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The State of Water Conservation in Colorado

A Review of Public Water Systems


This report combines public water system data available from the State of Colorado with new research conducted by Colorado WaterWise. Through these data we explore how frequently conservation programs are implemented; which programs are believed to be the most successful; the most pressing needs of the water conservation community; and how conservation program effectiveness is being measured. The findings and recommendations are intended to benefit water providers, the State, local governments, and water conservation organizations.

The final dataset is 155 public water systems, including 94 systems that completed an original CWW survey on conservation programming.


Figure 1. Breakdown of Public Water Systems Represented in Final Dataset


Conservation Program Capacity

  • 23% do not have dedicated conservation staff
  • 52% have one to three dedicated conservation staff
  • 58% have no dedicated conservation program budget (beyond staff time) to implement conservation programs

The Top 5 Conservation Programs

  1. System water loss audits
  2. Efficiency-oriented billing rate structures
  3. Education programs for adults
  4. Rebates for indoor fixtures
  5. Direct installation programs


30% of survey respondents and an estimated 54% of water systems have established quantitative water conservation goals

The Bottom 5 Conservation Programs

  1. On-site reuse systems
  2. Soil amendment ordinances
  3. Indoor fixture exchanges
  4. System efficiency upgrades
  5. Xeriscape ordinances


CWW will evaluate whether it is feasible and useful to repeat this study in future years to demonstrate progress in delivering conservation programs across the State of Colorado.



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