American Rivers recently released a new set of principles intended to help guide communities across the country toward investing in environmentally and economically sound water supply projects that both meet community demand and protect river health.
At the same time that communities face challenges such as population growth, drought, depleted aquifers, and large-scale factors such as global climate change, demand for water is increasing in the face of intensive and often competing uses. The set of principles developed by American Rivers with the help of water experts and advocates from across the country represents the first step in helping communities assess demand, identify options, and evaluate alternatives.
“Communities use water for many different purposes, and rivers are key to meeting that demand,” said Chad Smith, director of American Rivers’ Nebraska Field Office. “We hope to help communities secure and use water in a way that protects the important ecological functions and economic benefits healthy rivers provide to those same communities.”
The “Principles for Evaluating New Water Supply Projects” were created under American Rivers’ new “Water for Life” campaign aimed at helping communities meet the challenge of balancing water use and river ecosystem health. American Rivers is now developing a more detailed Water Supply Blueprint “tool kit” that will be available to communities and advocates later this year. The tool kit will provide a roadmap for meeting water demand through alternative water management tools such as conservation, more efficient use, and new water supply projects that focus less on the traditional dam-and-reservoir approach and more on options like aquifer recharge, water reclamation, and water marketing.