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Madison has 81,000 more people than it had in 1968, but believe it or not, the city is using about the same amount of water. For the first time in 47 years, annual water use in Madison dropped below 10 billion gallons. In 2015, Madison Water Utility pumped 9.98 billion gallons of water from our aquifer to homes, schools and businesses across the city. In 1968, that number was about 9.5 billion.
The drop marks a major conservation milestone for Madison. In 2001, water use peaked at more than 12 billion gallons. But since then, thanks to more efficient appliances, toilets, plumbing fixtures and industrial equipment, along with more sustainable outdoor watering practices, water use in Madison has been on the decline. Madison Water Utility has also been working hard to encourage conservation through its popular Toilet Rebate Program, which has saved a more than a half billion gallons of water since 2009. And the utility recently launched its web-based conservation tool that allows customers to track their weekly, daily and even hourly water use online. MWU was the first water utility in the Midwest to bring that kind of detailed usage data directly to customers.
Although dropping below 10 billion gallons is good news, there is always room for improvement, especially as we look ahead to an uncertain future of rising global temperatures and shifting weather patterns. We are all stewards of Madison’s critical water infrastructure and resources, and it will take a continued push toward efficiency, innovation and conservation to preserve those resources for generations to come.


Water Utility