Indoor Water Use
1. Establish high-efficiency low-flow indoor fixture requirements for new development
Although reducing indoor water in new development will not significantly reduce peak summer water demand in the short-term, it adds up over the long-term if significant growth is projected. Installation of ultra-efficient plumbing fixtures and low-water use landscapes, during the construction phase, is a cost-effective way to achieve water savings in commercial and residential developments. Establishing high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, including toilets, clothes washers, dishwashers, showerheads, and bathroom faucets to be installed in new development is a lower implementation cost means to improve indoor water use efficiency in the community. It is envisioned that the District’s new regulations would reference the USEPA Water Sense Program product listings, and/or similar sources for approved fixtures/devices and be incorporated into the TOSV’s Municipal Code.
Board Review: The District Rules and Regulations currently express a policy (Section 3.2.4) that new customers and replacement installations shall install water reducing fittings and fixtures in those plans. The District will review these existing policies against the literature regarding industry conservation standards to determine if the existing policies should be modified. The policies will be administered directly thorough the District rather than through the town code.
2. Replace non low-flow fixtures
The District intends to achieve replacement of inefficient fixtures either through attrition or through targeted replacement as funding allows. Installing low-flow fixtures in public restrooms, especially those with high public visitation like …, set a standard for customers. Remodels of bathrooms, kitchens and washrooms or the replacement of landscaping would require the customer to upgrade fixtures and irrigation to the new standard.
Board Review: The current District Rules quoted above require replacement of existing fixtures to meet low-water use criteria; these policies will be continued for remodels or additions and will be administered directly through the District. The District currently has insufficient resources to fund a program of District-sponsored fixture replacement.
Outdoor Water Use
3. Update and enforce the ‘water waste’ ordinance
The District should rewrite and enforce an ordinance that prohibits the "wasting" of water. The ordinance would define specific actions that qualify as violations subject to issuance of warnings, fines, and/or water service termination. The program goal is to emphasize the value of water to the community as well as to reduce demands, especially peak demand. Since outdoor water use is not only the most visible and easily policed, it also contributes the most to peak day demand, and should be a primary focus of the ordinance. Drought conditions can disrupt a utility’s financial plans, and may require surcharges, rationing or other measures to ensure adequate revenue for the system. Surcharges are imposed generally to fund a certain need, and are in effect for a defined period of time.
Board Review: District staff will review the available literature to prepare a best-practices water waste ordinance that would include an enforceable provision to fine violators.
4. Rebates for smart irrigation controllers/rain sensors and/or irrigation audits
Developing and implementing a rebate program for smart irrigation controllers will be pursued, primarily as a means to reduce peak summer demand in existing developments. It also will provide homeowners interested in lowering their water bills with additional means and incentive to do that.
Board Review: District Rules will be revised to require that new irrigation installations and the replacement of existing installations will install smart controllers with rain sensors. District staff will review the available literature to determine if there should be a reasonable rebate for such smart controllers and sensors, if any, and whether there is an industry standard to have such installations to be designed and installed by designers and contractors certified in such water-conserving installations.
5. Promote the replacement of conventional landscape with xeriscape
Promote the replacement of conventional landscapes (primarily turf) with xeriscape and work with the TOSV to promote xeriscape projects on town owned property.
Board Review: The District will make xeriscape educational information available to new customers, those customers considering replacement of existing landscape and contractors involved with such installations.
6. Plan/design/install water-efficient landscapes
This measure would require that any new City or District-owned landscapes be designed and installed to meet established xeriscape guidelines.
Board Review: At this time, it would not be appropriate to require new City or District landscapes to be designed to meet xeriscape design standards.
7. Establish landscaping and irrigation system design requirements for new development
With the projected growth in Snowmass Village, new irrigated landscapes represent a significant source of future peak water use. Adopting and enforcing design requirements for irrigation systems and landscape design/installation practices has the potential to significantly reduce outdoor water use in an arid climate.
Board Review: District staff will review the available literature to determine appropriate design and installation standards for landscaping and irrigation in our unique high mountain environment. The Board will consider whether sufficient resources are available to allow District review of new landscape plans in the future.
8. Restrict water features/fountains
While this measure isn’t expected to save a significant amount of water, the operation of decorative water features/fountains should be restricted during certain hours. System Development Fees should be charged for water features based on volume calculations.
Board Review: District Rules will be modified to specify the amount of time in each day that a water feature can operate.
Customer Oriented Programs
9. Provide free audits for top ten water users based on water consumed/EQR
An effective way to reduce existing water consumption is to improve the efficiency of the highest water users. Auditing the highest users so that site-specific recommendations can be made to lower water use is a cost-effective measure. Audits would be performed twice a year.
Board Review: The District will institute a training program that will equip employees to perform these audits twice each year.
