Conserve to Enhance
A comprehensive guide to planning and implementing a C2E program in your community.
A short, ten minute slide presentation with audio covering the basics of C2E.
A brochure, fact sheets, and other materials providing a quick overview of the program.
A detailed look at the Tucson C2E Pilot program: its development, approach, and current status.
Learn about C2E and other water utility-based user contribution program. This series is ongoing.
Research informing and about C2E.
Water Resources – water quality, stream flows, etc. – consistently rank as Americans’ top environmental concern. Yet many people do not know what water issues exist in their own community or what they can do to protect and improve local water resources and the environment. At the same time, water utilities are ramping up water conservation programs in the face of increasingly scarce water supplies, especially in the Western states. A new approach, Conserve to Enhance (C2E), links these issues for the first time, making a difference locally in places people care about, while increasing water conservation by individual water users.
How it Works
Conserve to Enhance’s innovative approach provides a direct connection between voluntary water conservation actions by water users and local environmental projects. Development of a C2E program can be driven by a water utility, a local environmental organization, or both. Once C2E is established in your community, participating water customers can:
1. Conserve water at their home or business by changing behaviors and/or installing new water conserving technologies.
2. Track water savings compared to their past water use through their water bills.
3. Donate the money saved on their water bill as a result of water conservation to a C2E fund.
4. Then, the C2E fund provides money to community-selected environmental enhancement projects, ranging from securing instream flows, to restoring riparian areas, to building green infrastructure projects like curb cuts and basins.
Why Conserve to Enhance?
Conserve to Enhance grew out of an identified need to provide water to the environment in Arizona and other Western states (include links to WRRC papers). The logic of Conserve to Enhance – using the environment as a motivation for implementation of water conservation – has its foundation in research on consumer attitudes and motivations. Consumers who are more environmentally conscious tend to use less water when they are also educated about what they can do to increase their water efficiency. By providing a means to link traditional water conservation programs – water audits, rebates, retrofits, landscape conversions, etc. – with the environment, Conserve to Enhance can improve the effectiveness and penetration of these programs.
A C2E Program provides a platform for engaging water customers in a deeper conversation about water resources and choices in conservation, while benefiting the community and the environment alike. The environment benefits as water is conserved – more water stays in the ground or in streams to begin with - and also as projects are identified to directly benefit a community’s natural habitats and water resources. Better natural places means people have better choices for outdoor recreation and leisure, as well as healthier neighborhoods. Developing a program like C2E that ties into existing water conservation priorities promotes the utility as a leader of community-wide stewardship toward water resources. C2E really is a win-win for communities and the environment.
Active Conserve to Enhance Programs
The first C2E program was launched in Tucson, AZ in January 2011. This 60 participant pilot provides an opportunity to establish program management procedures, test participation rates of enrolled water users, and research water users’ motivations for participating in the program. A report on the development of the Tucson Pilot was released in January 2010. Additional information is available on the Tucson Pilot page.
The Water Resources Research Center is also conducting outreach within Arizona and the Colorado River Basin to identify other communities interested in establishing C2E programs.