Home > News Bytes > In Honor of Drinking Water Week: The Importance of Water Conservation
In Honor of Drinking Water Week: The Importance of Water Conservation
Drinking Water Week: May 5-11, 2013

More than 30 years ago, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and its members started Drinking Water Week, held annually during the first full week in May. Over the years, it has grown into an event celebrated across the United States and Canada, with the primary focus being to join together water professionals and the communities they serve in recognizing the vital role water plays in our daily lives.

The Importance of Water Conservation

Water is a finite resource. What water there is on the planet today is all the water there ever was and ever will be. The water cycle allows water to move on, above, or below the surface of the Earth in various forms (liquid, vapor, ice). Of all the water on the planet, over 96% is saline, located in our oceans, bays, and seas. That does not leave much freshwater for us to drink! Learn more about how much water there is on Earth.

Over 15 million people rely on the waters of the Delaware River Basin, which is about 1 in every 20 Americans! Over recent years, per capita and total water use in the Delaware River Basin has decreased, meaning we are using water more efficiently. This is good news and highlights the success of water conservation efforts of water resource managers and individuals.

Water conservation is an integral component of DRBC's strategy to manage the water resources of the basin and is based on the principle that it is important to conserve water at all times, not just during a drought. The commission's water conservation program, recognized both nationally and internationally, has resulted in significant cost savings, environmental protection, and improved drought preparedness. Over the years, DRBC has adopted regulations that:

  • require water withdrawal projects subject to DRBC review to include and describe water-conserving practices and technology designed to minimize water use by municipal, industrial, and agricultural users.
  • require metering, recording, and reporting of all water withdrawals in excess of 100,000 gallons per day (gpd).
  • establish water-conserving standards for toilets, urinals, faucets, and showerheads that are installed during new construction and renovations.
  • require water companies seeking DRBC approval for new or expanded withdrawals in excess of one million gallons per day to submit water conservation plans including the feasibility of implementing a pricing structure that encourages savings.
  • require water purveyors subject to DRBC review to implement an updated water audit approach to identify and control water loss within their systems. Learn more.

During times of drought, water conservation is of utmost importance. The commission's drought operating plan, adopted in the early 1980s, marked the first successful attempt in this country to govern a river basin's surface water supply, both public and private, under one set of rules. The plan coordinates interstate reservoir operations during DRBC-declared drought actions, while balancing cutbacks in out-of-basin diversions and river flow objectives against conservation releases for water supply, recreational, and fishery benefits.

Conserving water is important every day, helping ensure that there is a sustainable water supply for today's needs (no matter what Mother Nature brings), as well as for future generations.