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Offer Turf Removal Rebates

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turf removalLandscape irrigation is estimated to account for one-third of all residential water use nationally. However, up to 50% of the water used for outdoor irrigation is wasted because of inefficient methods and equipment. Offering a turf removal rebate (usually in the form of "dollars per square foot removed") incentivizes residential users to replace water-intensive turf with drought-tolerant landscaping or artificial turf.

To see how that works, look at the SoCal Water Smart program from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Water Smart Landscapes rebate from Southern Nevada Water Authority.

Integrate Weather Data into Irrigation Systems

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computer irrigationUtilizing weather data from surrounding monitoring stations can better inform residential irrigators of near real-time water demand for their lawn. Utilizing weather data on precipitation and soil moisture to inform irrigation decisions minimizes over-watering on residential properties. For more information, see the Oklahoma Mesonet's SIP Program.

Groundwater Recharge to Meet Future Needs

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Groundwater resources are a critical source of water in arid environments. This becomes especially true during drought. Credit-based systems that incentivize groundwater recharge help to insure future availability of groundwater stores. Surface water that is recharged and stored in aquifers does not suffer evaporation losses and is easily traded, as in Arizona’s active management areas. Learn more about Recharge Credits from the Arizona Department of Water Resources. 

Replace Water Intensive Production Equipment

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winebottlesThe food and beverage industry can realize water use reductions in the production process through simple equipment changes. For example, ionized air can be used to clean cans in place of water, while cold sanitation systems use a bleach solution rather than heated water to sanitize produced goods. Additionally, dry lubrication can be used in place of water-based lubricants to maintain bottling conveyor function. Learn more about these processes from the Brewers Association.

Concrete Line Ditches

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concrete-ditchLining irrigation canals with concrete can greatly improve water transport efficiency. Concrete-lined ditches have water-saving advantages over earthen ditches in terms of reducing seepage loss, increased water quality, reduced erosion, and reduced friction losses. Learn more.

Conservation Tillage

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conservation tillageConservation tillage is the practice of leaving at least a portion of stalks or residue from the previous crop on the land while keeping the land in productivity. Reduced tillage strategies can help with water conservation by reducing runoff, increasing water infiltration rates, and reducing soil exposure and evaporation. Learn more.

Return Cooling Water to Reservoir for Reuse

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By returning once-through cooling water to a reservoir location, the same water can be used repeatedly for cooling, thus reducing the overall amount of water used in the system.  Additional water should be added incrementally, but this system minimizes total water use. Learn more.

Drip Irrigation

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Drip-Irrigation-Makes-Perfect-Sense-In-Dry-ClimatesDrip irrigation utilizes a low-volume, low-pressure water delivery method to precise locations. By delivering water directly to the root zone, drip irrigation can create significant gains in water use efficiency. The advantages of switching to drip irrigation include improved water distribution uniformity, reduced water loss due to evaporation and reduced nutrient leaching below the root zone. Learn more.