Water Efficiency Watch

News from the Alliance for Water Efficiency


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

In this issue of Water Efficiency Watch...

 $50,000 Challenge Grant to Support AWE 

Donate-Now-2A $50,000 challenge grant has been awarded by a private foundation to support AWE’s project work to create a national land use ordinance that will help communities support sustainable growth by allowing water offsets for new development.  Every dollar contributed as match will go 200% toward to the goal of raising the overall $100,000 goal.   

“We are very grateful for the receipt of this challenge grant,” said President and CEO Mary Ann Dickinson.  By raising the matching funds over the next few months AWE will be able to ensure completion of this innovative project.  And because AWE is as a 501(c)(3), all contributions toward this project will be fully tax-deductible under Federal IRS law.”  

For information on how to donate to this important project, click here

 Dickinson Elected GBI Director 

Mary_Ann_Dickinson_1The Green Building Initiative (GBI) Board of Directors announced that it has elected Mary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, as a Director.

"The Alliance for Water Efficiency has joined the GBI board to help elevate the importance of water efficiency in green building specifications. We are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of GBI's excellent team of green building industry leaders," said Dickinson about her appointment.

“There is no more respected water conservation authority in the US than Mary Ann Dickinson,” said Jerry Yudelson, GBI President and the author of Dry Run, a 2010 book on water conservation for green buildings.  "It’s a great benefit and an honor for GBI to have her on our Board. We need her expertise to help us craft building rating systems that appropriately focus on solutions to water issues."

Mary Ann Dickinson is the President and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the efficient and sustainable use of water in the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Chicago, the Alliance works with nearly 400 water utilities, water conservation professionals in business and industry, planners, regulators, and consumers. In 2014 the Alliance won the U.S. Water Prize in the non-profit category for its work.

Prior to joining the Alliance in July of 2007, Dickinson was Executive Director of the California Urban Water Conservation Council. She has more than 40 years of water resources experience and has worked at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority, and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

Learn more about GBI and the GBI Directors here

 Two AWE Water Rates Workshops Set for January in California 

FSW LogoDesigning rates that provide stable revenue while still sending customers an effective price signal to improve efficiency is a tremendous challenge.  Anyone involved or interested in utility rate setting efforts should plan to attend one of AWE’s workshops on setting conservation-oriented water rates that meet multiple objectives. The workshops are part of AWE’s Financing Sustainable Water initiative.

Learn from experts and peers. Water utility finance and senior management, conservation departments, and concerned citizens will find these workshops useful as well. The $25 per person, includes lunch.  The workshop schedule is as follows:

Northern California 

  • PG&E Pacific Energy Center, San Francisco
  • Thursday, January 15, 2015

Southern California 

  • Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Learn more and get registration information here

 Drought Response: $40 million Added to Southern California Rebate Program 

 MWDSC LogoIn response to California’s record drought, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California added $40 million to its conservation rebate budget to keep pace with unparalleled public demand.

Recent rain has been helpful, but it will take even more to quench the drought. If drought conditions persist, the board could consider triggering an allocation plan in the first quarter of 2015. 

“By taking this action today, we are better prepared to manage water shortages should the situation worsen.” said MWD board Chairman Randy Record.

The decision to increase the district’s conservation incentive budget from $60 million to

$100 million during the ongoing drought marks the second time this year Metropolitan’s board has boosted funding for water-saving rebates. Last February, the board added $20 million to

Metropolitan’s conservation budget, which brought the total to $60 million.

The combination of heightened public drought awareness, the need to conserve and the expanded rebate options—particularly turf removal—has generated extraordinary demand from consumers and businesses for water-savings incentives.

“We’ve never experienced anything like it,” said Metropolitan General Manager Jeff Kightlinger.  “Last year, we spent a total of $18.6 million on our entire conservation budget. Driven by the public’s response to the increased turf removal incentive, overall rebate requests are already more than nine times the total rebates paid last year.”

 Congress Passes Water for the World Act with Strong Bipartisan Support 

congress-flagIn an extraordinary bipartisan effort, on December 15 the U.S. Senate approved the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014 by unanimous consent.  The Water for the World Act will build upon the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005, which established access to safe drinking water and sanitation as a priority of America's foreign policy.

The Water for the World Act is a cost-free approach with potential positive impacts on health, food security and nutrition, environmental quality, girls' and women's empowerment, and economic development across the globe. It calls for an increase in monitoring and evaluation of projects, particularly after the implementation phase, and ensuring that programming is targeted to help the world's poorest.  Learn more here

 CII 2015 Conference - California Water: Are We Racing to the Bottom? 

cli-logo-2015The California Irrigation Institute’s 2015 conference will be held February 2-3, 2015 in Sacramento, CA.  This year’s event will focus on the monumental water management challenges facing California. Water is moving in new ways and places due to ongoing drought, pivotal groundwater legislation and a new water bond. 

