Working for Clean Water
    An Information Program for Advisory Groups

Conservation and


           Why conserve water?
     How can we plan the future water supply
       for droughts and every-day needs?
       Is it economical to conserve water?
     Can we save energy by conserving water?
    How can we implement water conservation?
           Citizen Handbook

This program was prepared by The
Pennsylvania State University,
Institute of State and Regional
Affairs, Middletown, Pa. 17057;
Dr. Charles A. Cole, Project
Director, Dr. E. Drannon Buskirk,
Jr., Project Co-Director; Professor
Loma Stoltzfus, Editor. Graphics
support was provided by the Office
of Public Awareness,
Environmental Protection Agency.

This unit prepared by: Charles A. Cole

Advisory Team for the Project:
David Elkinton, State of West
Steve Frishman, private citizen
Michele Prome, private citizen
Joan Jurancich, State of California
John Hammond, private citizen
Richard Heatherington, EPA
  Region 10
Rosemary Henderson, Region 6
George Hoessel, EPA Region 3
George Neiss, EPA Region 5
Ray Pfortner, Region 2
Paul Pinault, Region 1
Earlene Wilson, Region 7
Steve Maier, EPA Headquarters
Robert Hardaker, EPA
Ben Gryctko, EPA Headquarters
Dan Burrows, EPA Headquarters

EPA Project Officer:
Barry H. Jordan
Office of Water Programs

This information program was
financed with federal funds from
the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency under Cooperative
Agreement No. CT900980 01. The
information program has been
reviewed by the Environmental
Protection Agency and approved
for publication. Approval does not
signify that the contents
necessarily reflect the views and
policies of the Environmental
Protection Agency, nor does
mention of trade names or
commercial products constitute
endorsement or recommendation
for use.

Water  Conservation and Reuse
Why Conserve  or Reuse

Man's existence and cultural development
has revolved around water. Water is used
for drinking as well as transportation,
industry, commerce, and waste disposal.
Most large population or industrial centers
are located on, and critically dependent
upon, good water supplies.
Water Shortages
Some areas of the United States have
abundant supplies of high quality water
that meet year-round needs. Other areas
have only a limited supply of water of
acceptable quality. Numerous examples of
chronic water shortages can be  found in
the Southwest. Other geographical areas
face seasonal shortages. Salt water
intrusion is a serious problem in coastal
areas where groundwater has been
seriously depleted. Yet in other cases
where there is adequate water quantity,
the quality makes it only marginally
usable. Examples include the acid mine
drainage water of Appalachia, and water
containing high levels of dissolved solids
found in the Southwest. Periodic droughts
combined with an inadequate water supply
produce a crisis situation. The Northeast
suffered its worst long-term drought from
1961 to 1965. California  suffered a
devastating drought during 1976 and 1977.
Other more localized droughts occur every
year, and have a significant effect on
communities. The need for water
conservation becomes more important in
light of increasing population  and
increasing per capita demand.

Wastewater Treatment Plant
Wastewater treatment plants have to be
adequately  sized to meet the wastewater
flows produced by the community.
However, industrial, commercial, and
residential users often produce excessive
flows. These large flows overload the
treatment system, which then cannot
function properly. Reduction of these
wastewater flows by water conservation
may make the facilities last longer or
produce effluent of improved quality.
However, excessive infiltration and inflow
(I/I), which  are leaks of ground or surface
waters into sewers, may  overshadow any
benefits that result from water conservation.
In these cases the citizen advisory
group should promote control of I/I as
well as water conservation.

Onsite Disposal
Onsite wastewater disposal from a septic
tank is used by 29  percent of the total
households in the United States. More
would be used, but the soils and
topography of many sites are not
well-suited for the effluent disposal. For
example, 80 percent of Pennsylvania's land
is unsuitable for onsite systems. Water
conservation reduces wastewater flows and
offers the potential for improved treatment
on many sites. It also permits disposal on
some previously unacceptable sites.

 Energy can be saved by water
 conservation. By using less water, sizable
 savings in electrical consumption for
 pumps, and electricity or fuel used for hot
 water, can be realized. Additional savings
 result through reduction in chemical usage
 at treatment plants. Part of chemical costs
 represents the energy consumed in mining,
 manufacture, and transportation of the

 Regulatory Policy

The Clean Water Act of 1977 recognizes
that water conservation will improve water
quality. It includes provisions that
encourage economic water saving
measures. Water conservation increases
both efficiency and longevity of treatment
facilities. If the amount of water treated by
 a plant can be reduced, the size of the
plant  and the operational costs can also be
reduced. This will extend federal dollars
for pollution abatement and permit the
construction of more treatment plants.

Section 104 of the Act requires the United
States Environmental Protection Agency
 (EPA) to conduct research into methods
that can reduce wastewater flow. Section
 201 states that the EPA shall encourage
wastewater treatment technology that
reclaims wastewater for other uses. Section
 201 also requires the consideration of
innovative and alternative technologies
that result in water reuse and recycle. The
Act provides increased funding for those
projects using alternative technologies,
raising the federal share from 75 percent
to 85 percent of construction costs.
The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 takes
another approach to water conservation by
providing funds for demonstration projects
that will investigate the health
implications of reuse and recycling of
water for potable use.

