Water efficiency

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The Capitol Power Plant made dramatic performance improvements in the generation and delivery of chilled water and steam throughout our facilities. By revitalizing the refrigeration plant and installing new chillers, the CPP increased chilled water efficiency with new chillers that are 20 percent more efficient. These chillers aren't small--one can use more electricity than the Rayburn House Office Building or Hart Senate Office Building on the busiest day of the year. Chilled Water Efficiency (28471938834).jpg
The Capitol Power Plant made dramatic performance improvements in the generation and delivery of chilled water and steam throughout our facilities. By revitalizing the refrigeration plant and installing new chillers, the CPP increased chilled water efficiency with new chillers that are 20 percent more efficient. These chillers aren't small—one can use more electricity than the Rayburn House Office Building or Hart Senate Office Building on the busiest day of the year.

Water efficiency is reducing water wastage by measuring the amount of water required for a particular purpose and the amount of water used or delivered. [1] Water efficiency differs from water conservation in that it focuses on reducing waste, not restricting use. [2] Solutions for water efficiency focus not only on reducing the amount of potable water used, but also on reducing the use of non-potable water where appropriate (i.e. flushing toilet, watering landscape, etc.). [3] It also emphasises the influence consumers can have in water efficiency by making small behavioural changes to reduce water wastage and by choosing more water efficient products.


Examples of water efficient steps includes fixing leaking taps, taking showers rather than baths, installing displacements devices inside toilet cisterns, males using urinals rather than toilet stalls, and using dishwashers and washing machines with full loads. These are things that fall under the definition of water efficiency, as their purpose is to obtain the desired result or level of service with the least necessary water. [1]


According to the Second UN World Water Development Report, if present levels of consumption continue, two-thirds of the global population will live in areas of water stress by 2025. [4] Increasing human demand for water coupled with the effects of climate change mean that the future of our water supply is not secure. As of now, 2.6 billion people do not have safe drinking water. Added to this, are the changes in climate, population growth and lifestyles. The changes in human lifestyle and activities require more water per capita. This tightens the competition for water amongst agricultural, industrial, and human consumption. [5]


In most countries, people have recognized this growing water scarcity problem. Water efficiency, while not yet a major priority in the agendas of governments, has been a growing concern. Global organizations like the World Water Council, [5] the International Water Management Institute, [6] and UNESCO [7] have been promoting water efficiency alongside water conservation.

The Alliance for Water Efficiency, Waterwise, the California Urban Water Conservation Council, and Smart WaterMark in Australia, and the WaterBucket in Canada are some non-governmental organizations that promote or support water efficiency at national and regional levels.

Governmental organisations such as Environment Canada, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Environment Agency in the United Kingdom, the Department of the Environment and Water Resources in Australia, among others, have recognized and created policies and strategies to raise water efficiency awareness. US EPA created its WaterSense program to encourage water efficiency in the United States through the use of a special label on consumer products.

The People's Republic of China has put forward a 5-year plan (2010-2015) at a cost of Y500 billion ($78.1 billion) to Y600 billion ($93.7 billion) to upgrade most of the 4,000 water plants in China. The government hopes these steps will help to better conserve water and meet demands. [8]

The Indian state of Haryana, has implemented State Rural Water Policy 2012; under this policy individual household metered connections would be provided to 50% of the rural population by 2017, to stop water wastage in villages. [9]

A part of the industry sector has also recognised the benefits of water efficiency. Such journals as the Water Efficiency Journal [10] from the US, Water Efficient Solutions Journal [11] and Water Energy and Environment [12] Magazine from the UK, all mainly directed towards the industrial and professional sectors, attest to the growing consciousness of the need to develop more water efficient solutions.

Water efficient solutions


Here are some simple ways to be more water efficient at home

Consumers can also voluntarily or with utility or government incentives or mandates purchase water-efficient appliances, such as low-flush toilets and front-loading washers. Greywater can be recycled for toilet flushing or garden use.


According to Savewater!, these are solutions useful to manufacturers: [13]

Waterless products

  • Using waterless car wash products to wash cars, boats, motorcycles and bicycles. This could save up to 150 gallons of water per wash.


