A 5-year water conservation plan proposed Tuesday night at a Logan City Council meeting is likely to commission assistance from USU researchers hoping to receive funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).Logan City Public Works director Mark Nielsen and assistant city engineer Lance Houser informed council members of their plans to reduce the 28 percent of water that is lost in the city’s system every year due to leaks, main breaks and other, unaccounted for water.”In 1992 the city was using on the average 400 gallons per capita, per day – extremely high,” Houser said. “In the summers of 2003 and 2004 our peak demands nearly exceeded our ability to deliver water, we were maxed out.”Citing the renewed draft of the water conservation plan, he said those peak demands were at 36 million gallons per day for the entire city. For 2009 and 2010 those demands have been reduced to 26 million gallons per day.Current per-person usage is down to 95 gallons per day, Houser said, which is far below the state-mandated level of 140 gallons per day. The problem now is not with usage but with loss.”The Public Works Department has recognized water conservation to be very important,” the plan states, “not only for environmental reasons, but for economic reasons.”USU applied economics professor Arthur Caplan, associate professor Joanna Endter-Wada from the environment and society department and assistant professor David Rosenberg of the civil and environmental engineering department have applied for an NSF grant and are planning to work with Logan City to help benefit the community.Rosenberg said faculty and student researchers from other departments have been involved with the project as well.”Our specific proposal is a large multi-year study that would look at what would encourage and motivate residential households to conserve water,” Rosenberg said. “Leakage within a household can be a very significant source of water use in a house.”Councilmember Jay Monson said he remembered a few years ago, USU students visited a bunch of residential, commercial and industrial locations to conduct water audits for free. He said they were very helpful in diagnosing ways to reduce water loss.
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