Water Supply and Land Use Planning

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ELEMENT staff have extensive experience working closely with our clients and partnering with land use planners and other professionals to develop sustainable, yet practical, approaches for implementing projects with a land-water nexus. As the population continues to grow, it becomes increasingly important to consider the impacts of land use decisions on water and other natural resources – from project inception. Through our regional planning projects, ELEMENT stays abreast of advances in planning approaches. More importantly, we have a successful track record of collaborating with governmental land use and utilities staff to identify and adopt innovative water and land use regulations that are mutually beneficial to all parties.

ELEMENT staff were fundamental in the development of a water demand management program for a 12,000+ unit new development in Douglas County, Colorado where water conservation covenants were incorporated in the land use zoning. Ongoing services include assisting with the creation of water efficiency and other natural resource sustainability-related specifications for builders, conservation-oriented water rates and tap fees, and a non-potable water reuse plan for integrating supplies from rainwater harvesting with stormwater management. Our assistance has reduced water demands by thousands of acre-feet, which has extended the supply available for other purposes and saved hundreds of millions of dollars in capital costs.

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ELEMENT is also preparing water efficiency and demand management plans for the two largest new planned developments in the Castle Rock area. Both projects entail residential development, and one of the projects includes a significant non-residential component that offers additional opportunities for significantly reducing water use. ELEMENT has been working with the developer, land use planner, civil engineer, and local government staff to develop comprehensive plans to document an adequate water supply while incentivizing the developer to implement more stringent water regulations.

ELEMENT is highly skilled in the following areas related to the interrelationship between water resources and land use planning:

  • Interpreting codes and policies.
  • Water supply evaluations.
  • Water demand analyses.
  • Evaluating potential for, and cost-effectiveness of, water demand reductions.
  • Constructing conservation-oriented rate structures and tap fees.
  • Preparing guidelines and specifications for efficient indoor and outdoor water use, including landscape and irrigation systems.
  • Supporting cooperative policy negotiations.
  • Collaborating with multi-disciplinary teams and regulatory agencies to create sustainable water and land use projects.