Saving and Building: How Conservation and Efficiency Shape Our Approach to Water - Fort Collins - Loveland Water District

At Fort Collins – Loveland Water District, we’re committed to providing our customers in Northern Colorado with sustainable, high-quality, secure, reliable and cost-effective water. But that doesn’t mean conservation and efficiency aren’t a part of our equation.

Whether you’re a new District customer or you’ve been a part of our community for decades, developing a conservation mindset for your home or business can help support sustainability initiatives that protect our local water supply. But what is the District doing to spearhead these efforts?

Let’s explore our approach to conservation and efficiency in more detail—and highlight the available programs and resources that can help customers save water and money.

Conservation: A Key Part of Our Water Equation

While it may be a renewable resource, water is still finite: it takes time, resources and money to secure, treat and transport water from our sources to homes and businesses in the District.

So, to fulfill one of our key missions (maintaining a reliable water supply for customers), our team is focused on conservation as one element of building a sustainable water supply.. To lay the groundwork for conservation, we invest in a number of initiatives that support efficient water use: efforts that limit waste and help preserve our water supply for beneficial use.

The District is committed to conservation because it supports our promise of reliability. But why should customers care about conserving water? Although it’s a personal choice, there are two key elements of conversation to consider:

  1. Supporting sustainability – Living a sustainable lifestyle is a priority for many Coloradoans, and at-home conservation efforts can support goals ranging from reducing carbon footprints to protecting natural spaces. Limiting your water use is just one of many tactics that can contribute to living a greener lifestyle.
  2. Saving on your water bill – Since District customers are billed based on the volume of water they use, conserving is a simple way to reduce your living costs: the less water you use, the less you’ll spend on your water bill. This is a direct financial benefit to the customer based on their choices to conserve water.

Why Doesn’t the District Offer Rebates to Customers Who Conserve?

If you’ve lived outside of our District in the past, your previous water provider may have offered an incentive for conservation efforts: many providers do this to encourage intentional, wise water use.

So, why doesn’t our District offer large rebates for turf replacement or financial incentive programs to customers who prioritize conservation? It’s because it’s not the most efficient use of our budget. In fact, we’ve found that other efforts more positively support our mission, so we choose to invest in those instead:

  • Education – Through facilitating individual customer water-wise choices and sharing educational resources, we can encourage Northern Coloradoans to adopt a conservation mindset.
  • Securing water resources – Securing raw water sources is a key part of our mission. At the end of the day, we’re responsible for providing our customers with water whether they use a lot or a little, so we devote substantial resources to acquisition efforts.
  • Maintaining and updating infrastructure – This is just one way that we ensure efficiency, a building block of our conservation approach. By keeping our lines running smoothly and upgrading our technologies to support higher efficiency over time, we can help our community meet their water needs with as low an environmental impact as possible.

It’s also important to note that if we invest in offering rebates and savings for a few it comes from increased rates for all customers. Offering rebates is not free and when we spend money on incentives and rebates it takes funds away from other efforts with greater impact that are critical to the District’s operation and ability to fulfill our mission. Which in turn means we need additional revenue to fund those efforts, which would be generated through increased rates. By not offering incentives and rebates, we’re able to keep your monthly rate cost-effective, ultimately saving you money in the long-term and providing an equitable distribution of cost to all customers based on their specific usage.

Our Efficiency Initiatives

Speaking of efficiency, let’s zoom in on the District’s efforts to optimize our systems and lay the groundwork for sustainable water use. You can find an in-depth description of all of our initiatives in our complete Water Efficiency Plan, but to keep things simple and easy to understand, we’ve broken down just a few of the ways we maintain an efficient water system:

  • Metering – The District uses Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) to collect real-time, in-depth data that helps us bill customers accurately and optimize labor to keep costs down.
  • System water loss management and control – We also use AMI and other technologies to detect leaks and other vulnerabilities in our overall system. Once a leak is detected on our portion of the system, repairing it becomes our highest priority in order to limit water loss as much as possible. We also encourage customers to find and repair their leaks as soon as they can for their own savings on excess water use through their meter.
  • Conservation taps – Outdoor irrigation is often the largest water usage for a property, so we offer conservation taps for new developments when there is a non-potable water source for outdoor irrigation needs. This means we can focus on supplying potable water, which costs more than non-potable water, for necessary health and sanitation purposes instead of discretionary outdoor irrigation.

It’s important to remember that while conservation and efficiency play a critical role in solving local water challenges, it’s simply not enough, which is why our approach is multi-faceted and includes a variety of approaches, such as acquiring new water sources.

Programs That Can Help You Save

While we don’t offer mass rebates for customers, our team has carefully vetted a few select conservation programs that are cost-efficient for the District and can help customers save water and money:

  • Garden in a Box – The Garden in a Box kits (provided by Resource Central) make it easy to create a Colorado-friendly landscape in your very own yard. By developing a low-water plant oasis, you can limit your overall irrigation costs over time. Plus, you’ll get a $25 bill credit if you purchase one by October 31, 2024.
  • Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller – A Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller can help you customize your home irrigation plan to use less water. How? This smart watering system uses real-time lawn data and conservation-informed approaches to choose where and when to water.
  • Free sprinkler checkups – Did you know 30-70% of your summertime water bill comes from watering your lawn? This year, we’re partnering with Resource Central for Slow the Flow sprinkler evaluations to teach you how to optimize your system and reduce water.

Plus, customers have ample opportunities to learn more about water conservation and other resource topics. Just check out our full list of educational resources on our full conservation page.

Customer Feedback Requested: Conservation Round-Up Program

The District is also exploring a new “round-up program” for conservation efforts. In the program, customers would have the option to round-up their monthly bill in support of conservation. These round-ups would then be placed in a fund dedicated to funding conservation efforts such as rebates, grants and more. While we are in the exploration phase of this program, we’d like to solicit our customer’s feedback through a brief one-question poll.

Fort Collins – Loveland Water District: Ensuring Secure and Reliable Water for the Northern Colorado Community

Our District has created and maintained numerous initiatives to support water conservation in our service area within the Northern Colorado community—many of which can help our customers support sustainable water use and save on their water bills.

At the end of the day, our focus on efficiency and conservation helps us fulfill our mission to deliver high-quality, secure, reliable and affordable water. But we can’t do this alone: our customers’ commitments to sensible and conservative water use help us further our mission and protect this valuable resource.

Learn more about our programs and start participating today!

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