One of the key stumbling blocks in getting consumers, utilities, and the building sector to invest in water-saving practices and technologies is the misconception that water efficiency doesn’t produce economic benefits. The (subsidized) low cost of water delivered to the tap doesn’t translate volume savings into money savings—a concept that doesn’t resonate well with the general public. For utilities, water conservation obviously reduces revenue, which could cause them to raise rates and, in essence, punish consumers for saving water.
However, according to a newly updated report from the Alliance for Water Efficiency, “Water Efficiency as Stimulus and Long-Term Investment,” there are several potential economic benefits to investing in water efficiency. The paper, originally published in December 2008, quantitatively examines economic growth impacts of water/energy efficiency investments, specifically in terms of job creation, income, GDP, national output, water savings, and other benefits.
As described in the report, a consultant team modeled a wide range of water/energy efficiency program possibilities and confirmed that economic stimulus benefits could be broadly distributed throughout the national economy. Among the report’s findings:
- The economic output benefits range between $2.5 and $2.8 million per million dollars of direct investment
- GDP benefits range between $1.3 and $1.5 million per million dollars of direct investment
- Employment potential ranges between 15 and 22 jobs per million dollars of direct investment
You can download the entire 12-page paper here