President Carter in  1977 asked the federal
government to review water resource
policy "with Water Conservation as its
cornerstone." Specific directives to federal
agencies include:

• Requiring water conservation as a
condition of federal funding for: water
supply and wastewater treatment grants of
the EPA, housing programs of HUD, and
USDA, and contracts for water supply from
federal projects of the Bureau of
Reclamation, USDA, DOE, Army Corps of
Engineers, and the TVA

• Requiring water conservation in federal

• Encouraging water conservation in
agricultural assistance programs, and
providing technical assistance in
water-short areas.

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
The EPA requires evaluation of the
cost-effectiveness of  flow reduction
measures during Step  1 planning of the
201 construction grant process. However,
this is required only if the community is
larger than 10,000 people, and average
water use is greater than 70 gallons per
person per day. The  water conservation
alternatives include water pricing changes,
use of water meters, use of low flow devices
such as toilet dams in homes, public
education, and changes in plumbing codes
to require installation  of water-saving
devices in future homes.

Savings in water and energy at the present
and 20 years into the future are to be
analyzed. Water and sewage treatment and
transmission costs are also to be
considered, both with and without
conservation measures.
 Plumbing Codes
Many communities have adopted plumbing
codes requiring the installation of
residential water-conserving devices in
new construction. The first area to adopt
such a strategy was the Washington
Suburban Sanitary Commission in
Maryland because of short water supplies
in the Potomac River watershed and
overloaded wastewater treatment plants.

Similar measures have been legislated in
California and Georgia. Other states are
also considering plumbing codes that
promote water conservation.

Water Use and Wastewater

Water use and wastewater production go
hand in hand. For example, 90 percent of
municipal waters end up in the sewer.
Water conservation thus alleviates both
supply and disposal problems because
water that is not used doesn't have to be

Industrial, Commercial,  and
Agricultural Uses
Industrial water accounts for 40 percent of
the water used  in the United States.
Industrial wastewater production may be
the easiest to control. Industry often must
treat water before using it, and is
motivated economically to recycle its
wastewater and conserve water. It may be
possible through a change in  water rates to
significantly reduce industrial flows. The
trend in many water-consuming industries
is towards the total recycling of water
within the plants. Potable water use and
sanitary waste production are often only a
small part of industrial flows.

The volume of water  used by  commerce
(i.e., businesses) is not as great as the
volume used by industry. However, water
used for human consumption  and
sanitation, such as drinking, bathing,
washing, and toilet use, makes up a much
larger fraction of the total commercial use.
Therefore, many residential water
conservation devices  are applicable to
commercial situations. Commerce, like
industry, is motivated by economics and
changes in pricing may have  significant

Agricultural water use is related to the
crops grown and the geographic area.
Agricultural water use accounts for 50
percent of total United States water use.
Many new techniques are being developed
to reduce irrigation water needs.
Residential I st>s
Residential water use has not been
seriously studied until recently. Generally
accepted average use of individual systems
is 50 gallons per capita per day, and for
public systems it is 73 gallons per capita
per day. The two major household uses are
for bathing and toilets.
       Indoor Residential Water Use
Implementing Water
Conservation Plans

Public education is a key to water savings.
Although it is difficult to evaluate the
actual savings from an education program
water reductions of 20 percent appear
possible without too much hardship. One
effective municipal district's public
education campaign took the form of:
  Printed inserts included with water bills
  Posters placed throughout the community

 • Reminder items such as buttons, key
 chains, matchbooks, and litterbags

 • Public service announcements on radio
 and TV

 • Speakers and motion picture films
 sponsored by the utility

 • Help from volunteer groups

 • Conservation education programs in
     dirty cars

 Water pricing can impact the consumption
 of water. Most utilities establish rates to
 recover the cost of services, high rates can
 accomplish much more. It may be
 necessary to encourage your utility to
 review traditional pricing policies  in light
 of water shortages or water quality
 difficulties. These reviews can be
 encouraged by public education and

 There are several types of water rates.
 They have different impacts on
 consumption. Major pricing approaches are
 the set price, the flat rate, the decreasing
 block rate, and the increasing block rate.
                                                 Water Pricing Methods

                                                           Relative Incentive
                                               Method     to Conserve Water
                                               SET PRICE
The advisory group can recommend a
water conservation program for its
community. The agency or body that
has a vested interest in conservation
will be the most willing to support such
a plan. Water utilities with supply
problems can be very effective.
Overloaded wastewater treatment
utilities can also actively participate. If
the conservation objective is long term,
not merely a solution to an immediate
problem, it may require different
action. Then the local or state
government may need to start an
education program. The advisory
group should be sure that water
conservation is carefully considered
during the cost-effectiveness analysis
of facility planning.
Set Price

With this rate structure each group of
customers pays a set price for any amount
of water consumed. The bill is the same
whether 1,000 or 10,000 gallons are used
each month. This type of structure must be
used when there are no meters. The price
offers no incentive to conserve water
because the price is not linked to the
quantity of water consumed.

Flat Rate

In this pricing arrangement the unit price
of water is constant no matter how much is
consumed. The cost to the customer
increases in direct proportion to the
amount of water consumed. There is an
incentive to conserve, but it is the same for
both large and small users.

