages do?
• The county, the towns and villages can enact outdoor
water conservation ordinances
• Towns and villages can enact local laws to require
permitting for in-ground irrigation systems
• Intervenors in the next rate case can push the PSC to
require UW to incorporate water conservation
programs for which they are accountable. Any
interested party can be an intervenor.
What would accountability mean?
• An individual assigned responsibility for managing
the overall program
• Regular and transparent goal setting
• Monitoring progress
• Transparent adjustment of programs based on
• Incorporation of results into water supply planning
Fall 2012 Columbia
Sustainable Development Workshop
Ordinance Project objective
• Study the experiences of communities that have
adopted non-emergency outdoor water conservation
ordinances, in order to better understand successes,
failures and the details of implementation to provide
a foundation for the Rockland County legislature to
consider its own ordinance.
Port Washington Water District,
Nassau County, NY Case Study
• Local water situation
– 48.8" average annual precipitation
– All water supply from groundwater
– Persistent saltwater intrusion concerns
• County non-emergency outdoor water conservation
ordinance enacted in 1987, following DEC pumpage
– Alternate Day Watering before 10am and after 4pm
– Air conditioner recycling, car wash recycling
– Enforced by police, only when a resident calls to complain
• Local Port Washington ordinance
– Alternate day watering first passed in 1953
Port Washington Case Study - 2
• In 1987 when County passed alternate day watering law the Port
Washington Water District passed an in-ground lawn irrigation
permit law
limit 10 gallons/minute
must have rain sensor and a pressure regulating valve
existing systems must come up to spec
Applications must be sent to the Board for a new sprinkler system
Copies of the plan, location of rain sensing/soil moisture devices
Table with flow capacity of sprinkler heads
Sketch of pressure regulating valve
Manufacturer’s information about rain sensing, soil moisture detection devices
Board must inspect the location and application and grant approval before customers
may install and use sprinkler systems. $100/review, paid by resident, perfomed by
• Board sets time for violator to correct offense. If violator does not comply,
his/her water supply may be cut off
• Rockland lesson: local governments can address the biggest risk
directly with controls on in-ground irrigation
Santa Fe, New Mexico Case Study
Average annual precipitation: 13.58", droughts are common
City supplied by reservoirs, groundwater and water from the Rio Grande
Water supplier publicly owned since 1995 at which point city became responsible
for water supply, water conservation programs and public awareness programs
– Comprehensive Water Conservation Requirements ordinance passed in 1997, followed by
severe drought in 2002
– Citizen "Water Conservation Committee" meets regularly to assess water conservation
– emergency water use restrictions from drought periods adopted into city code for nonemergency use
– long-term water use reduction plans in place as well as ordinances
– No outdoor watering 10am - 6pm, May to October.
– No sidewalk washing with a hose
– No more than 25% Kentucky bluegrass
– New irrigation systems require permits
Santa Fe, New Mexico Case Study - 2
• Evolution from enforcement to public education
and outreach.
– Citations remain an option but resources shifted to
education over the past decade, funded both from the
general operating budget and a $5 annual levy on the
April water bill. The pendulum has swung and citizens
are now asking for more enforcement
• Rockland Lesson: persistent citizen involvement
in conservation planning, ongoing investment in
education pay off
Resources on Water Conservation
in Rockland County
These powerpoints will be up on the Lamont's Rockland water website
Lamont-Doherty Rockland Water
websitehttp://superfund.ciesin.columbia.edu/Rocklandwater/ , or Google
“Rockland Water Home”. Join the website mailing list before leaving to be
notified when new material is added, or email [email protected] after
Rockland County Department of Health water conservation tips - pick up a copy
United Water conservation tips and ET information http://unitedwater.com/newyork/conservation.aspx
Braman and Gruber paper on the history of water conservation and water supply
planning in Rockland County, published by the Center for Regional Research
Education and
Sustainable Development workshop student reports - outdoor water conservation
ordinance case studies and benefit-cost analysis sensitivity analysis https://rocklandgov.com/departments/county-legislature/columbia-university-fall2012-sustainable-development-workshop-s/

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