Water Efficiency Watch

News from the Alliance for Water Efficiency

2009-12-01

Water Efficiency Watch is the online newsletter of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, edited by Peter Mayer


In this issue of Water Efficiency Watch...


USGS 2005 Demand Estimates Indicate Overall Decrease in Water Use

USGS 2005 Water Use ReportEditors note: This article is a special technical feature of this month’s newsletter and is more in-depth than our normal articles because of the importance of this report. 

On October 27, 2009 the US Geological Survey (USGS) released the  Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2005    report, which indicates that the estimated total amount of water withdrawn in 2005 was slightly less than estimates in 2000.   Most of the savings appear to have come from reductions in withdrawals for agricultural irrigation (8 percent less than in 2000) largely due to irrigation efficiency improvements.  Water withdrawals for public supply (the primary focus of AWE and urban water conservation professionals) increased by 2% from 2000 to 2005 although the US experienced a 5 percent increase in overall population in that time.  This suggests small but measurable overall gains in urban water use efficiency over this five year period.  The USGS releases water use estimates every five years.

Here are some key results from the Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2005    report:

  • Freshwater withdrawals in 2005 (surface and groundwater) accounted for 85 percent of the total withdrawals with the remaining 15 percent coming from saline sources.
  • Fresh groundwater withdrawals in 2005 were about 5 percent less than in 2000.
  • Fresh surface-water withdrawals were about the same as in 2000.
  • Withdrawals for public-supply and domestic uses (urban and municipal water supply) have increased steadily since estimates began, but at a slower rate than the increase in population.
  • Thermoelectric-power generation water withdrawals were about 3 percent more than in 2000.  Nearly all of the water withdrawn for thermoelectric power was surface water used for once-through cooling at power plants, but 29 percent of thermoelectric-power withdrawals were saline water from oceans and brackish coastal water bodies. 
  • Irrigation withdrawals in 2005 were about 8 percent less than in 2000 and approximately equal to estimates of irrigation water use in 1970.
  • Irrigated acreage increased from 25 million acres in 1950 to 58 million acres in 1980, then increased in 2000 and 2005 to more than 60 million acres. The number of acres irrigated using sprinkler and micro-irrigation systems has continued to increase and in 2005 accounted for 56 percent of the total irrigated acreage.

According to the report, irrigation water use includes water that is applied by an irrigation system to sustain plant growth in all agricultural and horticultural practices and also includes self supplied landscape irrigation uses such as golf courses, parks, nurseries, turf farms, cemeteries, etc.  Irrigation water use also includes self-supplied withdrawals and deliveries from irrigation companies, irrigation districts, cooperatives, or governmental entities.

The report found that self-supplied industrial water withdrawals continued to decline in 2005, as they have since their peak in 1970. Self-supplied industrial withdrawals decreased by an estimated 30-percent from 1985. Withdrawals for mining were 11 percent less than in 2000, and 18 percent less than in 1990.

Livestock water use was the smallest estimate since 1975, possibly due to the use of standardized coefficients for estimation of animal water needs. Water use for aquaculture was estimated to be nearly four times the amount withdrawn in 1985.

USGS-2005-water-use-trends-1Water Use Trends

The chart at left (reprinted from Figure 13 in the 2005 USGS report) shows estimated fresh water withdrawals in the U.S. from 1950 - 2005 on the first y-axis and US population on the second y-axis.  Freshwater withdrawals in the US peaked in 1980, then declined significantly in 1985 and have held essentially constant, even though population has steadily increased.  Over the past five years, surface water withdrawals have increased slightly while groundwater withdrawals declined.  

Freshwater withdrawals in the US in 2005 are approximately the same as what they were in 1975 - 30 years ago.

USGS-2005-water-use-trends-2The second chart at left (reprinted from Figure 14 in the 2005 USGS report) shows the total water withdrawals from 1950 - 2005 by key categories.  Here it can be seen that reductions in the water withdrawals for thermoelectric power, agricultural irrigation, and "other" uses are largely responsible for the changes in demand estimated since 1980.  Public supply water withdrawals have steadily increased since 1950, but at a slower rate of growth than the population indicating an increase in water use efficiency.

The full report from the USGS provides significant detail on how these estimates were prepared, the components of each category, and key assumptions in the analysis.

