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Developing Sustainable Water Supplies at Commercial and Industrial Sites

Bill Hoffman, City of Austin, Texas


Beyond water conservation is the development of sustainable water supplies from on-site sources. In Austin, Texas, a number of industrial and commercial sites are doing just this. These sources of water can include air conditioner condensate, French drain water, and a number of variants of rainwater and stormwater collection. These sources also include collection of clean process water that is now being discharged as waste. Examples range from the "high-tech" electronics industries, to universities and laboratories, to veterinary clinics and ready-mix concrete plants. One facility reported savings in the millions of dollars and others are able to use on-site sustainable water sources for a third to half of process water needs and as much as 100% of landscape irrigation needs. To encourage such development, the City of Austin has rebates and the State of Texas now has sales and property tax exemptions to encourage such projects. The purpose of this presentation and paper is to:

  • Describe the types of sustainable, on-site water supply projects are possible;
  • Provide specific examples in Austin, Texas;
  • Provide pertinent examples from other Texas locations;
  • Discuss how financial incentives are applied in Austin and throughout Texas;
  • Provide "rule-of-thumb" methods to evaluate the volumes of water potentially available; and
  • Summarize potential concurrent benefits of such water sources as they relate to energy use and air and water pollution.


Bill Hoffman is currently Program Coordinator for Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) Water Conservation Programs for the City of Austin. He has been instrumental in developing and implementing technical assistance programs for water conservation in Texas and has helped conduct a number of workshops to train municipal water conservation personnel how to set up and administer their own conservation, reuse and drought management programs. He has lectured on the subject of ICI water conservation throughout the United States and in Mexico and Canada.

Through his career, he has chaired the Desalinization and Water Reuse Committee of the Electric Power Research Institute, and the Technical Assistance and Response Committee of the Governor's Drought Preparedness Council and was Vice-Chair of the American Water Works Association's former Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Water Conservation Committee. Bill retired from the Texas Water Development Board in January 2000 and began work for the City of Austin's Conservation Division the same month. His last position at the Texas Water Development Board's Office of Planning was Assistant Director of Water Resources Planning and supervisor of water conservation, water reuse, desalting and alternate water resources programs for the State.

Mr. Hoffman is a past vice-president of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association, one of the authors of the Texas Guide to Rainwater Harvesting and first president of the Texas WaterWise Council. Bill is also author and/or co-author of several publications, guidebooks and other works on water conservation and drought management.

Bill has over 35 years of water and related experience both in the United States and over seas. He has a BS degree in Chemical Engineering and an MS degree in Environmental Health Engineering, both from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a registered professional engineer in Texas.

Bill is a fifth generation Texan and is the second generation in the water business.

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