The US EPA, offer some water saving tips for communities and utilities: [14]

Utilities can also modify their billing software to track customers who have taken advantage of various utility sponsored water conservation initiatives (toilet rebates, irrigation rebates, etc.) to see which initiatives provide the greatest water savings for the least cost.

Water policies and impact assessments

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Earth water distribution Earth water distribution.svg
Earth water distribution

Environmental policies and the difference usages of models that are generated by these enforcements can have significant impacts on the society. Hence, improving policies regarding environmental justice issues often require local government's decision making, public awareness, and significant amount of scientific tools. Furthermore, it is important to understand that positively impacting policy decisions require more than good intentions, and they necessitate analysis of risk-related information along with consideration of economic issues, ethical and moral principles, legal precedents, political realities, cultural beliefs, societal values, and bureaucratic impediments. [15] Also, ensuring that the rights of people regardless of their age, race, and backgrounds are being protected should not be neglected according to "The Role of Cumulative risk Assessment in Decisions about Environmental Justice." Also, the article suggests that if a policy protects the natural environment but negatively affects those who in the reach of the enforcement of the policy, that policy is subjected to revaluation. [15] Researchers suggests racial and socioeconomic disparities in exposure to environmental hazards describing the demographic composition of areas and their proximity to hazardous sites. [16] Then, any improvements of a social policy and models that are generated by these improvements should reflect the policy-makers' and researchers' environmental justice beliefs. Therefore, researches and social changes should examine the promises and pitfalls associated with the environmental justice struggles, explore implications of proposed solutions, and recognize the fact that tools necessary to sufficiently carry preceding requirements are yet underdeveloped. [17]


Reef Plan (Australia)

The Reef Plan started as an attempt to come up with a new ways to create models that integrate environmental, economical, and social consequences. [18] Pre-existing Australian water policies were often criticizes previous models for focusing too much on investment prioritization and economic dimensions when it came to policy impact assessment. However, the policy makers and researchers in Australia now suggest that "sustainability focused policy requires multi-dimensional indicators" that combine different disciplines. [18] The Reef Plan allows the policy makers to identify issues relating to Reef water quality and implement management strategies and actions to conserve and rehabilitate areas such as riparian zones and wetlands. [19] With the Reef Plan, Nine strategies were implemented in the Great Barrier Reef region. They include self-management approaches, education and extension, economic incentives, planning for natural resources management and land use, regulatory frameworks, research and information sharing, partnership, priorities and targets, and monitoring and evaluation. [18] And such improvements invoked benefits such as:

  1. more comprehensive picture of the policy impacts. New models projected possible outcomes of different simulation of the proposed policies under various circumstances. In addition, they provided the optimal decisions to be made regarding each outcome through the usage of what is known as computable general equilibrium (CGE) which “integrate dynamics on a catchment scale” [18] [19]
  2. helping the aggregation of both economics aspects of water and non-monetary elements of water usage. [18] [19]
  3. acknowledging the fact that farm production should depend on the global dynamics [18] [19]

Conserved Water Statutes (United States)

Water-conservation-stamp-1960 Water-conservation-stamp-1960.jpg

Conserved Water Statutes are state laws enacted by California, Montana, Washington, and Oregon to conserve water and allocate water resources to meet the needs of increasing demand for water in the dry lands where irrigation is or was occurring. These laws helps the states to dismiss the disincentives to conserve water and do so without damaging pre-existing water rights. [20] Because any extra amount of water after applying water to a beneficiaries of the pre-existing water policies does not belong to the appropriators, such a condition creates an incentive to use as much water as possible rather than saving. [20] [21] This obviously causes costs of irrigation to be greater than the optimal amount which makes the policy very inefficient. However, by enacting Conserved Water Statutes, state legislatures are able to address the disincentives to save water. [20] The policy allows the appropriators to have rights over the surplus water and enforces them to verify their water savings by the water resources department. [20] Out of the four states that adapted the Conserved Water Statutes, Oregon is often renowned to be the most successful. [20] According to "How Expanding The Productivity of Water Rights Could Lessen Our Water Woes," The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) has been a success because a high percentage of submitted applications submitted, and the OWRD serves as a good intermediaries that help appropriators to conserve water. OWRD’s programs are not only a success because its effectiveness but also because of their efforts to improve the workers’ working conditions. [20] [21] According to OWRD's website, the state policies regarding the water rights are divided into Cultural Competency, Traditional Health Worker, Coordinated Care Organizations, and Race, Ethnicity and Language Data Collection. [21]

