Use of the California Urban Water Conservation Council BMP datbase to evaluate water conservation method effectiveness

Project ID: 1408
Principal Investigator: Steven Piper
Research Topic: Water Resource Data Analysis
Funded Fiscal Years: 2014
Keywords: best management practice, conservation, efficiency

Research Question

California's 2009 Senate Bill x7-7 requires urban water agencies within the state to achieve a 20% reduction in urban per capita water use by December 31, 2020. The measure of increased efficiency is per capita water use. One approach to meeting the goal is through implementation of urban Best Management Practices(BMPs). A BMP is a policy, practice, program, regulation, ordinance, rule, use of devices, equipment or facilities that 1)improves efficiency; 2) can achieve significant conservation benefits, is technically and economically reasonable and not environmentally or socially unacceptable, and that is not otherwise unreasonable for most water suppliers to carry out. The California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC) was created by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by a group of California water suppliers to increase water use efficiency statewide. Members agree to develop and implement comprehensive BMPs and report their BMP program implementation on a reporting site maintained by the CUWCC. Information from this BMP database could potentially be used to evaluate the factors that influence implementation of various BMPs, the effectiveness of vaious BMPs in meeting water efficiency goals, the cost of meeting efficiency goals, and the potential to isolate the effect of BMPs from variation in other factors such as the economy and climate. This scoping effort will evaluate the extent to which the BMP database can be used to quantitatively measure the effectiveness and economic viability of various BMPs and to develop a research plan, including a case study, to complete a follow-up quantitative study.

Need and Benefit

Water conservation and improved water efficiency is a necessity throughout the 17 Western States due to increasing water demands and limited supplies. This scoping effort will determine if the CUWCC BMP database can provide the information necessary to quantitatively evaluate the effectiveness of various BMPs in improving water use efficiency, the factors that influence efficiency, and to ultimately provide estimated relationships that could be applied throughout the 17 Western States. Although this database contains only California entities, the general relationships are likely to be applicable to other states. In addition, this type of research could increase interest in collecting this type of data in other states.

It should be noted that the Mid-Pacific Region requires its urban and agricultural water supply service contractors to provide annual updates for their Water Management Plans, which contains information on the implementation progress of BMPs. The CUWCC database is mechanism for the urban updates. Therefore, use of this database for evaluating BMP effectiveness is an additional benefit of the update requirement.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Scoping document indicating future research that can be completed using the BMP database. Scoping document will also include a literature review of BMP effectiveness studies and discussion of information included in the CUWCC BMP database.

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Last Updated: 6/22/20