Water conservation – It’s not just a campaign, it’s a way of life

One of our 2013 billboards reminding customers to Use Even Less.

One of our 2013 billboards reminding customers to
Use Even Less.

From promoting dry t-shirt contests to encouraging the family dog to lick your dishes clean, we’ve had fun with our “Use Only What You Need” and “Use Even Less” campaigns over the years (check out the 2013 campaign video).

But, advertising was only a piece of the effort that led customers to save 32 billion gallons of water in 2013 (compared to our benchmark of pre-2002 use) – our robust conservation program helped make that possible.

Here’s how:

Conservation technicians Jenelle Rhodes and Rick Alvarado adjust a sprinkler head during an irrigation audit.

Conservation technicians Jenelle Rhodes and Rick Alvarado adjust a sprinkler head during an irrigation audit.

  • We offer rebates, incentives, water audits and more for our residential, commercial and industrial customers.
  • We have rules and programs in place to reinforce best practices, like our summer water use rules, requirements for new properties to amend their soil so it will retain more water, and tiered water rates to incentivize lower water use.
  • In 2013, we also started new conservation programs that are transforming how we will do business in the future.
    • We introduced a water budget program for large commercial customers, allowing them the flexibility to decide where and when to water (though never between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.) if they reduced water use 35 percent or more. This program helped large irrigators keep landscapes alive while saving 2,500 acre-feet of water this year.
    • We reached out to 8,000 residential high-water users to offer assistance through audits and rebates. By using the same principles as the water budget program, this proactive effort resulted in a savings of more than 16 million gallons of water.
    • We revamped our rebate program to make sure customer rebates are processed more quickly, reducing the wait for a rebate check from 5 to 6 weeks to 1 to 2 weeks.

Let’s take a look at what else was achieved last year:

  • Reyna Yagi, conservation technician, c.evaluates a sprinkler system at an apartment complex.

    Reyna Yagi, conservation technician, evaluates a sprinkler system at an apartment complex.

    Denver Water’s conservation field technicians worked with nearly 1,000 customers with high bills to examine their water use and help them become more efficient, saving them money.

  • Through our partnership with Mile High Youth Corps, we conducted 2,800 water audits and replaced 1,900 toilets.
  • Our high-efficiency toilet distribution program for residential community associations installed nearly 1,100 high-efficiency toilets in apartments and condominiums. One such project resulted in a 40 percent reduction in water use at the complex.
  • Denver Water’s water savers made more than 11,000 stops to educate customers about watering – 5,000 more stops than in 2012.

Water conservation wasn’t new in 2013. In fact, creating a culture of conservation in Denver dates back to 1936 when Denver Water advertised on street trolleys asking customers to help save water. While the modes of transportation have changed, the message remains the same. We believe water conservation must be a way of life in our dry climate and, along with recycled water and new supply, we are committed to ensuring a sustainable supply of water for our customers in the future.

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