Water pollution in Malaysia

Water Pollution with Trash Disposal of Waste at the Garbage Beach Water Pollution with Trash Disposal of Waste at the Garbage Beach.jpg
Water Pollution with Trash Disposal of Waste at the Garbage Beach

In Malaysia, the citizens have been experiencing harms from water pollutants in the river that have been accumulating over decades due to fast growing urbanization and industrialization. [22] The planners of Malaysia have been trying to coming up with models that indicate the amount of pollutants has grown over time as cities became more industrialized and how these chemicals are distributed in various regions with the usage of econometrics and various scientific tools. [22] Such an attempt is encourages in-depth researches because sources should be able to analyzed numerically and give economic evaluations while also evaluating the environment. [23] With abundance of evidences provided by models which reveal the inadequacy of current policies, the Malaysian decisions-makers now recognize that appropriate treatments are necessary in regions that are industrialized to protect the residents from water pollutants. [22] [24] As a result, the government seeks to increase public awareness and provide affordable water services to residents by year 2020. [24]

Benefits of impact assessments

Successful policies and assessments integrate environmental, economical, and social consequences which provides better models and potential future improvements of the policies. Understanding the importance of water policies and impact assessments is a crucial part of both water justice and environmental justice issues. Not only does it help to protect the quality of water but also the quality of living for humans who are directly affected by the environment.

In addition, successful policies goes beyond water issues. Beneficial policies that are intended to benefit the general public touches upon subjects such as transportation and other environmental policies that may have significant impact on the surrounding environment. [25] Instead of mere cost-benefit analysis, decisions are made so that they account for the priorities of the people. [25]

Notable benefits of impact assessments:

See also

Related Research Articles

Sustainable living describes a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources, and one's personal resources. It is often called as "earth harmony living" or "net zero living". Its practitioners often attempt to reduce their ecological footprint by altering their methods of transportation, energy consumption, and/or diet. Its proponents aim to conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability, naturally balanced, and respectful of humanity's symbiotic relationship with the Earth's natural ecology. The practice and general philosophy of ecological living closely follows the overall principles of sustainable development.

Water conservation Policies for sustainable development of water use

Water conservation includes all the policies, strategies and activities to sustainably manage the natural resource of fresh water, to protect the hydrosphere, and to meet the current and future human demand. Population, household size and growth and affluence all affect how much water is used. Factors such as climate change have increased pressures on natural water resources especially in manufacturing and agricultural irrigation. Many countries have already implemented policies aimed at water conservation, with much success.

Energy conservation reduction in energy usage

Energy conservation is the effort made to reduce the consumption of energy by using less of an energy service. This can be achieved either by using energy more efficiently or by reducing the amount of service used. Energy conservation is a part of the concept of Eco-sufficiency. Energy conservation measures (ECMs) in buildings reduce the need for energy services and can result in increased environmental quality, national security, personal financial security and higher savings. It is at the top of the sustainable energy hierarchy. It also lowers energy costs by preventing future resource depletion.

Green building architecture designed to minimize environmental and resource impact

Green building refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. This requires close cooperation of the contractor, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project stages. The Green Building practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. In doing so, the three dimensions of sustainability, i.e., planet, people and profit across the entire supply chain need to be considered.

Environmental technology the technical and technological processes for protection of the environment

Environmental technology (envirotech), green technology or clean technology (cleantech) is the application of one or more of environmental science, green chemistry, environmental monitoring and electronic devices to monitor, model and conserve the natural environment and resources, and to curb the negative impacts of human involvement. The term is also used to describe sustainable energy generation technologies such as photovoltaics, wind turbines, bioreactors, etc. Sustainable development is the core of environmental technologies. The term environmental technologies is also used to describe a class of electronic devices that can promote sustainable management of resources.

