With climate change becoming an inevitability, topics like water conservation have become hot-button issues. Severe drought continues to ravage the American Southwest, and will most likely continue
in the future. As a result, water conservation has become a bare necessity. City leaders must devise effective and practical long-term ways to conserve this vital resource. This is where Uptown Charlotte has taken the lead through its innovative sustainability program known as Envision Charlotte
via the recent conception of Smart Water Now.
In tandem with Smart Energy Now, participating buildings in Uptown aim to reduce water use by 20 percent over the next five years. According to the initiative's website, Uptown buildings consume water in the following fashion:
• 110 million gallons for restrooms and domestic uses
• 74 million gallons for heating and cooling
• 54 million gallons for landscaping and other associated uses
• 32 million gallons for various uses
• In addition, the typical office employee uses about 15 gallons of water every day.
The program tracks real-time water usage data and transmits this information via smartphone app and kiosks so occupants can see community consumption in action. In turn the program will work with both building occupants and employers on ways to slash water use. Smart Water Now has already provided building owners with ways to reduce office building consumption. According to former Mayor Anthony Foxx (now the U.S. Transportation Secretary), the program "is creating a model for communities, and demonstrating the link between sustainability and growth." Various private and public corporations are involved in this project such as Duke Energy Corporation, Itron Inc., Verizon Wireless, and even Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities to name a few.
As many scientists and government leaders know, the age of climate change is here. Nevertheless there are still those who dispute this growing threat. The important point is that drought-ravaged metropolitan areas need to take stock. Major sustainability efforts such as Envision Charlotte can act as an effective model for other major cities to follow, not only in the Southwestern United States but across the country and the globe. If the climate can be influenced negatively by humans, it is high time for humans to impact the climate in a positive and healthy fashion.