A Message from the Chair of the AWE Board of Directors

thumb_IMG_0474_10242018 was a year full of remarkable accomplishments for AWE. The year began with the U.S EPA’s WaterSense® program under yet another ill-considered threat for discontinuance from budget hawks in Washington. And once again, the Alliance stepped up and led a diverse group of stakeholders in an advocacy effort that not only saved the program for another year, but resulted in the authorization of the program going forward. With the October signing of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 by President Trump, WaterSense will qualify for annual appropriations every year rather than relying on the EPA administrator’s discretionary funding. 

Our efforts were not lost on the U.S. EPA as the Agency recognized the Alliance with its Strategic Collaboration Award for its contributions to WaterSense and for promoting water efficiency in 2017. What a great outcome after a decade of advocating for the authorization of the WaterSense Program.

While this was a great result and protects WaterSense from the threat of discontinuance that it has faced for the past two years, our work is far from done. Going forward, advocacy efforts will shift from saving the program to ensuring WaterSense has the annual budget it needs to enhance current programs and develop new ones that help our nation become increasingly water efficient. 

In another advocacy victory for the Alliance, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) convened a workshop in August towards the development of a prioritized research roadmap on premise plumbing issues. I attended this workshop along with AWE technical consultant Tom Pape. The discussions were vibrant and comprehensive and the Alliance looks forward to working with the Institute toward the completion of the roadmap and, hopefully, further consideration for conducting desperately needed research at NIST.

Of course, 2018 saw many other accomplishments from the Alliance. To name just a few, the board of directors completed the development of our 2018-2020 Strategic Plan that will inform both current and potential members of our core values and strategic goals for the next few years. Please check it out here! Earlier in the year, the Alliance issued the updated Water Efficiency and Conservation State Scorecard providing a review of the most effective State laws that promote the efficient use of water. Importantly, our work to formalize our agreement with the California Water Efficiency Partnership’s is concluding with CalWEP becoming the first Chapter of AWE.

I’d like to give a congratulatory shout out to my friend and past AWE Board Member Glen Pleasance for receiving the Water Star Award at the Water Smart Innovation conference in October. Glen’s career long achievements and his contributions to the Alliance qualify him as an unsung hero of water efficiency deserving of AWE’s highest award.

As the Alliance sets is sights on 2019 and beyond, one thing is certain; there will be no shortage of challenges and opportunities for AWE. However, with our talented staff and dedicated members, I know the Alliance will deliver great results to its members once again and our nation’s water future will be will be better assured through our collective efforts. Thank you in advance for all you do.

Pete DeMarco
Chair, AWE Board of Directors