20. WATER CONSERVATION COORDINATOR
In the Ipswich River watershed, water conservation is of paramount importance because of the extreme flow stress experienced by the Ipswich River and its tributary streams. All public water suppliers that withdraw from the Ipswich River should employ a water conservation coordinator to spearhead a comprehensive water conservation program. The coordinator can help to achieve meaningful reductions in municipal water use, including both residential and commercial water consumption. Because the coordinator’s sole focus is water conservation, he or she can systematically plan and implement a long-term water conservation strategy with clearly defined goals and targets. Typical duties may include: setting water conservation goals, identifying conservation incentives, analyzing costs and benefits, responding to public inquiries, creating public outreach campaigns, and coordinating with state government agencies. While larger utilities usually hire at least one full-time coordinator, smaller utilities may wish to hire a part-time coordinator or share a single coordinator among several communities.
Funding a staff position dedicated to water conservation can be a challenge. Water banking and full-cost accounting – rate-setting that accounts for ecological degradation and future infrastructure needs – can provide a sustainable revenue stream to pay for water conservation programs.
Several Massachusetts communities employ a water conservation coordinator. In Massachusetts, communities with leading water conservation programs include Acton, Concord, Easton, and Westford. In the Ipswich River watershed, the only community with a dedicated water conservation coordinator is Danvers. The part-time coordinator focuses on community outreach and education, and divides her time between water and energy conservation. The position is presently funded through the town’s Electric Department. The town of Reading has a wide-ranging water conservation program, but does not presently employ a dedicated staff person to coordinate the effort.
Danvers’ water conservation coordinator employs a variety of strategies to publicize water conservation opportunities to town residents. Information is posted on the water department website, inserts are included in the local newspaper, and fliers and brochures are placed in high-traffic locations, such as the town hall and senior center. The coordinator has also made extensive use of local access television, including public service announcements and live phone-in shows, to highlight conservation opportunities and answer questions. Finally, water conservation information has been included in residents’ water bills, either printed directly on the bills or in the form of an insert.
Acton Water Conservation Program (html).
Danvers Water Division (html)
Water Wise Communities: Index
- Introduction & Using the Handbook
- How Development Affects Water (link to IRWA site)
- Checklist: Is Your Community Water Wise?
- Water Wise Tools:
- Master plan for smart growth
- Integrated water resources management plan
- Comprehensive open space plan
- Water use restriction bylaw
- Outdoor water use bylaw
- Private well bylaw
- Stormwater management program and bylaws
- Open space residential design bylaw
- Source water protection program and bylaw
- Non-zoning wetlands bylaw
- Conservation water rate structure
- Water bank or offset program
- Stormwater fee or utility
- Rebate program
- Dedicated funding source for land acquisition
- Water audits and leak detection
- LID demonstration projects on municipal property
- Habitat restoration on municipal property
- Outreach program
- Water conservation coordinator