Alliance for Water Efficiency Releases Drought Response and Water Demands Study

By on January 29, 2020

Earlier this month the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) released their study on municipal drought response and water demand.

The study titled, Use and Effectiveness of Municipal Irrigation Restrictions During Drought, explores how drought response measures have been implemented and how water demand reductions have been achieved across different water suppliers in different states.

“The results confirm the effectiveness and importance of irrigation restrictions during a drought,” said Mary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency. “The research shows that when necessary and with proper implementation, substantial demand reductions can be achieved by communities working together during a drought.”

The study was conducted by Anil Bamezai, PhD of Western Policy Research along with Lisa Maddaus and her team at Maddaus Water Management, Inc. over a period of two years. Peter Mayer of Water Demand Management developed the original research concept and served as AWE’s project manager for the study.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Case study participants in California and Texas successfully reduced annual demand by 18-30 percent and peak monthly demand by 20-42 percent through a combination of mandatory demand management measures.
  • Within this study, voluntary conservation did not generate statistically significant savings (i.e., estimated savings are indistinguishable from zero).
  • Messaging and enforcement are viewed as best practices and essential components of a successful drought response.
  • Water Shortage Contingency Plans should include all of these components: messaging, enforcement, irrigation day-of-week and/or time-of-day restrictions, drought surcharges, and implementation strategies.
  • To be effective, Water Shortage Contingency Plans need codified rulemaking to include provisions that are enforceable on non-compliant customers.

The public can download the Executive Summary here or AWE members can access the full report by filling out a request form.