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  9.A.       
Meeting Date: 12/01/2020  
Co-Submitter: Erin Young From: Tamara Lawless, Water Conservation Manager

TITLE:
Consideration and Adoption of Resolution No. 2020-64:  A resolution adopting the Water Conservation Strategic Plan.
STAFF RECOMMENDED ACTION:
1) Read Resolution No. 2020-64 by title only
2) City Clerk reads Resolution No. 2020-64 by title only (if approved above)
3) Adopt Resolution No. 2020-64
Executive Summary:
This Water Conservation Strategic Plan (Plan) was developed in response to a request from the Flagstaff City Council to expand and improve water conservation efforts at the City of Flagstaff (City). This Plan aims to determine the appropriate investment in conservation-derived water savings in order to defer costly future water supply development and infrastructure. To this end, the Plan provides an assessment of current and future water conservation actions to ensure that conservation dollars and staff time are invested in strategies that provide the best return on investment and coverage of all sectors of the Flagstaff customer base. This final version of the Water Conservation Strategic Plan is being submitted to City Council to consider for possible adoption by Resolution.
Financial Impact:
The initiatives included in the Optimized Conservation program recommends an additional annual investment of $45,000 annually. Of this investment, $15,000 would be directed toward an additional part-time staff person. Due to the current recession plan in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the hiring of all new staff is on hold.

Over the next 20 years, the implementation of the Water Conservation Strategic Plan is projected to defer significant costs in new water supply and save an additional 690 acre-feet of water over existing water-conserving actions.
Policy Impact:
The Water Conservation Strategic Plan was developed in alignment with the Utilities Integrated Master Plan Water Policies adopted by Council in 2014, specifically those policies in Section D, Water Conservation. Adoption and Implementation of the Strategic Plan will result in staff bringing forward proposals to update policy or City Code as appropriate to align with the Strategic Plan. 
Connection to PBB Key Community Priorities/Objectives & Regional Plan:
Priority Based Budget Key Community Priorities and Objectives
  • Utilize existing long-range plan(s) that identify the community's future infrastructure needs and all associated costs
  • Actively manage and protect all environmental and natural resources
  • Provide environmental community outreach, education, and volunteer opportunities
  • Implement, maintain and further the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP)
Regional Plan
  • Policy E&C.4.2. Develop water use policies that attempt to integrate current best projections of climate change effects on the Colorado Plateau’s water resources and emphasize conservation.
  • Policy WR.2.1. Develop and adopt an integrated water master plan that addresses water resources, water production and its distribution, wastewater collection and its treatment, and reclaimed water treatment and its distribution.
  • Policy WR.2.3. Develop programs to minimize lost and unaccounted for water to acceptable levels.
  • Goal WR.3. Satisfy current and future human water demands and the needs of the natural environment through sustainable and renewable water resources and strategic conservation measures.
  • Policy E.1.7. Support policies and programming that reduce electricity, natural gas, and water consumption in order to conserve natural resources and reduce financial costs.
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
  • December 3rd, 2019: Council gives Water Conservation staff direction to move forward with final draft of Water Conservation Strategic Plan draft utilizing Optimized Conservation Program
  • November 27, 2018: Council approves public outreach approach for Water Conservation Strategic Plan
  • April 17th, 2018: Council approves contract for Water Conservation Strategic Plan
  • December 13th, 2016: Council discusses strategies for accelerating Water Conservation Program, including additional staffing and funding for a planning document
Options and Alternatives:
  • Adopt the Water Conservation Strategic Plan in its current state
  • Adopt the Water Conservation Strategic Plan with revisions
  • Request revisions to the current draft and ask staff to bring a new draft forward for Council consideration and adoption at a future date.
Background/History:
In FY18, Water Services allocated  $75,000 in funding to implement an innovative water conservation plan to improve long-term water conservation planning. During fiscal years FY19 and FY20, the Water Conservation Program worked with Maddaus Water Management Inc. (MWM) to assess current and future water conservation actions in order to ensure that conservation dollars and staff time are invested in strategies that provide the best return on investment and coverage of all sectors of the Flagstaff customer base. To this end, all Water Conservation Program activities were assessed for return on investment using a computational model. In addition, Water Conservation staff worked with community stakeholders to build an "Optimized Conservation Program" which was presented to the Flagstaff City Council on December 3rd, 2019.

