Welcome from the Chair of the AWE Board of Directors
2017 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Alliance for Water Efficiency. No longer a fledgling organization, the Alliance has proven itself to be an indispensable resource for organizations that seek to better understand and work towards a safe and efficient water future. This important milestone provides an opportune time to take a moment to look back and take inventory of the many important accomplishments that the Alliance and its members have achieved in our first decade of existence.
Take, for example, the Financing Sustainable Water initiative that continues to provide groundbreaking resources to help water utility systems be water efficient and revenue stable at the same time. Or the Home Water Works website, which educates the consumer on wise water use and has the most accurate water calculator available. Consider the dozens of meaningful research studies that have been conducted on diverse issues such as the water – energy nexus, state water efficiency policies, demand hardening, lessons from the Australian millennium drought, graywater cost effectiveness, job creation from water efficiency programs, market instruments for addressing utility revenue risk, and water efficiency opportunities in industrial water use. In 2016, the Alliance completed work on an innovative model ordinance that provides a policy framework for water neutral community development, which can be utilized by municipalities beginning in 2017.
Of course, the above merely scratches the surface on the great body of work that’s been achieved in our first decade, and perhaps the best recognition of the Alliance’s many accomplishments was being awarded the prestigious US Water Prize from our peers at the U.S. Water Alliance in 2014.
However, as we afford ourselves the gratification of looking back at a job well done to date, we must do so briefly, as the challenges that await us in the Alliance’s second decade are more profound than ever. Achieving new levels of efficiency through ‘low-hanging fruit’ initiatives such as continuing to lower the consumption levels of plumbing products and appliances are mostly a think of the past. Today, we are seeing some indications of unintended consequences of water efficiency, such as the increasing emergence of opportunistic pathogen growth in premise plumbing systems which threaten water quality in homes and buildings. Research supported by the Alliance also indicates that we are approaching a tipping point in the continued performance of building sanitary drains and sewers due to water flow withdrawals. New efficiencies will require smarter initiatives that take into account a more holistic view of how water is extracted, treated, distributed and safely used and re-used.
The great news is that there’s no organization that’s better prepared to address these complex challenges effectively than the Alliance for Water Efficiency. With a diverse and active membership from all stakeholder sectors of the water community and an amazingly talented and dedicated staff, I’m confident that the outcomes resulting from the next 10 years of Alliance activities will yield an even greater portfolio of accomplishments that work to address the needs of our membership.
As the Chair of the Alliance, if you’re already a member, I thank you for your contributions and I hope we can count on you to continue your work with us. If you are new to the Alliance or are considering membership, I look forward to welcoming YOU to join us on our mission to help secure a safe water future for our country and our planet.
Chair, AWE Board of Directors