“We have worked with Brendle Group on several projects involving the complex interrelationship between water resource management and land use planning. Brendle Group’s impeccable project management skills and ability to think strategically have yielded high-quality resources to assist Colorado communities in measuring and tracking their progress toward water resilience.”

Waverly Klaw, Director for Resilient Communities and Watersheds for the Sonoran Institute

Applying Water Smart Metrics

Water scarcity is increasing in many parts of the US due to supply shortages, population growth, and water quality degradation. In collaboration with water utility and land use planning staff from across Colorado, Brendle Group and the Sonoran Institute published the Growing Water Smart Metrics Guidebook in 2020. The Guidebook provides recommended metrics to track the progress of water-land use integration as well as the impacts of those integration efforts.

Following the development of the guidebook, Sonoran Institute and Brendle Group facilitated a pilot program, assisting two communities – the City of Fort Collins, CO and the City of Evans, CO – in testing the real-world application of the metrics identified. These communities received specialized training and assistance including guidance in forming a stakeholder group, goal-setting, selecting metrics, gathering and analyzing water and land use data, and applying the findings.

City of Evans

The goals of the City of Evans Technical Assistance explored how land use strategies in their Water Efficiency Plan, Master Plan, and outdoor land use code impact potable and non-potable water. This was done by developing a tool that allowed for metric calculation over time to evaluate impacts.

We developed a tool to evaluate the City’s progress toward their potable and non-potable water efficiency goals. Progress is being made toward the goal of reducing water use by 10% by 2029, even with increasing population. To accelerate savings, the water tool illuminated additional opportunities. Areas identified include outdoor water conservation programs, new development, and the promotion of non-potable use.

City of Fort Collins

We collaborated with the City of Fort Collins to advance two main goals through their program participation: 1) improving coordination opportunities and development review comments and 2) estimating water demand by land use type. We provided the City the following technical assistance and resources to help achieve these goals:

  • Water Supply Primer – Talking points for Planners and Utilities staff, to help align communication with the public.
  • Development Review Comments – Recommended comments about water supply and conservation, to include at various stages of the development review process.
  • Water Use by Development Type Tool – A tool to help Staff communicate with developers about water use and fees based on certain development parameters.

This successful pilot is giving way to a full-fledged technical assistance program. We are excited to bring together Brendle Group’s planning and engineering expertise to support additional communities in evaluating the impact of their integrated land use and water planning efforts.