What is meant by water conservation? For many, it is simply saving water. Something as easy to do as buying a water efficient appliance or turning off the tap when brushing your teeth. But water conservation is more complex than that. It also involves changing the way people think about water use. It involves developing a new way of doing business where water conservation is central to planning. It also involves encouraging the development and use of best practices, as well as rewarding innovation.
Under the Water for Life strategy, partners are engaged in developing a number of different type of plans that will contribute to water conservation in Alberta. These include watershed management plans, as well as Conservation, Efficiency, and Productivity Sector Plans (CEP plans).
To ensure that Water for Life partners had a common and consistent understanding of key terms before work on CEP plans and watershed management plans proceeded, the Alberta Water Council agreed upon definitions to provide clear principles and expectations for the terms “conservation”, “efficiency”, and “productivity.”
What is meant by water “conservation”?
The Alberta Water Council adopted the following definition for water conservation:
- Any beneficial reduction in water use, loss or waste
- Water management practices that improve the use of water resources to benefit people or the environment.
What is meant by water “efficiency”?
Conservation is part of the formula for reducing water use. To make conservation realistic, we must learn to use water more efficiently. The Alberta Water Council has defined water efficiency as:
- Accomplishment of a function, task, process, or result using the least amount of water possible
- An indicator of the relationship between the amount of water needed for a particular purpose and the quantity of water used or diverted
What is water “productivity”?
Water plays a key role in Alberta’s economy; therefore, water affects economic productivity. The Alberta Water Council has defined water productivity as:
- The amount of water required to produce a unit of any good, service, or societal value.
For more information, see the Alberta Water Council’s report:
- Water Conservation, Efficiency and Productivity: Principles, Definitions, Performance Measures and Environmental Indicators
Updated: Aug 25, 2015