10. Spearhead the creation of a District Water Conservation Taskforce
Water conservation programs must have community and stakeholder support to be successful. Even though this program has no quantifiable water savings, it is a critical element. This effort would entail creating a group of business owners, residents, District staff, large water users, industry professionals and others to make ongoing recommendations to the District Board on how to pursue the measures and programs outlined in this plan.
Board Review: Given the character of the community, at present the District will not create a taskforce but will focus its water conservation outreach on making educational information available to the general public as described in Number 5 above.
11. Modify water rates to promote water conservation
The Board will annually review and consider modification of the tiered water rate structure to promote water conservation.
Board Review: For many years, the District has used a tiered rate structure to promote water conservation. This program will be continued and the tiered rates will be reviewed periodically to determine if modifications are indicated to further promote water conservation.
12. Promote reuse water systems.
Street cleaning, construction water, golf course irrigation, town park watering, snowmaking.
Board Review: The District will phase in a water reuse program beginning with street cleaning and construction water. Water trucks would be filled at the WWTP. The raw water line is already installed from the Filter Building to the corner of the new garage. In the future, the District can consider providing reuse water to the golf course and to the new park located on Brush Creek.
13. Promote the use of non-potable supplies for irrigation
A cooperative program with SWSD, Aspen Ski Company/SCA and the TOSV to develop a raw water distribution system to primarily serve the lower portion of the ski area and along the Brush Creek corridor.
Board Review: There are only limited opportunities to install non-potable irrigation systems. District staff is in discussion with Aspen Ski Company to install a limited irrigation system on the lower portion of the ski area.
In-House Programs/System Improvements
Sound water loss management is the single most fundamental and important measure that the District can implement.
There are two categories of losses:
1) Real losses - losses from the distribution system through leaking pipes and leakage from reservoirs and tanks.
2) Apparent losses – inaccuracies in customer metering, data accounting errors, billing errors, accounting for unbilled consumption - including authorized treatment plant “process water” and identifying and accounting for unauthorized water use – "theft" of water.
14. Leak Detection Program.
Continue with existing aggressive distribution system leak detection and repair program with an annual goal to test 50% of the 45 miles of distribution system each year for the next 2 years. Every year thereafter, the District Field Crew will test 25-33% of the distribution system as part of the annual maintenance program.
Board Review: The District currently has in place a leak detection program. This aggressive program will be continued and target the annual inspection and repair goals as proposed here.
15. Improve system-wide distribution system accounting.
This program would include the installation of mag meters in District PRV vaults to measure the water transferred from one zone to another. The long-term success of a water conservation program hinges upon the ability to measure and track progress. By developing historical water use trending patterns for the various pressure zones the District will be able to better track system loss.
Board Review: The District will move forward with the installation of mag meters in the PRV vaults to help detect problems with the distribution system and to develop historical usage patterns for each zone.
16. Improve Utility Billing System Software
Produce quarterly water production/metering reports that compare:
1) water produced at WTP to total water delivered and water metered;
2) water metered and totalized for each customer class;
3) water metered at zone PRV’s to water delivered to customers within the zone;
4) current quarterly individual account usage to previous year’s quarterly usage. This comparison report would be available to customers online and/or on their quarterly statement.
Board Review: The District is currently working to implement a program to measure and compare the amount of water produced against the amount of water delivered to each customer class, as well as individual account usage history.
17. Provide conservation tips on water bills or newsletters
The District’s billing system allows for the inclusion of short water conservation tips. The District would also like to include historical use information specific to the customer, however it is still unknown whether or not that the District’s system has that capability. The two types of educational messages are powerful when presented with the invoice and implementation has a favorable benefit/cost ratio.
Board Review: The District is currently investigating the possibility of expanding the billing system to include historic water usage information.
18. Water-efficient landscape and irrigation system brochures
The purchase of brochures to provide interested consumers with more information about outdoor water use efficiency measures will be pursued. The information will be placed at local retail suppliers of landscaping and irrigation products. This will provide interested citizens with more tools to help them reduce peak summer water use and associated water bills.
Board Review: The District will pursue the distribution of brochures to educate customers on the efficient use of outdoor water.
19. Modify the District’s existing website to include water conservation tips
No community outreach campaign can be complete without a website to explain and help implement a water conservation plan. The District intends to add a water conservation plan webpage to its water utility’s website with useful information and links targeted at District customers.
Board Review: The District will modify its existing website to include a new section devoted to encouraging water conservation, including links to other information sources.
20. Conduct an annual water conservation workshop
The District will hold an annual efficient irrigation and xeric landscaping workshop that will provide interested citizens with information to help them reduce peak summer water use and avoid the highest water rate tiers. The event(s) will also showcase low-water use demonstration areas.
Board Review: At this time, the nature of the community indicates that this would not be a well-attended event.
21. Develop Water Conservation BMP’s for WTP and WWTP.
Board Review: The WTP and WWTP are in compliance with applicable operating criteria. Consideration of additional BMP's is not indicated at this time.