History of Water Conservation

As the ancients and natives would attest, water conservation theory has been around since the beginning of time. Most societies that deal with a limited resource learn to use it wisely. The Anasazi were perfect examples. As rain catchers and chasers, they were a culture of true conservationists.  

The concept of integrating conservation into water planning has been promulgated in the U.S. for more than 60 years. In the 1950’s, for example, the Water Resources Policy Commission published A Water Policy for the American People that read:
“We can no longer be wasteful and careless in our attitude towards our water resources. Not only in the West, where the crucial value of water has long been recognized, but in every part of the country, we must manage and conserve water if we are to make the best use of it for future development” (Wolff, & Gleick, 2003, p. 16).
In the 1960s, the internationally known geographer, Gilbert White, called for broadening the range of alternatives examined by water managers who had previously only focused on structural solutions to water problems. As such, White recommended that water managers consider both structural and nonstructural alternatives, including zoning, land-use planning, and changing water-use patterns.