The Tucson Conserve to Enhance (C2E) Program is a pilot program that seeks to link personal water conservation to local riparian restoration and preservation. Volunteer participants in the Tucson C2E Program track their water conservation and donate cost savings to the environment. 

C2ELogoTransparentSmallC2E is managed by the Sonoran Institute, Watershed Management Group (WMG), and the UA Water Resources Research Center. The funds generated by program participants are overseen by a community advisory board, which chooses the beneficiary river or wash enhancement projects within the Tucson community.

Atturbury Wash before (left) and after (right) a Tucson Conserve to Enhance (C2E) project. (Photo Credit: Kendall Kroeson, Tucson Audubon Society).

Individuals may also donate directly to C2E without tracking water savings via a donation checkbox on their Tucson Water bill. Funds donated will go directly to the environment, to protect and restore desert rivers, create instream flows needed for a healthy ecosystem, and increase groundwater levels.

Launched in January 2011, the pilot program included 60 participants from a diverse spectrum of the Tucson region’s population. Funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided $500 – $1,000 subsidies to 45 of the pilot participants to install water harvesting features at their home through WMG’s Co-op program.

Once conservation features were installed, participants tracked their water use and made a quarterly donation to the Conserve to Enhance Program based on the amount of money saved on their water bill. Funds generated from the pilot program were added to money collected through the Tucson Water utility bill donation “Checkbox” to benefit Tucson’s riparian enhancement projects.

By December 2012, 60 C2E participants:

  • saved over 2 million gallons of water
  • installed rainwater harvesting systems at 23 Tucson area homes, and
  • donated more than $2,000 to the planned restoration of a local wash.

The C2E concept was developed and researched by the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona.

Case Study Resources

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  • Challenges:
  • waterconservation
  • watereuse
  • State:
  • arizona
  • Scale:
  • community, site
  • Type:
  • urban