This event is an excellent opportunity to hear from water leaders around California on strategies to manage precious water supplies.  Learn more and register here

 Comment Period on New Plumbing Standards Closes 12/29/14 

IapmoJust in time for the holidays, the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) has opened a 20 day comment period on standards for the following products:

  • Excess-Flow Shutoff Devices – applies to in-line water shutoff devices such as leak detection and shutoff units.
  • Hybrid Urinals with High-Efficiency Drain-Cleansing Feature
  • Performance Requirements for LED Lights and Generators for Shower Heads, Hand-Held Showers, and Aerators
  • Water Manifold Systems – for hot water heating systems.
  • Dielectric Fittings
  • Tileable Shower Receptors and Shower Kits

Learn more about each product category and submit comments here

 DOE Updates 

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Residential Dishwasher Standards Issued 

DOE LogoOn Dec. 10, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued notice of proposed rulemaking concerning energy conservation standards for Residential Dishwashers.  The notice also announces a public meeting will be held at the DOE offices in Washington DC on Thursday, February 5, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST. Webinar attendance is offered. Documents and info are available.

Draft Guidance on Test Procedures for Residential Clothes Washers, Clothes Dryers, and Dishwashers Issued 

The DOE has issued a draft guidance concerning test procedures for residential clothes washers, clothes dryers, and dishwashers.  Comment period on this draft document ends 1/1/2015.  Get more information and submit comments here

Final Rule Regarding Test Procedures for Commercial Clothes Washers Issued 

In early December, the DOE published a final rule concerning test procedures for commercial clothes washers - 79 FR 71624 .  All notices, public comments, public meeting transcripts, and supporting documents associated with this rulemaking are included in Docket No. EERE-2013-BT-TP-0002.

 WaterSense Releases Draft Specification for Commercial Flushometer Valve Toilets 

fixtures_flushometer_iStock_000008575673XSmallOn December 18 EPA WaterSense released a draft specification for commercial flushometer valve toilets

Flushometer-valve toilets are typically found in commercial, institutional, or industrial restrooms, in such places as airports, theaters, stadiums, schools, and office buildings. These types of toilets have two main components–the toilet bowl and the flushometer valve.

WaterSense estimates that there are nearly 27 million flushometer–valve toilets currently installed in the United States. Many of the older flushometer–valve toilets currently installed use 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) or more—far more water than the federal standard of 1.6 gpf. With many of these models reaching the end of their useful life, replacing them with more efficient models could result in significant water savings. If commercial facilities nationwide replaced all of their older, inefficient flushometer–valve toilets with high–efficiency versions, it would save an estimated 41 billion gallons of water per year.

With this draft specification, EPA is proposing a maximum flush volume of 1.28 gpf for both single–and dual–flush flushometer–valve toilets—a 20 percent savings over the federal standard of 1.6 gpf. Like all WaterSense labeled products, flushometer–valve toilets will be required to be independently certified for performance to ensure they can handle typical commercial waste loads.  Learn more here

 AMI Symposium Set for February in Northern California  

CUWCCThe California Urban Water Conservation Council will hold on February 26, 2015 an AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) Symposium which will provide an excellent opportunity to learn about this metering and communication technology and how it can be used for water conservation purposes.  Additional topics include: economic considerations, and practical advice from utility and industry representatives. Attendees will have an opportunity to network with peers in round table discussions. Receive up to three contact hours for California distribution or treatment certifications. Learn more and register here

 Proposed Desal Plant Rejected by NY Regulators 

 Blue City_web_1A proposed water-supply project by a Suez Environment Co. (SEV) subsidiary for the first desalination plant on the Hudson River north of New York City was rejected this month by the state utility regulator.

The New York Public Service Commission instead ordered a study of alternatives at a meeting in the state capital Albany. Suez, Europe’s second-largest publicly traded water company, argued a plant in Haverstraw by its United Water unit could meet a forecast surge in potable water demand for 1 cent a gallon (3.8 cents a liter).

“Due to changed circumstances, there was no longer an immediate need for a new water-supply source,” the PSC said in a statement. The project, first proposed in 2007, was based on a study the previous year that “overestimated” current water use, commission staff reported in May, adding that a water shortage may occur as early as 2020.

Costs for the 7.5 million-gallon a day plant, pumping station and water intakes were in the $139.2 million to $189.3 million range.  Learn more here

 Re-Municipalization of Water Utilities:  Market Trend? 

Privatizing water supplies may be on the wane.  According to the American City and County e-newsletter, since 2003 various U.S. municipalities (including Atlanta and Indianapolis) have reclaimed control of their water supplies, ending public private partnerships (PPPs) in those cities.

According to a new report, Troubled Waters: Misleading industry PR and the case for public water, from the Corporate Accountability International and the Public Services International Research Unit, 33 cities have re-municipalized (or taken back control of) their water systems – five in the past year. In 2014, 10 more have set the legal wheels in motion to regain control. Globally, the number of cities re-municipalizing water exceeds 100.