Decreasing Block Rate

This rate structure is widely used by
utilities today. The consumer pays a
certain unit price for a volume, a lower
unit price for the next volume, and so on.
The cost of the water to the consumer
increases as consumption increases, but at
a decreasing rate. The incentive to
conserve water decreases as consumption
increases. In fact, the largest consumers
have the least incentive to conserve.

Increasing Block Rate

The unit price of water increases in a
stepwise manner under this rate structure.
It is opposite of the decreasing block rate.
This type  of structure is justified, when
the cost of water increases as demand
increases. It provides an excellent
incentive to conserve water.

Two other pricing strategies are possible.
One is the "peak demand rate" which aims
to flatten  usage  at high consumption times
of the year or day. The other approach, the
"life-line rate", provides a minimum
amount of water at a small cost to all
people. The life-line rate benefits people on
fixed incomes such as the elderly.

Water prices can be a most effective
conservation tool. Upon recognizing
the need  for water  conservation the
advisory  group should meet with the
people responsible  for water pricing. If
the supplier is  a non-profit government
agency, it may  be easier to adopt rates
which encourage conservation. Private
utilities may be more reluctant to
change anything that will  reduce their
water sales. The advisory group may
present examples of savings caused by
changes in pricing. This action
followed  by an education campaign to
mount public pressure may achieve
some price changes.
Residential Water Conservation

Residences use public water and generate
wastewater. Each year there are more
residential users. Each year many
individuals use more water than the year
before. The result can severely strain the
capacity of water supply and wastewater
treatment facilities. Residential
water-conserving devices alleviate overload
problems,  or postpone construction of new
supply or treatment facilities. The toilet
and bath offer the greatest potential for
conservation, since 75 percent of
residential water is used there.

Toilet Devices

Adoption of the flush toilet may well have
been one of man's worst decisions about
disposing human wastes. Each of us use
daily  about 25 gallons of drinking water to
flush  wastes down the sewer. The
conventional toilet, using 5 or more gallons
of water per flush, can be modified to
reduce water consumption. Plastic bottles
filled  with water and pebbles can be added
to the reservoir tank in order to displace
water. Several commercial devices serve
similar functions. These devices can save
as much as a gallon per flush. Recently
many new types of toilets have come onto
the market which reduce water

Water Use
for Various
Toilet Systems
Sewage Production
Conventional Water Closet

Conventional Water Closet

Modified Water Closet

Vacuum or Air Toilet

Recirculating Toilet

Incinerating Toilet

Waterless Toilet
Water Carrier of Wastes

With Bottles or Dams
Tank Volume Displacement

Dual Flush Cycle and/or
Reduced Tank Capacity

Air or Vacuum Treatment

Filtered and/or Chemically
Treated Water Recycled From
Holding Tank

Liquids Evaporated and Solids
Incinerated by High Tempera-
ture in Either Gas or
Electric Furnace

Composting or Oil Carrier
Fluid with Incineration






                       Two types of conservation toilets, more
                       properly called modified water closets, are
                       now used in the United States. The more
                       common water-saving toilets use 3.5
                       gallons per flush in contrast to the 5
                       gallons needed by the conventional types.
                       These water-saving toilets look and
                       function the same as conventional types,
                       but accomplish a savings of 30 percent in
                       water use. Dual flush systems, common  in
                       Europe, are rare in the United States.
                       They can drastically reduce water use. The
                       dual flush toilet has a 1.5 gallon flush for
                       liquids and a 2.5 gallon flush for solids.
                       They have a wall-mounted tank with a
                       pipe running to the bowl mounted to the

                       Recirculating toilets using
                       chemically-treated water, incinerating
                       toilets, and composting toilets are other
                       options. These devices offer potential for
                       rural and vacation homes where sites on
                       land are unsuitable for septic tanks.
                                         However, they are relatively expensive.


                                         Bathing represents the next largest
                                         amount of residential water consumption.
                                         Great potential exists for saving water
                                         (and energy used to heat water). Public
                                         attitudes play an important role in
                                         acceptance of the devices. Fortunately,
                                         showering is more common than bathing
                                         and has greater potential for water
                                         conservation. Simple devices can be
                                         inserted by the homeowner to reduce flows
                                         by restricting water at the showerhead.
                                         However, it is often just as easy and more
                                         effective to replace the showerhead with a
                                         new inexpensive water-saving model.
                                         Water savings in the range of 50 percent
                                         are feasible without customer
                                         dissatisfaction. Spray devices installed on
                                         lavatory and kitchen faucets will improve
                                         water use.
                                                                                      LOW FLOW HEAD
                                                        STANDARD HEAD
                                                              With FLOW REDUCER

Water-Saving Washers

For years water-saving clothes washers
called suds savers have been
manufactured. However, lowering water
levels and improved rinse systems can
reduce water use up to 50 percent for
clothes washing. Improved dishwashers
have reduced water consumption by up to
38 percent.
Lawn Sprinkling

Some areas of the country depend heavily
upon irrigation to keep their flowers,
lawns, and valuable shrubs in good
condition. Improved methods such as
underground trickle irrigation can reduce
demands considerably. The best
conservation alternative for landscaping is
to use native vegetation that can survive
naturally in the existing climate without
supplemental water.

