Western Water Assessment Update
The drought of 2002 provided an opportunity for the Western Water Assessment to examine how western water managers cope with water shortages. The WWA launched a project that compared water consumption of 9 water providers in Colorado’s Front Range from May 1 to August 31, 2002 to consumption over the same time period in 2000 and 2001. Six of the providers implemented voluntary restrictions on outdoor use, with five eventually shifting to mandatory restrictions; the remaining three cities used mandatory restrictions exclusively. The researchers found that during the time periods when mandatory restrictions were in place, consumption declined by an average of 22 percent (per city), ranging from 13 percent to 53 percent. The one city in which total use rose during the mandatory restriction period also has experienced explosive population growth. In per capita terms, this city (like the other cities) experienced a reduction in use during mandatory restrictions. In fact, when population growth is considered for the other cities studied, the effectiveness of mandatory restrictions is even more significant than reported above. Additionally, the calculated savings further underestimate actual savings because they do not take into account the reality that outdoor water demands are normally higher in drought periods than more normal conditions. This was evident in the nine cities or provider areas, where prior to the adoption of restrictions, most were on pace to use significantly more than the 2000/2001 average. As expected, the strictest regulations generally produced the greatest savings; similarly, mandatory programs fared better than voluntary approaches.
Western Water Assessment Welcomes New Managing Director
The Western Water Assessment recently hired Brad Udall as its Managing Director. From being a Grand Canyon river guide in college to being a water engineer for ten years, water has always been an important theme in Brad’s life. He was educated at Stanford (B.S. Engineering) and at Colorado State (MBA). Out of college in the 1980s he worked in the young computer industry writing software. He later joined Hydrosphere where he was able to combine his engineering background and computer skills. During his ten years at the firm he became one of four partners while the firm grew to over twenty employees. Desiring a chance to do something constructive about all the growth in Colorado, Brad spent the last four years of the 1990s in Vail starting up the Eagle Valley Land Trust and conserving land. Over the years, he has been active in numerous non-profit endeavors in health, outdoor recreation, and conservation. One little known fun fact about Brad: he is a descendant of John D. Lee, the colorful founder of Lee’s Ferry and nowadays the all-important dividing line between the Upper and Lower basins of the Colorado River.