2030 Objective: Water use is the same or less than Fiscal Year 06–07 levels
In FY 06-07, City operations used approximately 550 million gallons of water. Since then, water use has dropped by one-half, to approximately 260 million gallons per year.
This drop is due to a combination of water conservation efforts in Portland’s parks, weather demands, maintenance improvements in city-owned buildings, LEED certification and the green building policy.
An ongoing downward trend in water use in not predicted. In fact, there may be years in the future when water use exceeds 2006 levels. Climate change models for the Pacific Northwest predict hotter dryer summers, which will increase demand on water supplies.
The growth of Portland’s population also will put demands on existing and new City facilities and infrastructure, like parks, community centers and restrooms.
Water use in City operations
Water use in City operations has declined over two decades. This is a result of conservation efforts that have focused on irrigation water, landscaping choices and building facilities. The Portland Water Bureau and Portland Parks and Recreation have made consistent efforts to install weather-based irrigation control and low-flow components in buildings and climate based-centrally controlled irrigation systems in parks.
Action 3E in the Climate Change Preparation Strategy calls for the city to “change design and management methods to minimize water use and waste in fountains, parks and other landscaped publicly owned or managed properties while still maintaining thriving vegetation”.
With eleven LEED certified buildings and eight Sustainability at Work-certified work sites, water conservation is well integrated into City operations. Keeping abreast of new technologies, weather patterns and keeping staff engaged will all contribute to successfully maintaining progress toward this goal.