Pressure-Reducing Valves

Lowering water pressure in a residence can
reduce water usage. Many fixtures and
appliances consume less water as pressure
drops, but still perform adequately at
minimum pressure. It is advisable to
reduce maximum pressure in residential
piping to 40 pounds per square inch. This
can be done by installing a simple valve at
your residential water inlet.


The  potential annual net savings from
installing retrofit devices in an existing
suburban household was estimated at $54
in 1978 by the EPA. The installation of
new devices in a new suburban home was
estimated to save $96 annually.
The advisory group can encourage
agencies or utilities to start a public
education program to promote water
conservation and water-saving devices.
The advisory group can help citizens
locate plumbing distributors stocking
the devices. The residents should get
advice from their water suppliers on
how to measure the water use before
and after the devices are installed, and
how to check for leaks.
Things to Consider in a
Water Conservation Plan

Two areas of caution relate to water
conservation: consumer and utility
company acceptance, and device and
collection system maintenance. Most people
are willing to make some change in habits,
if they have good reasons. Education and
good public relations are the keys to
consumer acceptance.

Some water  utilities have traditionally
been opposed, or at least indifferent, to
water conservation. As long as there was
sufficient supply and no restriction on
disposal, added/volume or usage meant
added profits. However, faced with the
problems of  limited supplies and consumer
complaints over increased costs, attitudes
are changing. Nevertheless, utilities agree
that water conservation may increase
rates. This results from the utility's high
fixed costs, which remain unchanged no
matter what volume of water is sold. The
Potential Savings
for Installing
Devices in a
Typical Suburban

T^pe of
1. Retrofit in
2. New Homes

Displacement toilet dams
Fine spray showerheads

Water-conserving toilets
Fine spray showerheads
Water-saving clothes washer
Spray on lavatory faucets
Water-saving dishwasher
Daily Water
49 gal (23%)

74 gal (35%)

Annual Savings
per Household*


                        *lncludes in-house hot water energy saving.

utility's costs go down, but the cost to any
given user may go up, down or remain the
same. The means of making the rate
impact equitable for all users depends on
pricing policies.

Extensive water conservation has caused
some problems for wastewater collection
and treatment. During a severe drought in
Marin County, California, it was necessary
to flush sewers to transport solids when
sewage flows dropped to 25 percent of the
normal amounts. Modest reductions in flow
produce no adverse effects. It is also
expected that pollutant concentrations in
the effluent from some treatment plants
may rise as flow goes down, but overall
removals in terms of pounds of pollutants
per day will decrease. On the other hand,
many already  overloaded plants produce
improved effluent when flows are reduced.

Toilet retrofit device maintenance can be a
problem. Some makes of toilet devices may
cause double flushes. Others occasionally
become displaced and cause toilet
malfunctions. They are simple to repair if
the user is aware of the problem. Any
conservation program using toilet retrofit
devices should evaluate the device prior to
its adoption.

The reuse of water has been going on for a
long time. Reuse occurs through the
hydrologic cycle, groundwater recharge
from septic tanks, and
upstream-downstream uses of water. For
example, it is estimated that water is
reused seven times on the Ohio River in its
journey from Pittsburgh to the Mississippi

Recently large-scale controlled reuse of
water has been implemented. Reuse may
take many forms. Examples include
agricultural and residential irrigation,
impoundment in lakes for recreation and
wildlife, groundwater recharge, industrial
cooling, and consumption for both drinking
and industrial processes.
Municipal wastewater recycle for potable
use (drinking water) began in South West
Africa in 1970. Municipal sewage is
reclaimed by physical/chemical treatment
to make up 30 percent of the public water
supply. No such direct potable use is made
in United States. Customer acceptance is
expected to be a major problem even if
public health considerations are satisfied.
Municipal wastewater has been revised in
the United States for industrial cooling
water and agricultural or horticultural
irrigation water. Land treatment of
wastewater is really a form of reuse. A
good example is Muskegon County,
Michigan, where effluent provides
irrigation water for crops. The crops
remove the nutrients from the wastewater
before it is returned to the stream or
groundwater. Municipal wastewater also
can contribute to recreational lakes. An
example is the Santee project in California.

Industrial "closed loop" with internal
recycle of water has been performed for
many years. However, it is being
considered by more industries as we move
towards the 1985 goal of The Clean Water
Act: the "zero discharge" of pollutants.

Agricultural irrigation reuse is common,
but it may cause additional downstream
use problems because of higher total
dissolved solids in the water. Residential
reuse (recycle) has been investigated in
several demonstration projects. Treatment,
storage, and reuse for toilet flushing and
lawn sprinkling are considered to be
economical only for problem onsite disposal
areas and high water cost  areas. However,
dwindling water supplies and rate
increases may make residential reuse more

Many innovative and alternative
technologies reuse and recycle water. Many
result in aquifer recharge. Others produce
saleable energy and marketable crops. This
revenue reduces operation costs. Multiple
use is another form of reuse. Municipal
wastewater reuse projects qualifying as
innovative and alternative technologies
may receive 85 percent federal funding in
the Construction Grants Program. This is
an increase of 10 percent over projects
utilizing conventional treatment methods.