California Water Bills:  Now It’s Up to the Voters

CaliforniaLawmakers in California capped months of discussions, weeks of tedious negotiations, and years of chasing a water deal with approval of major legislation in a marathon session that ended as the sun rose.  The legislation was later signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the package includes key bond funding provisions that must be approved by California voters in 2010 before any of the water provisions can be enacted.

The package includes an $11.1 billion bond and would nudge California in new directions on water policy while giving something to each of the major factions that have warred over the state's supplies.  The measure would establish a new statewide program to measure how much water is being pumped from underground aquifers. It mandates an overall 20% reduction in the state's per capita water use by 2020 through conservation, and creates a new, politically appointed council to oversee management of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the state's water hub.

The bond measure would shower money around the state for conservation, new storage, watershed improvements, delta restoration, recycling and groundwater cleanup.  Although a 20% reduction in demand is codified, under the legislation not every water district would have to meet that threshold. Agencies that don't meet targets would be ineligible for state grants and loans. Farm water suppliers would not face targets but would have to submit efficiency plans.

The package's broad scope is, in part, a recognition that the good old days are gone, and that the state must embrace new approaches to meet its water needs.

"This is something that legislatures for decades have tried to take on and have been unable to do so," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. "This Legislature took it on and we were successful."  A fact sheet on the California water legislation is available here.

Appeals Court Opens Door to Higher Appliance Efficiency Standards

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in SFHang on to your laundry, the California has won the latest battle over who is allowed to set efficiency standards.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has overturned the US Department of Energy's (DOE) 2006 denial of a California Energy Commission (CEC) waiver request that would have required more efficient washing machines in California.  The Court has ordered DOE to reconsider its action.

"This is a victory for all Californians. Water is a major and perpetual issue for California - every drop counts," said Karen Douglas, California Energy Commission Chairman. "Clothes washers that use less according to these standards will eventually save enough to supply a city the size of San Diego every year." Douglas said.

Filed in the court in April 2007, the CEC’s lawsuit sought to overturn the DOE action, arguing that the state's washing machine standards would save substantial amounts of electricity, natural gas and water.  The CEC’s efforts were supported by California's local water and energy utilities.

Water efficient washing machines will use on average only 21.1 gallons per wash, or 8,271 gallons a year -- compared to typical models that used an average of 39.2 gallons per wash or 15,366 gallons a year for a normal household three years ago.

While the consumer on average will pay $130 more for a washing machine, savings during the life of the machine will average $242 in lower energy costs and water bills.

Don’t count the water savings yet, however.  The Appeals Court reversed the DOE's denial order and remanded the case back to the DOE for further proceedings to determine if the CEC has met statutory requirements.  A copy of the court's opinion is available here.

WaterSense Releases Draft Specification for Weather-Based Irrigation Controllers

image010WaterSense released its draft specification for weather-based irrigation controllers and the 60-day public comment period is now open. In addition to the 60-day period for written comments there will be three public meetings about the specification.

The first public meeting will take place December 4, 2009 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Central time, at the Irrigation Show 2009 in San Antonio, Texas. Room details will be provided to registered attendees prior to the meeting. Please RSVP to attend by e-mailing the WaterSense Helpline or calling (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367).

Two additional public meetings will be held via teleconference and webinar on December 16, 2009. The first meeting is from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST and the second is 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST. Please note the afternoon meeting may have reached capacity. 

Sustainable Sites Initiative Makes “Case for Sustainable Landscapes”

The Sustainable Sites Initiative, an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden, has developed criteria for sustainable land practices that enable built landscapes to support natural ecological functions by protecting existing ecosystems and regenerating ecological capacity where it has been lost. 

The Case for Sustainable Landscapes provides a set of arguments—economic, environmental, and social—for the adoption of sustainable land practices.  It also provides additional background on the science behind the performance criteria and performance benchmarks in the guidelines, the purpose and principles of the Sustainable Sites Initiative, and a sampling of some of the case studies the Initiative has followed.

After four years of development and public feedback, the Initiative has released the nation’s first rating system for sustainable landscapes.  The rating system contains 15 prerequisites and 51 credits that cover all stages of the site development process from site selection to landscape maintenance.  The public is invited to test and help refine this rating system by submitting pilot projects for consideration. Applications are due by Feb. 15, 2010.

New Colorado Reservoir Lacks Only Water

Reuter-Hess-OutletStructureA massive $230 million reservoir under construction south of Denver currently lacks any water to fill it up, drawing criticism that it will either be an "empty bathtub" or divert the precious unclaimed mountain river flows.

