After getting a firm grasp on water use in your community, a good next step is to look at how water is administered and delivered. Changes to water operations and management can often have the greatest impact on improving water conservation. Included below are several initiatives that your municipality may want to implement:

Metering

According to a 2004 national survey of Canadian municipalities, unmetered communities consume 75 per cent more water than fully metered ones—467 litres per capita per day (l/c/d) versus 266l/c/d for metered municipalities. Metering allows consumption based billing which provides a strong incentive for water efficiency and helps the municipality recover costs, especially when combined with full cost pricing. See the economic and financial tools section for more information on full cost pricing.

Learn more about metering programs in Alberta

Water & wastewater strategic planning

AMSC Water and Wastewater Services are now offering a water and wastewater strategic planning service to help guide your overall approach to water and wastewater management. This AMSC service is designed to help balance risks, business continuity, services, and financial stability by providing alternative service delivery options, pinpointing capital spending, governance and planning, and compiling lessons learned. Pricing of the service will be customized to the specific municipality’s requests.

For more information, contact an AMSC staff member

Water conservation, efficiency and productivity plans

Municipal water conservation, efficiency and productivity (CEP) planning helps communities assess their current water use, its impact on aquatic environments and municipal infrastructure, and identify opportunities to provide for a more sustainable water future. CEP plans generally include a water use profile for the community, a target for future use, a summary of CEP efforts to date, and evaluation of proposed actions, an action plan, and a monitoring and evaluation plan.

While drafting a CEP plan is not strictly necessary to implementing any of the other tools on this site, they can be valuable to help structure your efforts towards improving water conservation, efficiency and productivity.

See an inventory of example Municipal CEP plans and targets

Loss control programs:

According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the amount of unaccounted water can vary from less than 10 percent in new, well-managed systems to more than 50 per cent in older systems suffering from poor maintenance. Environment Canada estimates that an average of 13 per cent of municipal water is unaccounted for. Performing a water audit will pinpoint where your municipality is losing water, and how much you are losing. Once you have that information established, loss control programs can be instituted to remedy leaks.

See examples of loss control programs in Alberta

Water recovery, reclamation, reuse and recycling:

According to the PolisProject for Ecological Governance, more than two thirds of municipal water use does not require drinking quality water. Reusing or recycling water for uses like flushing toilets, outdoor irrigation, or industrial use can provide savings of up to 50 per cent of water use. Even more significant savings can be achieved with system-wide reuse programs.

Examples of water recovery, reclamation, reuse, and recycle programs