Province of British Columbia unveils web-based Water Conservation Calculator at CWWA National Conference in Victoria (October 2009)
Web Tool is in Beta Testing
The 3rd Canadian National Conference & Policy Forum on Water Efficiency and Conservation was held in Victoria, British Columbia in October 2009. This event provided the BC Ministry of Community & Rural Development with the opportunity to unveil its web-based Water Conservation Calculator before a national audience. The CWWA presentation was made by Lisa Wright, an Infrastructure Resource Officer with the Ministry.
“The web-based Water Conservation Calculator has now been launched in its first BETA testing live release. The tool will continue to be under validation testing until its final live release,” states Lisa Wright.
A preliminary version of the Water Conservation Calculator was showcased at the Penticton Forum in April 2009.
A Tool for Small Communities
“The freeware Water Conservation Calculator is an on-line user-friendly tool geared for water purveyors of smaller communities. Smaller communities often cannot allocate resources to traditional infrastructure projects or cannot budget for the development of professional water conservation/efficiency plans.”
“Its purpose is to illustrate how specific conservation measures yield both fiscal and physical water consumption savings. Water purveyors can use the tool to assist in presenting their conservation case to council and other decision makers.”
The Need it Serves
According to Lisa Wright, the key pieces of functionality that it will provide are:
- collecting and recording community water system data;
- preparing useful information about the current state of the water system and future demands;
- comparison of conservation demand management and supply-side upgrade options;
- assistance in more accurately targeting conservation efforts, thereby increasing the cost effectiveness of conservation campaigns;
- offering finance planning for conservation demand management and supply-side upgrades;
- assistance in decision making around new infrastructure (can illustrate the possibility of capital deferment); and
- presenting charting and a printable PDF report based on data inputs, outputs, and benchmark values.
“Water conservation should be seen as alternative or supplemental to planned infrastructure projects. In essence, conservation is a resource in its own right. It provides safe, clean, water sooner, that is less costly, and less impactful on the environment than traditional source development or upgrade projects.”
“A properly designed conservation program has the ability to extend the life of infrastructure, reduce repair, treatment and power costs, reduce power expenses, and defer or eliminate the need for major capital costs. Use of the Water Conservation Calculator may become a Ministry requirement as part of the infrastructure grant application process,” concludes Liam Edwards, A/Director, Infrastructure and Engineering.
A Look Beyond
The Water Conservation Calculator, the Landscape Irrigation Scheduling Calculator, the Agriculture Irrigation Scheduling Calculator, and the Water Balance Model are all based on the same web-interface platform.
The vision of the Inter-Governmental Partnership that developed the Water Balance Model is that one day it will be integrated with the Water Conservation Calculator. This would then provide local governments with a web-based, public domain tool that would link the water use and rainwater runoff sides of the water balance equation to land use.
About the Conference & Policy Forum
According to Glen Pleasance, Technical Progam Chair, “The Conference provided a unique national perspective on water efficiency and conservation programs, issues and initiatives – focussing on all aspects of municipal efficiency programs from technology, to best management practices, to policy and education programs. Normally these issues are addressed piecemeal, or on a regional basis – this event provided a national Canadian perspective.”