The Rueter-Hess reservoir has been planned for 25 years as part of an effort to supply water to one of the fastest growing regions in the country which currently relies on groundwater that is dropping an estimated 30 feet a year. Most of the water to fill the reservoir will have to be imported, said Frank Jaeger, manager of the Parker Water and Sanitation District, which oversees the project.

Originally, the planners of Rueter-Hess did not expect to need water rights. Overflow of Cherry Creek and natural runoff from the arroyos and ephemeral streambeds surrounding the area were supposed to fill the reservoir.  As the plans for Rueter-Hess enlarged, the idea of the lake filling naturally became more and more unfeasible.

Water could be diverted from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in western Wyoming and routed to Rueter-Hess, one of four plans being considered by state natural resources officials. Such imports would involve a multibillion-dollar pumping and piping scheme, drawing criticism from Eric Kuhn, manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District.

"[Rueter-Hess] is 20 times more expensive, and 10 times as big, as they need," Kuhn said. "It's going to be a little bit of water in a big bathtub."

Jaeger disagrees, stating that the reservoir is crucial for future growth.  "We need steady, controlled growth," he said. "All our needs for a reasonable lifestyle are tied into this."

Learn more at the official Reuter-Hess Reservoir website or read what some critics of the project have to say here.

Study Suggests Link Between Arctic Ice Melt,California Drought

arctic-ice-meltPeriodic thawing of ice caps in the Arctic and warmer global temperatures tended to coincide with long stretches of drought in California as the Earth adjusted to various fluctuations over the past 20,000 years, according to a study from researchers at the University of California, Davis.

Cooler periods in California tend to mean wet weather, while warmer trends bring dry weather, scientists at UC Davis said. And when Arctic sea ice disappears, as it is doing today, the jet stream shifts northward, moving precipitation away from California, the study added.

"If there is a connection to Arctic sea ice, then there are big implications for us in California," said UC Davis geology professor Isabel Montañez, a co-author of the study, who estimated that Arctic sea ice has dropped by about 3 percent a year over the last three decades.

Montañez and Jessica Oster, a doctoral student at UC Davis, analyzed stalagmite formations in the central Sierra Nevada's Moaning Cavern. The mineral formations build up as water drips and end up storing a kind of climate record through trace chemicals that are caught in the stalagmites.

So the researchers were able to look at the formations and determine that California's climate became much drier at the end of the last ice age, which was about 15,000 years ago. Episodes of relative cooling, meanwhile, brought wetter years to California.

"They're like tree rings made out of rock," Montañez explained. "These are the only climate records of this type for California for this period when past global warming was occurring."

She added: "We can't quantify precipitation, but we can see a relative shift from wetter to drier conditions with each episode of warming."

The study, which was financed by the National Science Foundation, was published online in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Queensland Australia Conservation Campaign a Success

Queensland Rainwater tank3Water savings in the Australian state of Queensland have far exceeded expectations thanks to a successful urban residential conservation campaign.  Residential water use plummeted by more than 40 percent from pre-drought levels, according to officials, and the daily residential water consumption is the lowest for any major city in the developed world.

"We changed a lot of things," said Queensland resident Donna Gunn. "We knew we were in a crisis. Now it's a habit, and I'm mindful of not changing the habits we've developed."

Officials began implementing changes upon realizing that in heavily suburban southeast Queensland, residential water soaked up 70 percent of available supplies.

An advertising campaign was launched that encouraged buy-ins from residents for a program that asked them to adopt stricter water-saving measures.  A local radio campaign encouraged Queensland stations to play four-minute "shower songs" to help residents monitor the length of their showers.

The net effect of the effort in Queensland is a significant shift in residential water use patterns and the average daily indoor use is currently 43 gallons per person.  By comparison the average daily per person indoor use in the United States is between 60 and 70 gallons per person per day.  Read more about the Queensland conservation effort here.

New Books Suggest Economic Systems and Growth Fail the Planet

Two new books on climate change and the causes of the crisis suggest the current model of ceaseless economic growth isn’t sustainable.  According to the authors, efforts to combat climate change will remain hobbled because of the failure of the economic system to give the planet's environment a value and actions that harm it a cost.

Tim Jackson's book "Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet" is the bolder of the two new publications. Jackson, economics commissioner on the U.K. government's Sustainable Development Commission advisory body, argues that the whole economic model is broken and in need of replacement. "The existing economic model is unsustainable. We cannot afford the economic output that we currently have," he asserted earlier this month at the launch of his book.

Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford University and head of the academic panel of advisers to the United Kingdom's environment department, has recently published, "The Economics and Politics of Climate Change."  In his book, Helm calls for a thorough overhaul of the economic model that puts all its faith in gross domestic product and ignores asset values -- particularly ecological assets.

"We need to look at net national product, not gross national product," Helm said. "We must take an asset-based view so that you include depreciation of those assets."  He goes on to state that the major factor holding back progress on tackling the climate crisis is that politicians have tried to sell the idea that action will be relatively cheap.

News Briefs and Web Links

  • Judge Nixes Las Vegas Pipeline Plan - The Southern Nevada Water Authority's plan to pipe water from an area near the Utah border to Las Vegas has been shot down by a district judge who said the decision was made "capriciously and oppressively."  Judge Norman Robison, in a sharply worded order issued last week, overturned a 2008 state ruling giving the authority permission to draw from three valleys in central Lincoln County. Robison said State Engineer Tracy Taylor "abused his discretion" and "acted arbitrarily" when he authorized more than 6 billion gallons of groundwater a year to be pumped from Cave, Delamar and Dry Lake valleys.  Decisions to transport groundwater out of a basin traditionally require "specific empirical data," said the senior judge from Gardnerville. Taylor was "simply hoping for the best while committing to undo his decision if the worst occurs," Robison wrote. Authority officials are likely to challenge the decision, which spokesman Scott Huntley called "flat-out wrong."
  • Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act Approved by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee - The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has approved the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733) containing significant water efficiency provisions. The bill contains language which authorizes WaterSense, directs federal agencies to make cost-effective water-efficient procurement decisions, and authorizes grants to eligible entities for programs offering incentives to consumers who purchase and install water efficient products and services. For more about this exciting development visit the AWE Legislative Watch page.
  • California Finishes Water Year With Reservoirs at 69% of Average – The latest drought update from California gives a unflinching assessment of water supplies in the state.  California will enter the 2009-2010 Water Year with its key supply reservoirs at only 69 percent of average.  Read the full drought update here.
  • Climate Change Adaptation Cost Estimate Released - A report released by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has estimated that the total cost of water and wastewater utility climate adaptation efforts in the U.S. through 2050 to be between $448 billion and $944 billion.  The estimate was devised by CH2M Hill after examining the projected regional impacts of climate change on water resources.
  • Southwest Hydrology Publishes Conservation Issue The respected academic water journal, Southwest Hydrology, has published an entire issue dedicated to water conservation.  The issue includes articles by conservation experts such as Peter Gleick, Bill DeOreo, Ronnie Cohen, and Cheri Vogel to name a few.  Check it out.
  • WaterSense Fix a Leak Week Media Event Competition - WaterSense is holding a media event competition for its Fix a Leak Week campaign. Fix a Leak Week runs from March 15-21, 2010. Promotional partners are encouraged to submit ideas for a co-hosted media event that raises awareness of the potential water savings from repaired leaks. The deadline for submittal is December 18, 2009. For more details click here.
  • Craft Brewer Water Conservation Conference Taps AWE Expertise - "Simply put, beer is 92% water," said Wisconsin Commerce Secretary Richard Leinenkugel, who hails from one of the nation's oldest breweries, the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co.  Discussed at a Brewer Water Conservation conference in October in Milwaukee, water scarcity rapidly is becoming a concern for brewers as water supplies tighten in regions as diverse as Atlanta, southern California and Waukesha, making water an ever-more precious and pricey commodity.  Tom Pape, technical advisor to AWE and Master Brewer, was a speaker at the conference. 
  • Despite the Droughts of 2009, a Wet October Breaks Records in US - The USA sloshed through its wettest October on record, the federal government's National Climatic Data Center reported.  The nationwide precipitation of 4.15 inches was nearly double the long-term average of 2.11 inches, the center noted in an online report. Precipitation was most extreme in the central USA, where three states — Iowa, Arkansas, and Louisiana — saw their wettest October ever. Only three out of the 50 U.S. states had below-average amounts of rain and snow: Florida, Utah, and Arizona.  In addition to the damp, October was also extremely cool, measuring the third-coldest since records began in 1895. The average national temperature of 50.8 degrees was 4 degrees below average. Only the Octobers of 1976 and 1925 were cooler.  Read more here.
