Why Conservation in a Great Lakes State?
Wisconsin is generally blessed with abundant rainfall, plentiful surface waters, and vast groundwater resources. However, depending on the location, water may not always be available in the quantity or quality that is needed for human uses. Many Wisconsin communities face serious water supply challenges caused by declining groundwater supplies, water quality issues, and aging utility infrastructure. Changing demand patterns associated with dynamic economic and development factors can create revenue stability issues. The number of communities facing these challenges is expected to grow in the coming years.
Utility managers have many options for using conservation and efficiency to address utility challenges and achieve local objectives. These options fall into three general categories:
- reducing customer demand (demand management programs),
- managing water loss, and
- adopting conservation-oriented rate structures.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) works with Wisconsin water utilities to incorporate water conservation and efficiency measures into water supply planning and to promote customers' efficient and sustainable use of water with the ultimate goal of ensuring natural resource and revenue stability.
These conservation and efficiency planning efforts can:
- reduce wasteful consumption,
- avoid or delay the need to invest in expensive drinking water and wastewater capacity,
- and reduce the costs of chemicals and energy used to pump, treat, and distribute water.
In the long term, conservation and efficiency measures save money for both the utility and customers and provide economic and environmental benefits to Wisconsin.