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Water usage continues to drop in Madison even with more users, officials say

January 18, 2019

Despite more homes, apartments and buildings being built, Madison water usage continues to drop, with annual usage down about a billion gallons since 2014.

Madison Water Utility issued its 2018 annual water use report on Thursday, showing the utility pumped 9.2 billion gallons of water to homes and businesses, about 200 million gallons less than in 2017, when water usage hit a 50-year low.

That was the fourth straight year water usage in Madison was below 10 billion gallons .

“We’re still adding buildings, homes, apartments,” said Robin Piper, the utility’s chief financial officer. “People are still getting all the water they need, they’re just using it more efficiently and thinking a little bit more about that water.”

Per-capita water use for single-family-home customers is down to the lowest level in at least 30 years, with customers last year using 53 gallons of water per person per day, down 33 percent from 80 gallons in 1988.

Madison Water Utility had a goal in 2006 to have per-capita water use drop by 20 percent by 2020.

“There were serious doubts we could get down to that (total water use) level, actually,” said supply manager Joe DeMorett.

“We were pumping well over 10 billion gallons a year, and to be down to around nine billion now I think is incredible,” DeMorett said.

A very wet summer helped cut water use in Madison in 2018, and more people are using water-efficient appliances and fixtures such as low-flow toilets and washing machines.

Industrial use of city water is down 73 percent from seven years ago with big users like Oscar Mayer and Bimbo Bakeries shutting their doors.

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