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What are some alternatives to dams?
So Many Dam Alternatives Dams are hardly the only way to meet demand for water, whether it’s new demand due to population growth or to adjust to altered precipitation or runoff patterns resulting from climate change. [ The first step in fighting a new dam is to insist that a reasonable assessment of demand for water is made available. Without knowledge of how much water is needed, discussion
of tools to meet demand is premature. Any credible demand assessment should assume future implementation of significant conservation and efficiency measures (click here for more on how to define demand). Once demand is nailed down, citizens should call for a thorough assessment of supply options to meet that demand. Water efficiency = Water Supply Water efficiency and conservation are the simple, proven, cost-effective, and immediate ways to secure new supply and should always be the first options examined. In the Southeast, on average water efficiency costs $0.46 - $250 per 1000 gallons saved while dams cost $4,000 per 1000 gallons. Communities can also avoid or defer significant infrastructure costs through investing a fraction of the money in water efficiency measures as Seattle did when, in the late 1980s it started investing in water efficiency as water supply and avoided $100 million in long-term water supply costs by investing $30 million in water efficiency. (click here for more on water efficiency). Other supply options may also include: Reuse: Also known as water recycling or reclamation, water reuse refers to the use of treated sewage, graywater, or stormwater for non-potable purposes such as irrigation, industrial processes, fire protection, toilet flushing, among others. Drawbacks of this option can include costs associated with a municipal scale dual distribution system, and water that would have otherwise returned to the source river/water body once treated is now designated for a consumptive use, in the case of irrigation, that will not return to the river and may result in decreased flows. Groundwater recharge: This involves recharging underground water sources during a wet year or a season (often winter) when water is available. ]
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