Water-Smart Development Regulations

Zoning Practice — September 2015

By Elizabeth Garvin, AICP


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Water, or the lack thereof, is always the subject of planning conversation in the arid and growing West. As the population in this part of the country continues to grow, it appears that many communities — large and small — will need to find more creative and efficient methods to make the water they have go much further.

This is not necessarily a new idea, but it is one that has gained in recognition and discussion both inside and outside of planning circles over the past decade. As historic droughts collide with population increases in typically "wet" areas of the county, planning and zoning for water conservation concepts have also taken hold in the Midwest and South.

This issue of Zoning Practice explores how communities can better address the use of water through local regulations. It briefly explores how water use can be influenced by pricing and then looks at the range of regulations, particularly in the areas of lot design and landscaping, available at the local level to encourage and require water conservation.


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Date Published
Sept. 1, 2015
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Elizabeth Garvin, AICP
Elizabeth has 26 years of experience preparing zoning codes for communities across the country, including traditional and FBC/hybrid codes, subdivision regulations, and sustainability standards. Lately, she spends a lot of making sign codes Reed compliant. Prior to founding Community ReCode, Elizabeth was the planning director for a corporate consulting group, practiced law, and worked at a well-regarded boutique planning firm. Ms. Garvin is an advisory board member for the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute and is a frequent speaker and author on planning and regulatory topics, including the July 2019 APA Zoning Practice article: A Framework for Promoting Equity Through Zoning.