Examples Database: Water Conservation Solutions for Cities

By Tria, Anne M. | Nation's Cities Weekly, August 16, 1999 | Go to article overview

Examples Database: Water Conservation Solutions for Cities


Tria, Anne M., Nation's Cities Weekly


Droughts cause between $6 and $8 billion in damages across the United States per year. Unlike other natural disasters, the prolonged onset of droughts can provide municipalities with more time to conserve water supplies and implement innovative programs to cut down on wasteful water usage. These program descriptions, selected from the Examples of Programs for Cities Database, illustrate what a few local governments have done when their cities and counties faced persistent periods of dryness.

Incentives to Save Water

Las Vegas, Nevada

Population: 258, 295

Program Name: Conservation Awareness Patrolman (CAP)

Address: City of Las Vegas, 400 East Stuart Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Contact: City Hall, (702) 229-6501

Las Vegas's Conservation Awareness Patrolman (CAP) program uses hands-on education and incentive-based ideas to encourage voluntary water conservation. Instead of ticketing residents for a broken sprinkler or water timer, CAP helps residents fix the problem. CAP officers patrol the streets, gently informing violators of a local ordinance prohibiting outdoor water use between noon and seven p.m., offering advice on how to control water usage, and informing new residents of programs designed to offer cash to those willing to replace conventional lawn turf with water-saving shrubs that highlight local identity. The CAP program hosts a 2.5 acre demonstration garden, which residents may visit to see alternative possibilities. As a result, CAP promotes local culture as well as conservation efforts.

Source: Las Vegas water cops help the `misinformed.' by Daniel B. Wood, Christian Science Monitor, June 24, 1999, Boston, MA: Christian Science Publishing Society.

Hotline Informs Residents

Montgomery County, Maryland

Program: Water Conservation Hotline

Address: Montgomery County, Volunteer and Community Service Center, 401 Hungerford Drive, Floor One, Rockville, MD 20850

Contact: Water Conservation Hotline, (240) 777-2600

The Montgomery County Volunteer and Community Service Center established a water conservation hotline in response to Maryland state restrictions on water usage during the 1999 summer drought. The County provides the hotline number to prevent residents from flooding 911 centers with inappropriate calls. Volunteers and staff members answer questions about the emergency water restrictions and handle complaints from witnesses to alleged violations. Workers call alleged violators and gently remind them of the water restrictions. …

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