  • Wet Year in Colorado’s Arkansas River Valley - There has been more precipitation in the Arkansas Valley region this year than any year since 1990, as measured at the official National Weather Service station at the Pueblo Memorial Airport. It may take a while for the water to have a significant impact as the region is recovering from a moisture deficit that began in 2001 and continued until severe blizzards in 2007 broke the spell.
  • Abstracts Now Accepted for WaterSmart Innovations 2010 - Experts in the field of water efficiency are invited to submit abstracts for the third WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition, slated for October 6-8, 2010, in Las Vegas, NV.  The deadline for submitting abstracts is Friday, January 29, 2010.
  • California Irrigation Institute Conference “Running on Empty, Thinking Outside the Tank” to be Held February 1-2, 2010 - The 48th Annual California Irrigation Institute Conference will be held February 1-2, 2010 in Sacramento, CA. To learn more about the California Irrigation Institute's conference and to register click here.
  • Xeriscape Council 2010 Conference and Exposition - The Xeriscape Council will once again host its excellent conference and exposition, which will take place February 27-28, 2010 in Albuquerque, NM. This is a conference not to be missed, with nationally recognized experts and inspiring speeches. For more details on their terrific speaker lineup and to register click here. Please note that AWE is partnering with the Xeriscape Council on this event and AWE Annual Members are eligible for a special rate when registering to attend the conference and have a booth. Please contact Scott Varner of the Xeriscape Council to sign up for this special rate. 
  • Save the Date: AWE Water Efficiency Networking Event at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium - Mark your Calendar for the Alliance for Water Efficiency's evening networking event on Monday, June 21, 2010 at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL. This event will be held in conjunction with AWWA's 2010 Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE10). More information to follow.
  • Building Design and Construction Issues White Paper on Green Buildings and Water Performance This new white paper (one of seven produced by Building Design and Construction) focuses on the role of water in sustainable design and construction.
  • Waterless Urinal Research from Down Under – World Plumbing Information (WPI) reports on new research on waterless urinals.  According to WPI, the National Plumbing Regulators Forum for Australia and New Zealand formed the Australasian Scientific Review of Reduction of Flows on Plumbing and Drainage Systems Committee to conduct research into the potential effects reduced flows from waterless urinals might be having on drainage systems.  The first stage of the ASFlow project was to conduct research into the impacts of waterless urinal discharges. The project committee has conducted a number of laboratory and field tests which have identified the potential for fitting and drainline blockages from Struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate).  Struvite is the main scale material which builds up immediately downstream of waterless urinals causing major blockages when not properly managed.  The trials have shown added flows to main pipes servicing waterless urinals will prevent rapid build-up of Struvite but highlighted the need for on-going maintenance of the urinal’s outlet pipe at regular intervals to control the build-up of Struvite.
  • Texas Researchers Explore Native Grass Varieties – Researchers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas at Austin, has been searching -- with some success -- for blends of native grasses that make for attractive, drought-resistant lawns with less of an ecological footprint.  The scientists have developed a blend of seven species of native, thin-bladed grasses. They tested this native grass against buffalo and Bermuda grass species and a combination of the two.  The early results are promising: The blend of natural grasses established itself much better than Bermuda grass, more effectively suppressed weeds, had a higher density and required less mowing because it grew more slowly. It also proved to be more drought-tolerant.
  • South Florida to Try New Irrigation Rules - Water managers in Florida have approved placing most of South Florida on year-round, three-day-a-week watering restrictions, although legal objections from water utilities and usually dry weather could delay the new rules from taking effect until well into 2010.  The new rules would replace emergency two-day-a-week restrictions that have been in effect through most of the region since the onset of a two-year drought in 2007.  The new rules will not apply in Miami-Dade County, which enacted its own twice-weekly rules.  If drought persists the new rules may not be enacted.  Since the dry season started in October, the region has received only about a third of its usual rainfall for this time of year.  Read more here.
  • Six Families Move into New Florida Water Star Homes - Six first-time homebuyers will live in new water-conserving, affordable homes in Wimauma's Hidden Creek community. They were presented with their keys during a Nov. 5 ceremony.  The new homes were the first in Hillsborough County to be certified by the Florida Water Star Gold program, a collaboration between the Southwest Florida Water Management District and Florida Home Partnership, a nonprofit builder.  Read more about the program and Florida Water Star here.
