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The Case for Water Efficiency (2012)

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This position paper describes the role of water efficiency in urban water use in Australia and identifies emerging issues. Designated for decision-makers and policy developers, it presents the case for consideration of water efficient policies and practices. Whilst reference is made to operational efficiency including leakage control and water management policies and practices, it is directed primarily at water efficiency at the point of use.

Scope

This position paper describes the role of water efficiency in urban water use in Australia and identifies emerging issues. It is written for those with responsibility for developing policy and making decisions on how water is delivered, used and managed and for those with an interest in such matters.

Water services in the 21st century will differ in fundamental ways from the systems that preceded them, and which were directed almost exclusively at protecting community health. In this century, water supply provision will not just provide healthful water and treatment of wastewater. It will: be better integrated with other urban services; deliver better asset maintenance strategies; include alternative supply options; explicitly consider the environmental, energy and other costs associated with water supply and wastewater management; and focus on provision of an integrated service offering to customers. Advanced water efficiency will be an integral component of such an offering.

It is within this context that this paper presents the case for consideration of water efficient policies and practices. Whilst reference is made to operational efficiency – including leakage control and water management policies and practices that lead to better integration of water supplies within the urban environment – it is directed primarily at water efficiency at the point of use.