CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION
Public concepts of how to share and manage the finite supplies of water are changing. Increasing competition exists between power, irrigation, municipal, industrial, recreation, aesthetic, and fish and wildlife uses. Within the United States, critical examinations of water use will be based on consumption, perceived waste, population density, and impact on ecological systems and endangered species. Water districts will need to seek ways to extend the use of their shares of water by the best available technologies. Best management measures and practices without exception depend upon conservation of water. The key to conservation is good water measurement practices.
As district needs for water increase, plans will be formulated to extend the use of water. Rather than finding and developing new sources, water often can be less expensively provided by conservation and equitable distribution of existing water supplies. Every cubic foot of water recovered as a result of improving water measurement produces more revenue than the same amount obtained from a new source. Better measurement procedures extend the use of water because poor operation and deterioration usually result in the delivery of excess water to users or lose it through waste. Beyond the district or supply delivery point, attention to measurement, management, and maintenance will also extend the farmer's water use and help prevent reduced yields and other crop damage caused by over-watering.