Municipal water demand in the West, according to Gary Woodard of Montgomery and Associates in Tucson, has become decoupled from population growth. Here’s a teaser from a talk he’s giving next month in Tucson:
The talk, entitled “The surprising slide in domestic demand: Be careful what you wish for,” focuses on the declines in municipal water demand in the Southwest, which have occurred over the past 30 years for both indoor and outdoor uses. Because this declining trend has often exceeded population growth, utilities are now delivering less water to more people. Woodard will discuss the factors that have profoundly affected demand — higher efficiency standards for appliances and fixtures, the declining appeal of turf and pools, the growing interest in sustainability, and shifting household demographics. He will also discuss the consequences of this trend and their implications for those who were planning for growing — not declining — demands.
Whatever the reasons, water use in metro Denver has dipped to 40-year lows.
The total amount residents used in December decreased to 3.19 billion gallons, and in January to 3.36 billion gallons — down from previous winter highs topping 4 billion gallons, utility officials said.
The last time December use dropped this low was in 1973 when Denver had 350,000 fewer people.