Aspen’s water usage dropping
December 30, 2009
The Denver Post’s Dec. 21 article regarding community water usage contained incorrect information for Pitkin County – namely Aspen. Contrary to the article, Aspen has been decreasing water consumption despite rising users and increased demand for water for snowmaking.
The inaccurate story cited a draft report, which overstated consumption figures for Pitkin County municipalities. The state agency that authored the report is taking steps to correct the faulty information.
In reality, the city of Aspen has been working for the past four decades to reduce water usage, and we’ve succeeded in that goal. Over that time period, water usage has decreased in absolute terms from a little less than 0.9 billion gallons per year to around 0.85 billion gallons, despite a three-fold increase in the number of water-using fixtures connected to the system and despite the fact that the use of the potable water system has been expanded to include water for snowmaking.
On the basis of the amount of water consumed for each connection, Aspen has experienced more than a 75 percent reduction since 1994. We measure unit consumption based on gallons per “Equivalent Capacity Unit,” or ECU (a fixture count equivalent to a two-bedroom, one-bath home). From 1994 to the present, water use per ECU connected to the system has dropped from 516 gallons per day to 127 gallons per day.
These dramatic reductions in water usage are a result of water management policies that foster better stewardship of our limited water supplies. More than 15 specific measures, ranging from leak detection programs to a system of inverted block rates, contributed to Aspen’s reduction in water use.
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The annual performance reviews of Aspen water personnel is dependent upon the continued success in reducing water usage, and each of our employees takes pride in their contribution to these results. Aspen is indeed serious about water conservation.
utilities and environmental initiatives director
city of Aspen