Since that time, the Water Conservation Program worked with MWM on the final draft of the Water Conservation Strategic Plan. This included the narrative of the methodology for the model; all graphs, charts, and tables; summaries of the public outreach process; descriptions of all current and future conservation measures; historic trends; and future demand projections. Staff also solicited review of the final plan document from the Advisory Committee. After review of feedback, staff have prepared a final version of the Plan for City Council to consider adopting by Resolution.

In 2016, the Water Resources & Conservation Section collaborated with the Sustainability Section to propose reframing the Water Conservation Program in order to transform Flagstaff into a water wise leader. One proposed output of this collaboration was the development of an innovative water efficiency plan to guide both the City and the Community. In many cases, water
conservation can be a community’s most economical water source. In fact, water conservation actions since 1990 have been successful in delaying the need for an additional water supply by at least a decade, which has provided a significant financial savings in avoided costs. To continue to develop and advance these gains, the City Council awarded funds in FY18 to create
a Water Conservation Strategic Plan to assess and improve the Water Conservation Program in order to meet the following goals:
  1. Become a national leader in water conservation in all sectors (former Council Goal)
  2. Generate quantitative water conservation savings projections for use in Water Resources Master Plan
  3. Provide conservation guidance for next water rate study
  4. Ensure water conservation program expenditures result in broad community participation and return on investment
The Water Conservation Program partnered with Maddaus Water Management (MWM) to build a quantitative computational model that utilized inputs from Flagstaff (such as water consumption and production, production costs, economic trends, and climate data) to generate predictions on future water savings and expenses for various water conservation actions. The model provided outputs such as water saving projections and cost benefit analyses for various conservation actions and projected demand as the Flagstaff community continues to grow.

Along with modeling the current conservation program activities, conservation staff and MWM also modeled 10 activities to be considered in the future, which were selected with assistance from community stakeholder groups. When building the Optimized Conservation Program, staff and MWM considered both return on investment and coverage of community customer categories. The new actions that were selected included Smart metering, outdoor water budgeting, school retrofits, and two code proposals: a revision of the landscaping code and a new code to require EPA WaterSense approved toilets, showerheads and faucets in new developments in City of Flagstaff.
Key Considerations:
Formal adoption of the plan will provide staff with the decision-making framework for managing the water conservation program projects, budget, and staffing.

Conservation is often the least expensive future water supply. Small investments in water conservation during the present pays large dividends in the future.
 
Community Benefits and Considerations:
One important aspect of building the Optimized Conservation Program was ensuring participation from all sectors of the Flagstaff community. This reconfiguration of the Program along with the additional funding will ensure expanded participation from Flagstaff businesses as well as both K-12 and higher education institutions.

Additionally, research shows that continued investment into conservation helps keep water rates lower than they would be without conservation efforts.
Community Involvement:
An important aspect of the strategic planning process was the inclusion of stakeholder collaboration during all essential planning stages. Public participation included representatives from local nonprofits (ex: Sierra Club, Terra BIRDS, Master Gardeners), neighborhood associations (ex: Southside, La Plaza Vieja), commercial interests (ex: Warner’s, Flagstaff Lodging, Restaurant, and Tourism Association), and also members of the general public.

Engagement opportunities included general outreach at the 2018 and 2019 Flagstaff Festival of Science, routine engagement with our Water Conservation Strategic Plan Advisory Committee, the selection and consultation of a broader stakeholder group, and an online survey. These interactions provided us with invaluable assistance in the process of narrowing down the original
list of potential conservation actions, along with insight on the customization of these actions for best application in the Flagstaff community. In addition, the stakeholder groups provided feedback on the Optimized Conservation Program and on water conservation in Flagstaff from a broader lens.

After the first several rounds of stakeholder collaboration, staff from COF and MWM evaluated current conservation activities using the model. This initial assessment indicated that there was room to improve the return on investment in the current conservation program initiatives. As an example, two initiatives that were selected for improvement were the current rainwater container and toilet rebate programs. The toilet rebate program can be optimized by only incentivizing more
efficient toilets with efficiencies that exceed the local code of 1.28 gallons per flush and by lowering the total rebate amount provided and the rainwater container measure can be absorbed into general outreach activities while reducing staff time investment by forging community partnerships.
Expanded Options and Alternatives:
When the draft content of the Water Conservation Strategic Plan was brought before Council in December of 2019, staff revealed that the Plan would allow Flagstaff to apply for certification through the Alliance for Water Efficiency's Leaderboard. As of September 2020, Flagstaff has been added to the Leaderboard with Gold Status. Flagstaff is the first Arizona water utility to be added to the Leaderboard.
Attachments
Res. 2020-64
WCSP Draft
Slides


    

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