Pre-application meetings are the norm prior to submittal of various types of development-related applications. Topics include applicable ordinances, issues and alternative solutions to technical and design issues, water and sewer infrastructure location, capacity and improvements required, building location, drainage and floodplain criteria, as well as the development process and review procedure.
The pre-application meeting can also provide an opportunity to discuss community water resource goals and influence development design to incorporate water conservation features.
Water conservation features that could be discussed and integrated include low impact design to capture and reuse stormwater, cluster development to reduce the water footprint and preserve open space, installation of graywater stub-outs and ultra-efficient plumbing fixtures, Xeriscape landscaping, efficient irrigation systems, and rainwater harvesting.
For example, the City of Prescott requires a pre-application meeting for all conditional use permits, non-residential and multi-family developments, planned area developments, site plan reviews, special use permits, subdivisions, variance requests, and rezoning. Because Prescott is in an active management area and is designated as having an assured water supply (AWS), the City also discusses its AWS allocation to serve the project.
The Town of Gilbert is located in the Phoenix Active Management Area and subject to the Arizona Department of Water Resources mandatory municipal water conservation requirements. Gilbert is regulated under a best management practices program, the Non-per-capita Conservation Program (NPCCP). As part of its development pre-application process, it requires that applicants complete a form where the applicant is required to provide information about landscaping, the water source for the landscaping, and the planned irrigation system to ensure that development is compliant with the Town’s state-mandated NPCCP requirements.
Forms such as these can ensure that developers are aware of and compliant with existing water conservation codes, provide a mechanism to promote additional conservation, and identify the water conservation features that the developer plans to integrate into the development. For example, the developer could be asked if they planned to install ultra-low flow plumbing fixtures, and if not, could be encouraged to do so at the pre-application meeting by providing information about fixture cost-effectiveness, availability, and water savings. There are many free informational resources about water-smart development that are readily available to communities.
Model Water Conservation Checklist
Town of Gilbert Water Conservation Office