Waste hierarchy

Waste hierarchy is a tool used in the evaluation of processes that protect the environment alongside resource and energy consumption from most favourable to least favourable actions. The hierarchy establishes preferred program priorities based on sustainability. To be sustainable, waste management cannot be solved only with technical end-of-pipe solutions and an integrated approach is necessary.

Energy industry industries involved in producing, selling, and distributing energy (in all forms, e.g. petroleum, natural gas, coal, peat, firewood, nuclear energy, solar energy, hydroelectic energy, wind energy, geothermal energy)

The energy industry is the totality of all of the industries involved in the production and sale of energy, including fuel extraction, manufacturing, refining and distribution. Modern society consumes large amounts of fuel, and the energy industry is a crucial part of the infrastructure and maintenance of society in almost all countries.

Negawatt market a theoretical unit of power representing the amount of electrical power in watts saved

A negawatt market is a theoretical energy market where the commodity traded is a negawatt-hour, a unit of energy saved as a direct result of energy conservation measures.

Green development is a real estate development concept that carefully considers social and environmental impacts of development. It is defined by three sub-categories: environmental responsiveness, resource efficiency, and community and cultural sensitivity. Environmental responsiveness respects the intrinsic value of nature, and minimizes damage to an ecosystem. Resource efficiency refers to the use of fewer resources to conserve energy and the environment. Community and cultural sensitivity recognizes the unique cultural values that each community hosts and carefully considers them in real estate development, unlike more discernable signs of sustainability, like solar energy,. Green development manifests itself in various forms, however it is generally based on solution multipliers: features of a project that provide additional benefits, which ultimately reduce the projects' environmental impacts.

Pollution prevention (P2) is a strategy for reducing the amount of waste created and released into the environment, particularly by industrial facilities, agriculture, or consumers. Many large corporations view P2 as a method of improving the efficiency and profitability of production processes by waste reduction and technology advancements. Legislative bodies have enacted P2 measures, such as the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 by the United States Congress.

Waste minimisation process that involves reducing the amount of waste produced in society

Waste minimisation is a set of processes and practices intended to reduce the amount of waste produced. By reducing or eliminating the generation of harmful and persistent wastes, waste minimisation supports efforts to promote a more sustainable society. Waste minimisation involves redesigning products and processes and/or changing societal patterns of consumption and production.

Sustainable Development Strategy in Canada

Sustainable Development Strategy for organizations in Canada is about the Government of Canada finding ways to develop social, financial, and environmental resources that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs in Canada. A Sustainable Development Strategy for the organization needs to be developed that establishes the Sustainable Development goals and objectives set by the Auditor General Act of Canada and provides the written policies and procedures to achieve them. Sustainable Development is based on responsible decision-making, which considers not only the economic benefits of development, but also the short-term and long-term, Canadian environment and environmental impacts.

In conservation and energy economics, the rebound effect is the reduction in expected gains from new technologies that increase the efficiency of resource use, because of behavioral or other systemic responses. These responses usually tend to offset the beneficial effects of the new technology or other measures taken.

Efficient energy use Energy efficiency

Efficient energy use, sometimes simply called energy efficiency, is the goal to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services. For example, insulating a building allows it to use less heating and cooling energy to achieve and maintain a thermal comfort. Installing light-emitting diode bulbs, fluorescent lighting, or natural skylight windows reduces the amount of energy required to attain the same level of illumination compared to using traditional incandescent light bulbs. Improvements in energy efficiency are generally achieved by adopting a more efficient technology or production process or by application of commonly accepted methods to reduce energy losses.

Energy conservation in the United States

The United States is the second-largest single consumer of energy in the world. The U.S. Department of Energy categorizes national energy use in four broad sectors: transportation, residential, commercial, and industrial.

