Water Efficiency Makes a Difference

Water efficiency has been a focus category in LEED since its introduction in 2000. More specifically, LEED has advocated for reduction in potable water use in the operation of buildings and the maintenance of building landscape. With the introduction of LEED V4 the rating system has increased its emphasis on indoor water use efficiency.

A new report from the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that water efficiency efforts are having an impact. Water use for the U.S. in 2010 was 13% less than in 2005. Public water supply withdrawals dropped 5% during this period while U.S. population rose by 4%. This may seem like a drop in the bucket, but the trend is significant. Nationally, supplies of safe drinking water are dwindling while population increases. Climate change is affecting fresh water supplies in many regions of the country, and we continue to degrade our water resources through industrial pollution, agricultural run-off and poor land management practices. Globally, water scarcity is a real and present danger causing geo-political change. So it is heartening to see that the efforts of the green building community and advocacy organizations such as the Alliance for Water Efficiency are having a positive impact.

In the midst of a painful national debate that argues that “lives matter” let’s not forget that the environmental community has argued for the past 50+ years that “quality of life matters”. If access to safe drinking water is a right, then we must work to ensure that water resources are protected and used responsibly. The USGS report validates the efforts of citizens and industry alike to use water resources more responsibly. The good news is that water efficiency makes a difference.

For more information about the report click Here. A good source for current news and information about water issues can be found on the Twitter feed of author and water strategist; Will Sarni, @WillSarni.

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