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Rivers Need Water. Reduce Your Use.

August 01, 2023

Water conservation has been a focus for the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District for years.  Rising temperatures, lower snowpacks, population growth, and development continue to impact our vital water resources. And these impacts will only continue to increase. Therefore, the District has made water conservation a top priority.  

In spring of this year, the Water Conservation Program was created. Dedicated staff and multiple departments are working to educate customers on reducing their outdoor water use. With an overall District goal to reduce outdoor water use by 5% in the Eagle River Valley by 2026, the program is using multiple methods to achieve this. We are working with HOA’s, businesses, metro districts, towns and individuals to lessen their water use and make permanent changes that will have a positive impact.  

Only ~20% of water used outdoors goes directly back to the river. Whereas 95% of water used indoors goes through one of our treatment facilities and directly back to the Eagle River. While it’s important for us to conserve water both indoors and out, our focus is on getting people to use less outside. A lot of the water used outdoors is on non-native, water intensive landscaping like Kentucky Bluegrass. Maintaining non-native lawns in our climate also requires huge amounts of fertilizers, chemicals, and fossil fuels for gas powered mowers. Reducing the amount of lawn we maintain saves water, money, and reduces contaminants in our environment and waterways. 

We need a culture shift. It’s time to move away from the large, green, water intensive, biological “desert” that is a non-native lawn to native, low-water, drought tolerant landscaping. There is a place for small areas of lawn if you have children or pets or just love a bit of lawn. But take a hard look at your yard and ask yourself what areas you use. Most likely, there are spaces that never get touched other than when they get mowed. Maybe it’s time to transform those non-functional spaces into a landscape that is less water intensive, easier to maintain, provides pollinator habitat, is much more appealing to look at, and is better for our rivers, wildlife, and pets.  

ERWSD is here to help. Through outreach and education, we are connecting with customers to provide information and resources to help our community take steps toward change. Our Reduce Your Use Rebate Program is helping remove some of the barriers in making these changes. Our newly created Water Conservation Team will be assisting customers in understanding their water use and how to reduce it. And as water rates continue to go up, reducing your outdoor use will keep your bills lower.  

Your actions now, impact the future. Our vital water resources are being stressed by ongoing drought and increased use. We must all do our part to protect and conserve water. Transforming your water intensive landscaping into something more appropriate for the local environment is a great step in doing so.  

Click here to learn more about our rebate program and outdoor water efficiency.