Groundwater Conservation Plan (GCP)
Increasing water demands, extreme weather variability and mandated reductions in use make year-round conservation an important tool in managing groundwater. To improve water-use efficiency, municipal, industrial, and irrigation permit holders are required to implement an individual conservation program and then document their efforts every three years.
The EAA developed a regional Groundwater Conservation Plan (GCP) as a guidance document to encourage, promote and document year-round conservation measures. Each municipal, industrial, and irrigation users must implement a minimum number of conservation practices, or Best Management Practices (BMPs), in a timely manner. Best management practices are strategies or actions proven to achieve measurable water savings and are recommended by user type in the EAA GCP. They may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Municipal and Industrial BMPs
- Meters on all new connections and retrofits of existing connections to account for all water usage.
- Conservation pricing through quantity-based pricing structures to provide economic incentives for efficient water use.
- Public information and school education programs to promote water conservation awareness.
- Appointment of a conservation coordinator to oversee GCP implementation and ongoing activities.
- Water survey programs to track and control water usage and incentive programs for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential accounts.
- Residential plumbing retrofit and rebate programs for distribution or installation of high-quality, low-flow plumbing devices and rebates for installation of high efficiency washing machines.
- Reuse of available treated effluent to replace Edwards Aquifer groundwater on golf courses, in large cooling plants and other industrial or landscape processes.
- Prohibition of wasteful activities such as landscape watering during peak hours to non-recycling decorative water fountains.
- System water audits and leak detection and repair programs to check for unaccounted water loss exceeding 15% of total system water.
- Landscape conservation programs and incentives for non-residential and residential customers owning tracts of land.
- Cooling tower conservation to reduce the amount of makeup water needed by increasing the cycles to the maximum level possible.
- Sub-metering feasibility study on facilities or equipment comprising at least 20% of total water usage to determine the benefits of replacing mixed-use meters with dedicated landscape meters.
- Surge flow irrigation to apply water intermittently to furrows, creating a series of on-off periods of either constant or variable time intervals and/or:
- Installation of sprinkler systems including side-roll, center pivot and linear movement and micro-irrigation systems including drip, bubbler and micro sprinklers which use water more efficiently.