Water conservation

Water conservation

The sustainability of water supplies is becoming a significant issue for many municipalities. In some areas, demand for water is already exceeding supply, supplies are not as reliable as they once were, and new sources of water are not readily available. Even in communities where water is more plentiful, increasing demand for water is requiring the construction of new and expensive infrastructure in order to provide residents and customers with a safe, secure and reliable water supply.

Growing appreciation of the limited availability of water supplies, increasing concern about the potential impacts of the changing climate, acknowledgement of the importance of keeping water in the natural environment, and recognition of the escalating cost of treating, pumping, storing and delivering ever-increasing volumes of water to consumers are driving a movement to better manage the demand and use of water at a municipal level. The adoption of water conservation tools and practices is one of the most effective means of managing demand within existing available supplies and contributing to long-term municipal sustainability.

Photo Source: Government of Alberta


AUMA Water Conservation, Efficiency, and Productivity plan

Recognizing that our water supply is not limitless, Alberta’s Water for Life strategy set a provincial target for water conservation of a 30 percent improvement in overall water conservation, efficiency and productivity levels. A key action to achieving this target calls for the province’s major water-using sectors to develop water conservation, efficiency and productivity (CEP) plans.

As the urban municipal sector is one of Alberta’s seven major water-using sectors, AUMA has developed a Conservation, Efficiency, and Productivity Plan proposing an outcomes-based approach to water savings. The Plan outlines an overall flexible strategy for achieving water conservation, efficiency, and productivity objectives that recognizes that capacity and issues vary between municipalities.

View AUMA’s CEP Plan


Municipal tools and practices for water conservation

Municipalities have access to a wide range of tools and practices that can assist in managing water demand and ensure long-term municipal sustainability. The following resource guide includes examples and tools that you can select from and adapt depending on the needs of your municipality.

As water supply and demand can vary from municipality to municipality, the approach each municipality takes to conservation will also be unique. Therefore, we recommend ensuring you develop a firm understanding of how water is used, when it is used, and how much is being lost in your community. We have included tools below such as conducting a water audit to help know your system. Once you have a solid conception of your water system’s strengths and weaknesses, you can employ other tools ranging from leak detection and control to water use bylaws, to conservation-friendly water pricing.

Choose one of the boxes below to learn more about the different tools and practices you can implement:


Changes to water operations and management can often have the greatest impact on improving water conservation.
Municipal bylaws for conservation and efficiency are a common and effective way to improve water conservation.
Economic and financial tools are an effective way to improve water efficiency and manage costs.
Having an informed and educated public is a key element to water conservation efforts.