EPA Sustainability

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was established in July 1970 when the White House and the United States Congress came together due to the public's demand for cleaner natural resources. The purpose of the EPA is to repair the damage done to the environment and to set up new criteria to allow Americans to make a clean environment a reality. The ultimate goal of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment.

The Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) is an organization established in India in 1978, under the aegis of the Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of Government of India that is engaged in promoting energy efficiency in various sectors of the economy. It helps the government in proposing policies and strategies aimed at reducing India's dependency on oil, in order to save money, reduce the environmental impact of oil use and also conserve fossil fuel.

Environmentally sustainable design is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of ecological sustainability.

David Zilberman (economist) economist

David Zilberman is an Israeli-American economist, professor and Robinson Chair in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Zilberman has been a professor in the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department at UC Berkeley since 1979. His research has covered a range of fields including the economics of production technology and risk in agriculture, agricultural and environmental policy, marketing and more recently the economics of climate change, biofuel and biotechnology. He won the 2019 Wolf Prize in Agriculture, was the President of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA), and is a Fellow of the AAEA and Association of Environmental and Resource Economics. David is an avid blogger on the Berkeley Blog and a life-long Golden State Warriors fan.

Residential water use in the U.S. and Canada

Residential water use includes all indoor and outdoor uses of drinking quality water at single-family and multifamily dwellings. These uses include a number of defined purposes such as flushing toilets, washing clothes and dishes, showering and bathing, drinking, food preparation, watering lawns and gardens, and maintaining swimming pools. Some of these end uses are detectable while others are more difficult to gauge.


  1. 1 2 Vickers, Amy. “Water Use and Conservation.” Amherst, MA Waterplow Press. June 2002. 434
  2. Waterwise
  3. https://sftool.gov/learn/about/45/water-efficiency
  4. The 2nd UN World Water Development Report: ‘Water, a shared responsibility’
  5. 1 2 WWC
  7. UNESCO Water
  8. Chinese Business Review: Water
  9. Water Preservation in Rural India http://iharnews.com/index.php/government/231-haryana-rural-water-policy-2012
  10. Water Efficiency Journal
  11. Water Efficient Solutions Journal
  12. Water Energy and Environment
  13. Savewater!
  14. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Washington, D.C. "Using Water Efficiently: Ideas for Communities." March 28, 2008.
  15. 1 2 Sexton, Ken & Linder, Stephen H. (2010). The Role of Cumulative risk Assessment in Decisions about Environmental Justice. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 4037-4049
  16. House, J., Lantz, Paula M., Mero, R., Mohai, P., & Morenoff, J. (2009). Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities in Residential Proximity to Polluting Industrial Facilities: Evidence from the Americans' Changing Lives Study. American Journal of Public Health | Supplement 3, 2009, Vol 99, No. S3
  17. Annu. Rev. Environ. Resourc. 2009.34:405-430. Downloaded from www.annualreviews.org by University of California - Berkeley on 12/11/11
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Smajgl, A., Morris, S., & Heckbert, S. (2008). Water policy impact assessment - combining modelling techniques in the great barrier reef region. Water Policy, 11(2), 191-202.
  19. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Australian Government.(2003). Reef Plan: For catchments adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Behnampour, L. C. (2011). "Reforming a Western Institution: How Expending the Productivity of Water Rights Could Lessen Our Water Woes." Environmental Law (Portland), 41(1), 201-232.
  21. 1 2 3 4 http://www.oregon.gov/oha/oei/Pages/cultural-competency.aspx
  22. 1 2 3 4 Muyibi, S. A., Ambali, A. R., & Eissa, G. S. (2008). Development-induced water pollution in Malaysia: Policy implications from an econometric analysis. Water Policy, 10(2), 193-206
  23. Bernardo, D. J., Mapp, H. P., Sabbagh, G. J., Geleta, S., Watkins, K. B., Elliott, R. L., & Stone, J. F. (1993). Economic and environmental impacts of water quality protection policies. 1. framework for regional analysis. Water Resources Research, 29(9), 3069-3080.
  24. 1 2 3 http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/ab776e/ab776e02.htm
  25. 1 2 https://www.wholecommunities.org/pdf/WTJ4text%20and%20cover.pdf