An advisory group can encourage the
grantee to consider the wastewater as
a resource rather than a liability. This
wastewater can be valuable in
water-short areas. However, the
nutrients in wastewater are also a
resource that has made  land
application attractive even in  areas
with adequate water supplies. Water
reuse requires public acceptance and
support. An advisory group can
promote water reuse through  the
public and the organizations that it
represents.  In several instances land
treatment has been opposed because of
the public fear of health hazards.
Decades of research has dispelled most
of these concerns. The advisory group
can help to alleviate fears by
explaining the facts. An advisory group
can ask that these options be
considered during facilities planning.

There are many reasons why water should
be conserved. The most obvious reason is a
limited supply. Less apparent, but just as
valid, reasons include: wastewater load
reduction, reduction in water pollution,
energy and chemical savings, and potential
for reduced capital investment for both
water treatment and wastewater treatment

Probably the greatest potential for
reduction in water usage lies with
industry. However the best opportunities
for public water savings is in residences,
where 45 percent is used for toilets and 30
percent for bathing.  How to reduce water
usage is a multifaceted problem. Public
awareness and education coupled with
changes in pricing, regulation, and
plumbing codes can result in dramatic
savings in. water and energy. The most
tangible economic benefit to consumers is
in reduced energy bills.

Residential water conservation may be
obtained using readily available devices
which require little or no change of habits
for their usage. Water-conserving toilets
and showerheads are best for new
construction, while retrofit devices may be
easily installed in existing homes.

Controlled water reuse is another option.
Resource and economic benefits can be
gained by reusing or recycling water or
wastewater effluent  for agricultural,
industrial, and other purposes.

The exact scheme chosen for water
conservation in your area will depend on
the particular needs of your community.
These can be determined through Section
208 studies, as well as 201 facilities
planning. Remember that water
conservation and reuse may not completely
solve your water pollution problem, but
they can be useful tools.

Water conservation and reuse must be
evaluated during the cost-effectiveness
analysis conducted as part of facility
planning. The advisory group should
insure that the conservation and recycle
alternatives are given adequate

Case Study

 Uniform Rate Structure, Retrofit, and
 Elmhurst, Illinois
 Excerpted from "Two Cities Meet Conservation Challenge", Myer, L. et
 al. Water and Sewage Works, pp. 60-61, March 1979
 Elmhurst, Illinois, is a community of 50,000 people that
 solved a water-supply shortage through water
 conservation. Its water is supplied primarily from deep
 wells. Since 1957, withdrawals had been exceeding the
 rate of recharge. Also, the sewage treatment plant had
 reached its hydraulic limit.


 Elmhurst's goal was to:

 * Reduce water consumption by 10 to 15 percent and
 sewage treatment plant hydraulic loads by 8 to 10 percent

 • Reduce both maximum day and peak-hour consumption

 • Eliminate the necessity for a new deep well.

 An important part of the water conservation program was
 public education. This included:

 • A water bill mailing insert

 * Newsletters sent to all residents describing the
 water-supply problem and conservation program, with
 suggested methods to conserve water

 * Local newspaper, radio and TV coverage.

 Until 1975, Elmhurst used a declining block rate
 structure (unit charge decreased as consumption
 increased) for water and sewer service. It decided that the
 most equitable rate structure for a primarily residential
community was a uniform unit charge rate, independent
of consumption volume. In late 1975, Elmhurst instituted
an excess usage water rate, based upon findings that a
small percentage of users were responsible for the high
summer water demands. The water system was designed
for the summer peak-hour and maximum daily
consumption. So, it was underused in the winter. The new
rate charged the cost of excess supply and storage capacity
to the users responsible for  it.

To save significant amounts of water quickly, Elmhurst
delivered to each home a set of toilet displacement dams,
restriction device for showerheads, and dye tablets to
check for toilet-flush leakage. The community spent
approximately $1 per person for the public education
program, purchase of water-saving devices, and labor.


Preliminary results show that:

• The nine wells previously needed to meet summer peak
demand were reduced to seven

• Water consumption was reduced by 15 percent

• Wastewater loads were reduced by 10 percent, providing
additional capacity for 5,000 people

• Expenditure of $400,000 for a new deep well was

Case Study

Plumbing Code Change and Retrofit
North Tahoe Public Utility District, Nevada
From presentation made by Hassenplug, J. and Esking, N. at the 1978
American Water Works Association Conference in Atlantic City, NJ,
"Water Conservation Methods Practical and Legal Aspects", June 1978.
The North Tahoe Public Utility District is a public entity
operating a domestic water supply and distribution system
serving a part of California and Nevada. The area is
primarily comprised of second homes, condominiums,
motels, and some commercial establishments. Tourism is
the primary industry. Approximately 25 percent of the
housing stock is occupied year-round.

The District began developing a water conservation
program in January, 1976, as a method for reducing
sewage flows, although realization of a severe drought in
California was just beginning.


Implementation of a water conservation program was a
major problem, since:

• Many operators of tourist facilities believed water
conservation restrictions would infringe on the visitors'
enjoyment of the area and disrupt tourism

• There were few other programs to imitate and
information on water-saving devices was sketchy

• Legal basis for operating the program was uncertain

• Governmental structure also hampered the program.

