Save­wa­ter, money with an au­dit

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - WATERENERGYNEXUS - DOUG PUSHARD

How much wa­ter can I save? Where is the eas­i­est and least ex­pen­sive place to save? Should I look in­side or out? These are just a few of the ques­tions that can be an­swered by an au­dit pro­fes­sional. A com­pre­hen­sive wa­ter au­dit pro­vides a thor­ough in­ven­tory of where wa­ter is be­ing used. A pro­fes­sional wa­ter au­di­tor will of­fer a va­ri­ety of rec­om­men­da­tions on how to re­duce wa­ter use.

If you want to in­ves­ti­gate in­door-only wa­ter sav­ings your­self, there are a host of web­sites of­fer­ing in­ter­ac­tive tools and sug­ges­tions on howto save­wa­ter. Two of these are www.home-wa­ter-works.org/ cal­cu­la­tor and www.epa.gov/wa­tersense/ wa­tersense-cal­cu­la­tor.

The City of Santa Fe has a man­ual that, although a lit­tle dated, pro­vides a great deal of in­for­ma­tion on how to de­sign and prop­erly in­stall an ef­fi­cient ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem. It can be found at www.santafenm. gov/doc­u­men­t_­cen­ter/doc­u­ment/1473

The city is a na­tional leader in wa­ter con­ser­va­tion and has cre­ated train­ing for wa­ter pro­fes­sion­als. It part­nered with Santa Fe Com­mu­nity Col­lege (SFCC), which of­fers two classes: Qual­i­fiedWater Ef­fi­ciency Land­sca­pers (QWEL) and Wa­ter Ef­fi­ciency Rat­ing Score (WERS) for res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties.

The QWEL train­ing of­fered at SFCC is for ir­ri­ga­tion and land­scape-de­sign pro­fes­sion­als. It is li­censed fromthe Cal­i­for­nia QWEL pro­gram that was orig­i­nally de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with the EPA based on their ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter au­dit pro­gram. This course teaches and cer­ti­fies pro­fes­sion­als to au­dit, de­sign, and im­prove ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems. More about the QWEL pro­gram­can be found atwww. qwel.net and cer­ti­fied QWEL land­sca­pers can be found at www.qwel.net/map.

The WERS pro­gram was de­vel­oped in Santa Fe and is now in use in sev­eral other ar­eas around the coun­try, the most re­cent be­ing Santa Bar­bara, Calif., which adopted the tool for mul­ti­fam­ily dwellings. The City of Santa Fe re­quires a WERS au­dit (paid by the builder) and a score of 70 or be­low for ev­ery new sin­gle-fam­ily home. The closer to zero the score, the more ef­fi­cient the wa­ter use. TheWERS is both an in­door and out­door­wa­ter au­dit. It is unique among wa­ter-au­dit­ing pro­grams be­cause it in­cludes al­ter­na­tive­wa­ter sources (rain­wa­ter, grey­wa­ter, and black­wa­ter), en­abling a home­owner to greatly im­prove the score. More about theWERS pro­gram can be found at www.wers.us and a list of cer­ti­fied WERS pro­fes­sion­als can be found at www.wers.us/ver­i­fiers/ ver­i­fier-direc­tory.

Both of the above classes and many other wa­ter cour­ses are avail­able and open to in­ter­ested res­i­dents at the Santa Fe Com­mu­nity Col­lege.

A self-ad­min­is­tered wa­ter au­dit is a great place to start if you are in­ter­ested in re­duc­ing your wa­ter foot­print, help­ing our en­vi­ron­ment, and sav­ing money. For a pro­fes­sional wa­ter au­dit, hire a QWELor WERS-cer­ti­fied wa­ter au­di­tor. The cost will range from $200 to $800 de­pend­ing on the size and scope of the au­dit. The au­dit in­cludes a com­pre­hen­sive process and very de­tailed and spe­cific re­ports. These re­ports can be a dif­fer­en­tia­tor if you want to sell or buy a home in Santa Fe. With the high wa­ter rates in Santa Fe and the sur­round­ing ar­eas, they al­most al­ways will pay for them­selves in short or­der. Do an au­dit and start sav­ing to­day!

Doug Pushard, founder of the web­site www.Har­vestH2o.com, has de­signed and in­stalled res­i­den­tial rain­wa­ter sys­tems for over a decade. He is a mem­ber of the Santa FeWater Con­ser­va­tion Com­mit­tee, a life­time mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Rain­wa­ter Catch­ment Sys­tems As­so­ci­a­tion, and an EPAWaterSense Part­ner. He can be reached at doug@Har­vestH2o.com.

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