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City and county ordinances are the critical step in moving policies in comprehensive and general plans and other planning documents into action via law, regulations, and enforceability provisions. Input from stakeholders, particularly the regulated community, is essential to ensure their political acceptability. This may take considerable time, negotiation, and multiple drafts before concerns are sufficiently addressed. Water conservation ordinances are incorporated into various municipal and county code sections with implementation specifications and options defined in development standards. In the case of Sierra Vista, water conservation regulations are primarily housed in a single location in their development code.

How to Save Water InfographicWater conservation ordinances include those that address water use in general, such as water waste, which is widely adopted by Arizona communities; indoor use as described in the Sierra Vista Development Code; and outdoor use. Indoor water use is relatively non-discretionary as compared to outdoor water use – toilet flushing and water used for drinking, bathing and cooking is related to human health and needs and is largely a function of the efficiency of the water using fixture or appliance. Indoor water use is steadily declining as indoor plumbing fixtures become both more efficient and the norm at retail outlets.

Outdoor Water Use IrrigationOutdoor water use can represent 30 to 60% of household water demand; is primarily discretionary, dependent on landscape preferences, irrigation methods, and the presence of a pool, spa, or water feature; and generally does not require expensive, treated, potable water.

Because of the discretionary, relatively high demand for an expensive resource, integrating outdoor conservation and reuse strategies into land use planning is an excellent opportunity to protect local water resources and save treatment costs by utilities.

This section discusses water conservation ordinances and requirements in two categories:

General Water Conservation including:

Outdoor Water Conservation including:

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