Within the Tahoe basin, relevant governmental entities
included: the federal government, two states, five counties,
the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, The
California-Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, and the
Nevada-Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, as well as
numerous public utility districts and private water


The program objective was to achieve water conservation
in a passive manner without requiring or prohibiting
direct action by water users. This was particularly
important because of the transient population.
The District had ordinance-adopting powers pursuant to
state law, but depended upon Placer County for
enforcement. Working closely together, the District and
the County adopted essentially the same ordinance,
presenting a united front to the utility user. The county
ordinance was also effective over a wide geographical
area, encouraging other districts to conserve water.

The following design for a water conservation ordinance
was given:

1. The ordinance distinguished between different classes of
water use, and between existing and new construction.

2. Certain types of conservation were mandated. These
were all physical installations and not changes in human
actions. The devices used were water-saving showerheads,
aerators, and toilets. Self-closing lavatory valves were
mandated under certain conditions.

3. A retrofit education program was developed to convince
users that both new and old users were treated fairly.
Further, the District conducted most retrofit programs to
insure proper installation.

4. A timetable was set forth for compliance: 30 days after
adoption for all new users and 8 months for retrofitting.
Failure to conform involved penalties  of $500 for each day
after notification,  and shutoff of services if compliance was
not forthcoming.

Conservation device selection was made by ordering
several types of each device and subjecting them to tests.

The estimated cost of the retrofit installation program was
based on these assumptions: two toilets/house, two
showers/house, one man-hour/house for installation, and
0.4 man-hour/house for follow-up service for installation in
ten percent of the houses. Installation teams operated in
pairs, preferably of mixed sexes. Shower flow devices and
toilet tank dams were scheduled for initial installation.
Faucet aerators were scheduled for the second and third
years of the program. This enabled crews to check initial
installation and review of the program with the customer.

Very few problems were encountered by the crews. In
places where the dams wouldn't fit, plastic bottles were
used.  No bricks were used. In the case of vandal-proof
showerheads and in cases where the showerhead would
not fit the device, a new shower arm or showerhead was
installed. Complaints were rare. Public cooperation and
support were excellent due to the large amount of
publicity given the program.

The publicity program of radio announcements, press
releases, and flyers, sent with all water bills preceded
door-to-door canvassing. The flyers also provided
information for making appointments to have the service
done.  The publicity campaign also included: poster and
essay contests, a water conservation fair, and distribution
of water conservation buttons, T-shirts, balloons, and
stickers. Area restaurants were provided with table  tents
and posters indicating water was available on "request
only". In addition a school education program was tied in
with the current science curriculum.

The average water savings for 12 area motels was about
40 percent during the second and third quarters of the
year. These periods do not include ski seasons in which
usage is highly variable. Several lessons were learned
during the program. They include: Different water-saving
devices will be needed for a program.  Devices should not
be purchased all at once since better ones may appear on
the market at any time. Good publicity, education, and
public relations are essential aspects of a program.

The following suggestions are offered  for implementation
of a water conservation ordinance:

1. Analyze the political structure of the area where the
legislation is to be effective. It is desirable to coordinate
the adoption and implementation of the rules with the
agencies most involved with enforcement.

2. Avoid allying a program with a controversial agency,
particularly with a planning agency involved in growth
control. Such action will have the effect of linking the
program with controversial and negative issues, thus
diminishing public cooperation.

Case Study

Peak Demand Surcharge Rate

Dallas, Texas
Excerpted from "Water Conservation-^A Practical Approach", by Rice I.
and Shaw, L. Journal of American Water Works Association, p. 481, 482.
September 1978.
Education and information have long been tools in the
Dallas, Texas, water conservation program. Their primary
value, however, has been supplemental to more direct
conservation measures. The Dallas solution was to use
pricing policy as a tool to achieve conservation of water
resources. A pricing policy must be tailored to the
circumstances of an individual community, whose leaders
and administrators best understand where significant
conservation is possible and how it can be achieved. In the
United States the price mechanism is easily understood
and its impact is readily assessable. Three elements
—knowledge of customer water use, customer
understanding of rate structure, and customer ability to
assess economic impact of conservation measures—are
essential to an effective water conservation program.

In Dallas the customer having the most potential for
significant water conservation is the single-family
residential consumer. The hot, dry summers typical of
northcentral Texas from June through September create a
heavy, but relatively short-term demand for yard
irrigation to preserve grass, shrubs, and trees. Therefore,
the initial focus of the Dallas conservation program was
directed to the high-usage residential consumer during
summer months. The program objectives were twofold: To
lower (1) the average residential consumption, and (2) the
peak-hour and maximum-day demands upon the
treatment and distribution system, as compared to
previous years under similar weather conditions. The first
objective was an attempt to reduce the need for future
supply reservoirs; the second objective tried to reduce the
need to expand the capacity of water purification plants
and the distribution systems. The strategy was to
formulate a rate structure based on cost of service to
accomplish these objectives.

