Earlier this month, Harold Smethills, one of the founding visionaries behind the Sterling Ranch community, was invited to speak at the “Next Generation Water Summit” in Santa Fe. The second annual event focused on water conservation and water reuse in the arid Southwest. The summit brought together a cross-section of hundreds of builders, designers, architects and water professionals to share best practices and brainstorm new ones through charrettes.
Smethills’ presentation, titled Water Challenges of Big Developments, was given at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. His presentation focused on educating the audience on the advance work and research that went into the Sterling Ranch community’s game changing Sustainable Water Plan, to reduce the learning curve of others working across the region.
Smethills, and the Sterling Ranch team, spent more than a decade in pre-development phases focused on the infrastructure and logistics required to create a sustainable, cost effective for residents and a forward-thinking community in harmony with the semi-arid region of the Western United States. Through this pre-development process, the team has focused on two specific water-centered paths for Sterling Ranch to change the future of Colorado’s real estate development process:
- Water demand management as an integrated part of land planning and design
- Rainwater harvesting
Sterling Ranch has been recognized nationally for its sophisticated approach to water demand management. A 2009 Wall Street Journal article, for example, put Sterling Ranch in the national spotlight in an article titled “In Arid West, Thirsty Lawns Get Cut From Plans.”
All homes, currently under construction across the 3,400-acre site, have been designed to utilize less than 1/3rd of the historic per-home requirement in Douglas County, the community’s home. Further, not only will Sterling Ranch’s closed loop system reduce the per-household demand, but when complete, it will also utilize all water to extinction – thus saving resident money and environmental resources.
In 2010, the community was named one of 10 sites in the entire State of Colorado for testing the collection of rainwater as a part of an integrated water supply system. The pilot project is part of the 2009 Colorado Legislature’s House Bill 1129. This pilot project is now well underway, with planning and construction on the systems now built on site.
Further information about Sterling Ranch’s proactive approach to water demand management can be found here. For any additional information or insight, please contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.