Water Conservation and Efficiency


Although traditional water planning has brought tremendous benefits, it has also wrought unanticipated social, economic and environmental costs. The failure of the traditional water‐supply planning process is slowly leading to new discussions and new ideas. Increasingly, water managers are realizing the importance of managing the other side of the supply equation – demand. Demand management, or conservation and efficiency, refers to the implementation of technologies, practices and policies that reduce water use ‘without compromising service’. Although progress has been made in recent years, studies indicate that the potential for reducing water waste remains large.

Keywords: demand management; water conservation; water‐use efficiency; consumptive water use; water management

Figure 1.

Per‐capita water withdrawals in the United States between 1900 and 2000. From Gleick (). Reproduced with permission of Annual Reviews.

Figure 2.

Total water withdrawals in the United States and gross national product. From Gleick ().



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Further Reading

Gleick PH (2000) The changing water paradigm: a look at twenty‐first century water resources development. Water International 25(1): 127–138.

Gleick PH, Cooley H and Groves D (2005) California Water 2030: An Efficient Future. Oakland, CA: Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security.

Vickers A (2001) Handbook of Water Use and Conservation. Amherst, MA: WaterPlow Press.

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Cooley, Heather, and Gleick, Peter H(Sep 2007) Water Conservation and Efficiency. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0003296]