A number of approaches to changing the residential rate
structure were considered. Dallas chose to adopt and
implement a surcharge for monthly consumption above a
specified level during the summer months (June-
September). In 1976 a major fraction of the water
was consumed by large users (above 20,000 gallons per
month). It was felt that the rate structure must affect
these users if a significant impact on traditional
consumption patterns was to be achieved.
Dallas, Texas, Rates for Water Service: 1977
First (8,000 gal)
Next (12,000 gal)
Old Rate New Rate
$/1000gal 1/1000 gal
0.58 0.61
0.51 0.61
Over (20,000 gal) (winter
months, Oct.-May) 0.50
Over (20,000 gal)
(summer months, June-Sep.) 0.50
Overall increase in
revenue requirement
0.61 22
0.79 58
The results of the first summer's experience with the new
surcharge feature and other rate structure modifications
must be considered preliminary but they do seem
extremely encouraging. For example, the maximum-day to
average-day demand in 1977 declined 8 percent from the
average of the last five years, even though weather
conditions were the same or more severe than those
experienced during any year of the last five-year period.
Also, the maximum-day pumpage in 1977 declined 12
percent from that experienced in 1974. If the preliminary
view  is correct, the new pricing policy may have saved the
Dallas system the equivalent of a 50 to 75 mgd treatment
plant at no cost.

It is believed that Dallas is the first major city to adopt a
pricing policy that places a surcharge on heavy demand
residential customers during peak usage periods. In Dallas
this represents a stage in evolution from a pricing policy
that, over 25 years ago, gave a declining rate to heavy
consumers, to the policy adopted in the 1950's of a flat
rate, to the present system of heavy-demand surcharge.
When the current rate structure was presented to the city
council for approval, the surcharge portion of the rates
was described as a response to a previously expressed
desire of the council to increase water conservation in

  Case Study
  Recycle and Reuse
  Excerpted from "Water Conservation Through Wasteivater Reuse", by
  M. L. Washerman, Proceedings of National Conference on Water
  Conservation and Municipal Wastewater Flow Reduction, November 28,
  29, 1978 Chicago, IL sponsored bv the EPA. EPA 43019-79-015, August
 The following case studies illustrate a variety of reclaimed
 water producers, users, and industrial recyclers:

 • Bin-bank Power and Light. About 10 years ago, the
 City of Burbank was sending all its wastewater to the
 City of Los Angeles for treatment and disposal. To reduce
 the cost of wastewater disposal and to conserve water,
 Burbank built a 7 mgd sewage treatment facility with
 outflow supplying the 1.2 mgd cooling water requirements
 of the Burbank Power and Light generating station.

 The cost of city supplied water is much more expensive
 than reclaimed water. City water in 1978 sold for more
 than five times the cost of reclaimed water. In terms of
 costs for water purchase and including chemical treatment
 to control pH, scaling, hardness, and coliform organisms,
 total cost savings to the power plant amounted to $6,300
 per month.

 • Simpson Paper Company. Simpson Paper Company's
 Shasta Mill near Anderson, California, operates under
 some of the most stringent water quality regulations in
 the United States. The regulations are tight because the
 mill discharges to the Sacramento River, a highly
 productive fish spawning ground. Wastewater discharges
 resulting from a plant expansion in 1974 could not be
 economically treated to meet discharge standards. The
 company then investigated the use of secondary effluent
 for irrigating croplands.

 Presently the mill produces 2.6  mgd of reclaimed water for
 irrigating 650 acres of cropland. A fully automated flood
 irrigation system is used to supply the water to  the land.
 Good yields of oats, wheat, and field corn are achieved.

.This land has highly permeable soil, which allows the
   luent to percolate rapidly to the riverbed. During the
      ; drought when Sacramento River flows were very
   v, the Shasta  Mill was able to meet the most stringent
 conditions prescribed in its discharge permit.
• Irvine Ranch Water District In 1972 the Irvine Ranch
Water District adopted a water resources master plan
which provided for maximum use of the District's total
water resources, including fresh water supply, the
collection and treatment of wastewater, and the extensive
use of reclaimed water. In assessing options for effluent
disposal, the District chose a total reclamation and reuse
alternative, rather than ocean disposal. Two key points
became evident in the analysis of the alternatives. First,
the degree of treatment had become virtually the same for
the two alternatives largely because of increasingly
stringent water quality standards for ocean disposal.
Second, the cost of the total reclamation program was
$1.25 million less per year than the ocean disposal
route—mainly because the District  could earn a potential
$4 million annually by selling reclaimed water. Presently,
it supplies 5 mgd of reclaimed water for irrigation of
citrus orchards, vegetable crops, parks, community
greenbelts, and golf courses.

The District sells reclaimed water for $69.06/ac-ft,
compared to the $143.75/ac-ft charge for Colorado River
water imported for domestic uses. High in nitrogen and
phosphorus, the reclaimed water is  calculated to have a
fertilizer value of $30/ac-ft, which at prevailing irrigating
volumes comes to about $120/acre/yr.  To the farmer this
means fertilizer cost-savings on top of the water
cost-savings obtained by purchasing reclaimed water at
half the price of freshwater.

                                                                                       Selected Resources
A Pilot Water Conservation Program. Bulletin 191. Sacramento, CA: California
Department of Water Resources, October 1978. 64 p.

