The Journal Sentinel recently posted an article online titled Invest in Water Efficiency. The piece was written by Phil Montgomery, chairperson of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, appointed by Governor Scott Walker. In his article, Mr. Montgomery specifically mentioned a $750,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. that was given to the Milwaukee Water Council to use toward our water technology incubator.
Among other points made in the article, Mr. Montgomery articulated a myriad of reasons why Wisconsin is the perfect location for water-related industry. In particular, our rich industrial history has always relied on the Great Lakes for water. But Wisconsin should not take for granted its access to an abundance of freshwater, Mr. Montgomery said. We need a combination of smart legislation at the state level as well as sustainable business practices from industry leaders to insure the protection of our state’s valuable resources.
Montgomery also touched on conservation measures:
Wisconsin water utilities could save at least 164 million gallons of water per day by 2030 by implementing cost-effective and technically achievable water conservation measures. Examples include toilet rebates and other customer incentives, conducting residential and commercial water audits to look for leaks and implementing conservation-based water pricing.
Creating tools to identify and implement such water conservation measures has been in the works under the auspices of the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) International Water Stewardship Standard. The first draft of the standard was published a month ago and is still in it’s primary review phase. Efforts such as this will help focus and energize sustainable water practices that will, in turn, help municipalities and businesses save water and money.
Mr. Montgomery also addressed investment in infrastructure. “It costs a utility between $1.65 and $2 per 1,000 gallons to develop a new water supply,” he wrote. “In comparison, fixing distribution system leaks costs a utility, on average, 46 cents per 1,000 gallons.”
Wisconsin’s aging infrastructure needs a dramatic overhaul. A combination of fixing existing utilities as well as completely replacing others is necessary to create the kind of efficiency that Wisconsin needs.
You can find the rest of Phil Montgomery’s article here: Invest in Water Efficiency