Learn more and download a copy of the study here

 USBR WaterSMART Grants Due by January 23  

usbrGet those proposals ready.  The United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) will be accepting grant application under the WaterSMART program until January 23, 2015. 

The USBR WaterSMART Program focuses on improving water conservation, sustainability and helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use. It identifies strategies to ensure that this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, economic activities, recreation and ecosystem health. The program also identifies adaptive measures to address climate change and its impact on future water demands.  Learn more here

 Water Crisis: Groundwater Depletion Poses Serious Threat 

Lesley Stahl, from CBS 60 Minutes program reported on disturbing new evidence that our planet's groundwater is being pumped out much faster than it can be replenished.

View the 60 Minutes segment here

 Top Water Efficiency Stories of 2014 

 2014 was a big year for water efficiency and AWE.  Here are the top stories covered in Water Efficiency Watch from the past year.

USGS Finds 13% Reduction from 2005-2013 

USGS-report-cover-SMWater use in the United States in 2010 was estimated to be about 355 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d), which was 13 percent less than in 2005 and the lowest in 45 years, according the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The new report from USGS, Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2010 provides useful detailed data, and found that total withdrawals are at the lowest level since before 1970. 

California Drought Conditions Worsen 

CaliforniaTo cope with its deepening drought, the State of California adopted on July 15, 2014 an emergency resolution and regulation which mandates minimum actions by water providers to curb water waste and conserve water.  Water leaders in California became concerned when analysis showed that voluntary demand management measures had not succeeded in cutting demand.  In spite of heavy rains which drenched the state in December, the drought situation remains critical.

Colorado Passes WaterSense Legislation 

Colorado State FlagMore states are seeking to improve water efficiency by reducing flush volumes and flow rates.  On April 4, the Colorado Legislature approved Senate Bill 103, phasing in the sale of WaterSense labeled water fixtures. Governor John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law.  With this legislation, Colorado joins Georgia, Texas, and California in mandating that only high-efficiency, performance-tested fixtures be sold throughout the state.  The goal of this type of legislation is to help ensure that new homes and businesses are built to be water efficient from the start and will save a significant volume of water over time.

AWE wins US Water Prize 

US_Water_Prize_logoThe Alliance for Water Efficiency won the 2014 US Water Prize in the non-profit category.  The prestigious award is given annually by the US Water Alliance to organizations that engage in sustainable solutions and advance holistic, watershed-based approaches to water quality and quantity challenges. In announcing the award, AWE was described as a "leading force for education and advocacy." The prize was awarded on April 7 at the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, DC. 

Amy Vickers is 2014 Water Star 

WS-awards-VickersIn October, the Alliance for Water Efficiency presented Amy Vickers with its coveted annual Water Star Award, an award intended to reward individual excellence in water efficiency.  Vickers was honored for over 25 years of achievements in the water efficiency field.  Amy Vickers is a nationally recognized water conservation and efficiency expert, engineer, and author of the award-winning Handbook of Water Use and Conservation.  She is also recognized as having spearheaded the inclusion of plumbing standards in the 1992 U.S. Energy Policy Act, which has saved the nation trillions of gallons of water over the past twenty years.

AWE Launches Financing Sustainable Water initiative 

FSW-Logo-SmrIn September, the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) launched Financing Sustainable Water, an initiative created to help water managers build better rate structures that improve revenue stability, yet encourage resource efficiency. Aimed at combatting the common misperception that conservation makes rates rise, the Financing Sustainable Water initiative was designed to provide helpful tools and data to water managers, elected officials, and consumers.

WaterSense issues NOI to label sprinkler nozzles 

WaterSense Logo (gif)In an effort to reduce outdoor water use and add a significant new product category to its water efficient line-up, WaterSense issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to develop a specification for landscape irrigation sprinklers. Nationally, outdoor water use accounts for about 30 percent of average household water use.  The EPA hopes this NOI will complement the specification for irrigation control technologies, as well as the ongoing work WaterSense is doing with irrigation professionals.

Kelly Kopp succeeds Carole Baker as AWE Chair 

 Kelly-Kopp-prize-smThe Alliance for Water Efficiency's guiding spirit, Board Chair Carole Baker, stepped down after seven years leading the non-profit organization.  She left AWE in the capable hands of Kelly Kopp, a Professor from Utah State University who served on the AWE Board of Directors since its inception.  Carole Baker, Executive Director of the Texas Water Foundation, has been the AWE Board Chair ever since the organization was founded in January 2007.   Her leadership put AWE on the map right out of the gate, and helped the organization to raise seed funding, do meaningful work, and establish a basis for future growth.

News Briefs and Web Links 

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 – peter.mayer@waterdm.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.