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Net-Zero Water: Is It Realistic?
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: How To Determine How Water Is Used, and How Water Is Being WastedPt. 2: Less Obvious Systems To Consider in Pursuing Water EfficiencyPt. 3: This PagePt. 4: Barriers To Water Efficiency
Can you explain the concept of "net-zero water"? Is this a strategy available to only certain facility types? If not, how can facility managers move towards net-zero water at their facility?
Akin to the concept of climate neutrality or designing a net zero energy building, the concept of net zero water is intended to limit the water quantity and quality impacts within a defined boundary. By reducing water use to only what falls on a facility’s site and minimizing stormwater runoff from the site a facility could move toward net zero water impact.
The Colorado Water Innovation Cluster, is currently developing a Net Zero Water Planning Toolkit that will help users:
1. Determine a company or organization’s baseline and forecasted water footprint based on existing and future activities
2. Identify strategies to reduce water consumption and impacts on water quality
3. Analyze strategies and aggregating into scenarios for water planning
4. Set milestones on the path to neutrality based on scenario modeling
5. Measure and monitor progress during implementation
The idea is that this toolkit would be useable at any scale, from any individual building all the way up to an entire watershed. A beta version of the toolkit will be made available later this year.
Answers provided by Becky Fedak, PE, Engineer, with Brendle Group, a sustainability consulting firm based in Fort Collins, Colorado.