        This bulletin reports on a study of the best and most cost-effective ways to
        introduce water-saving devices into homes. The study includes pilot programs in
        six California cities that were affected by the severe 1976-77 drought. The study
        will be of value to water suppliers and citizen groups interested in water
        conservation. Eight appendices are also available, including a device  study and
        the study of each of the six cities. The report is available at no cost from
        California Department of Water Resources, P.O. Box 388, Sacramento, CA
        95802; attn: Dean Thompson.

Agricultural Water Conservation Conference Proceedings. Sponsored jointly by California
Department of Water Resources and the University of California Cooperative  Extension
Service, June 1976. 249 p.

        These proceedings resulted from a conference on agricultural water conservation
        in California; however many of the conclusions are applicable nationwide. Both
        approaches and policy are discussed in these proceedings. It is available from
        California Department of Water Resources, P.O. Box 388, Sacramento, CA
        95802; attn: Dean Thompson.

Directory of Federal Programs Related to Water Conservation. Draft copy. Washington,
DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water Programs Operations,
November 1978. 72 p.

        This is a directory of federal programs by agency including type of assistance,
        nature of program, water conservation provisions, eligibility, fiscal scope of
        program, applicant eligibility, and informational contact. It is available from
        EPA,  Facility Requirements Division (WH 595), 401 M Street, S.W.,
        Washington, DC 20460.

Milne, M. Residential Water Conservation. California Water Resources Center Report No.
35. Davis, CA: University of California, 1976. 469 p.

        A comprehensive but non-technical report on residential water conservation
        covering factors influencing water use, devices, and applications. It also
        discusses costs of treatment of wastes and laws from the California viewpoint. It
        is available for $14.50 as order no. PB-253-253/9 from the National Technical
        Information Service, 5285 Port Royal Rd., Springfield, VA 22161.

McGhee, R., et al., eds. Readings in Water Conservation. Washington, DC: National
Association of Counties Research, Inc.,  1978. 332 p.

        This document represents an extensive collection and synthesis of recent
        publications in water conservation. Areas covered extensively are regulations,
        infiltration and inflow, devices, education, land use, planning, pricing policies,
        economics and reuse. This collection represents national scope. Copies may be
        obtained from National Association of Counties Research, Inc., 1735 New York
        Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20006.

Water Conservation Devices, Residential Water Conservation. Water Research Capsule
Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Interior, Office of Water Research and
Technology, 1977. 10 p.

        This capsule report highlights findings of research projects funded through the
        Office of Water Research and Technology. It is a simple overview of the subject
        and is suitable for lay persons desiring information on residential water
        conservation. It is available from Superintendent of Documents, U.S.
        Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402 as Stock Number
        924-000-00834-1, at a cost of $0.90 per copy.


Acid-Mine Drainage—water with an acidic
pH seeping from working or abandoned mines.

Alternative Wastewater Treatment
System—a group of wastewater treatment
systems as defined by EPA that can save
energy or cost as compared to conventional
treatment systems.

Aquifer—underground bed or layer of earth,
gravel, or porous stone which serves as a
reservoir for groundwater.

Aquifer Recharge—adding water to an
aquifer either by spreading on the ground
surface or direct injection through wells.

Coliform—organisms found in the intestinal
tracts of humans and other animals.

Composting—a method of breakdown of
organic matter using natural decay processes.

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis—
determination of whether a project or
technique is worth funding; both monetary
and nonmonetary factors are involved.

Decreasing Block Rate Structure—cost of
water to consumer increases as consumption
increases, but at a decreasing rate.
Dissolved Solids—total amount of extremely
small organic and inorganic material.

Effluent—treated or untreated waste material
discharged into the environment.

Flat Rate Structure—unit price of water is
constant no matter  how much is consumed.

Horticulture—science of growing flowers,
fruits, and vegetables.

Hydraulic Overload—situation when a
wastewater treatment plant is unable to handle
the large flow of water entering it.

Increasing Block Rate Structure—cost of
water to consumer increases as consumption
increases, and at an increasing rate; also
known as a penalty structure.

Industrial Closed  Loop—the treatment and
reuse of waters used in production within an
industrial plant so that no water leaves the

Infiltration and Inflow (I/I)—leakage of
ground and surface water  into sewers.

Innovative Waste  Treatment System—
systems that, through new ideas  and
techniques, significantly reduce costs or use of
energy, improve control of toxic materials,
improve operational reliability, or result in
some other public benefit.
Life-Line Rate Structure—schedule providing
a minimum basic amount of water at a small
cost to all people.

Onsite Disposal—disposal of wastewater on an
individual lot, usually by a septic tank.

Peak Demand Rate Structure—increases
price of water at high consumption periods;
effect of leveling out water usage.

Per Capita Daily Consumption—amount
consumer per person per day.

Percolation—downward flow or filtering of
water through pores or spaces in rock or soil.

Retrofit Devices—modifications to be installed
on existing equipment.

Set Price Rate Structure—each group of
customers pays a set amount for any amount of
water consumed.

Silviculture—phase of forestry dealing with
the establishment, development, reproduction,
and care of forest trees.

Unit Processes—the individual functioning
parts of a whole system.

Watershed—the land area that drains into  a
particular surface water.