  • New UK Report Supports Use of Humor in Public Message Campaigns -  A new report from the UK Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr), Consumer Power: How the public thinks lower-carbon behavior could be made mainstream, finds that climate change communications are turning people off.  It seems people are aware but bored and suspicious of government, doubtful of their own ability to make an impact, resentful about being made to feel guilty, and dismissive of “greens”.  One of the report’s many recommendations is to make climate change communications fun and humorous in order to capture and sustain the attention of mainstream consumers.  Maybe it’s time to resurrect Monty Python’s “deceased” parrot…
  • Canadian Non-Profits Team for Water Conservation Campaign - The Sierra Club of Canada and the POLIS Water Sustainability Project will launch the community-based water conservation campaign ActionH2O in early 2010. This multiyear initiative (funded by RBC's Blue Water Project) hopes to save litres by growing water leaders in local governments across Canada through the development of tools, pilot projects and focused water conservation outreach and engagement.  Learn more here.
  • Is Smart Water in Your Future? - A new report from Lux Research promotes water management as a way to reduce costs and conserve water. Studies have shown that just by seeing their electricity consumption data, people will curb consumption by as much as 15%. It is thought that similar savings are possible with water. The issue is developing the technologies and creating a smart water grid. Currently a $530 million market (according to Lux), the smart water grid, like the smart electricity grid, offers a wide range of opportunities for businesses to become involved. These include water mapping, water infrastructure, water quality monitoring, smart meters and smart irrigation.  The question remains: can smart water overcome the foibles of silly people?
  • Colorado Water Institute Offers In-Depth Look at Water Issues – The Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University offers some of the richest and most detailed on-line information about water, policy, and law in Colorado.  The bi-monthly newsletter, “Colorado Water”, is a useful resource and all past issues are available on-line.
  • Janesville Wisconsin adopts water conservation rates - The Janesville Water Utility is the latest Wisconsin water provider to adopt rates designed to encourage water conservation and efficiency.  The Utility recently approved an inclining block rate structure for residential customers.  Under the approved rates, residential customers will be charged $0.95 per 100 cubic feet for the first 1,500 cubic feet (approximately 11,000 gallons) used in a quarter and up to $1.65 per 100 cubic feet for higher usage.  The utility implemented this rate structure to encourage conservation and to allow customers to save money on their water bills by reducing their usage.  The utility is also developing a comprehensive water conservation program that may include outreach and education, rebates for high efficiency toilets, and water audits.  More information is available here.
  • AWE Provides Summary of Residential End Uses of Water Study – The Alliance for Water Efficiency has posted a summary of key results from the 1999 Residential End Uses of Water study (REUWS) that has recently gone out of print.
  • In Yemen, Water Crisis Linked to Islamic Militancy - Several groups of home-grown insurgents and a branch of Al Qaeda are threatening Yemen's government, a fact that is directly related to the country's water crisis, pointed out Minister of Water and Environment Abdul Rahman Al Eryani. Much of the rising militancy, he argued, is a conflict over water, land, or oil resources, and a study at Sana'a University bears him out: researchers calculated that 70-80% of all rural conflicts in Yemen were related to water.
  • Australia Rejects $1.3 Billion Dam - Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett (former lead singer for the band Midnight Oil) has announced his decision to reject the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam after concluding that the impacts on threatened species including the lung fish - the only fish that can walk on land - and the Mary River turtle would be too great.   Read more here.
  • Eco-Rate Offers Product Rating Comparison – A new web site Eco-rate provides comparisons of products and technologies and purports to weigh the environmental and economic costs of product ownership.  The site also features a zip code based rebate finder. 
  • Shower “Experience” Products Potential Antidote to Conservation – The availability and popularity of water-intensive shower/bath “experience” products that deliver high flow rates through multiple emitters continues, much to the consternation of many conservation professionals.  Will products like the Ariel 701 Steam Shower and Jacuzzi negate hard-won conservation gains from low-flow showerheads and low volume toilets?  Stay tuned.

How to Submit Content for Water Efficiency Watch

Water Efficiency Watch welcomes submission of articles, photos, stories, commentary, new technologies, web links, etc.  Please e-mail your submission to Peter Mayer – mayer@aquacraft.com.

DISCLAIMER: The Alliance for Water Efficiency reports on research and information as a service. This should not be considered an explicit or implicit endorsement of any product, service, research effort, analysis, etc. unless specifically so indicated.