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...

 AWE Co-Moderates White House Roundtable Discussion on Stretching Water Supply

whitehouse-washington-DCAWE co-moderated a December 15 White House Roundtable Discussion on water innovation and stretching current supplies.  AWE President and CEO Mary Ann Dickinson co-moderated a discussion with Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resourses and Environment, Ann Mills, on stretching our current water supplies.

 This dialogue touched on the opportunities for water efficiency across residential, commercial and agricultural sectors, as well as how the United States can accelerate adoption of these innovations, and the anticipated barriers to their implementation. Other topics of discussion included: Increasing innovation in water technology and markets, current and future water supply challenges, and technology as a solution. In conjunction with the Roundtable, The White House released a report highlighting its new water innovation strategy. Get the full report on the discussion here. 

The United States is further addressing water issues with the White House Water Summit, to be held on United Nations World Water Day, March 22, 2016. This summit aims to raise awareness of water challenges and devise potential strategies to help build a sustainable and secure water future for the United States. The White House is inviting organizations to highlight steps being taken to address issues such as drought or flooding, water availability or quality, water-use efficiency, water security, relevant ecological concerns, or other topics pertaining to America’s water future. Learn more about the event here. 

 2015 Was Hottest Year Ever Recorded…by A Lot 

planet-earth-globeScientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have announced that 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history by far, breaking a record set only the year before — a burst of heat that has continued into 2016 and is impacting weather patterns all over the world.

As reported in the New York Times, in the continental United States, the year was the second-warmest on record, punctuated by a December that was both the hottest and the wettest since record-keeping began. One result has been a wave of unusual winter floods coursing down the Mississippi River watershed.

Scientists started predicting a global temperature record months ago, in part because an El Niño weather pattern, one of the largest in a century, is dumping an immense amount of heat from the Pacific Ocean into the atmosphere. But the bulk of the record-setting heat, they say, is a consequence of the long-term planetary warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases.

“The whole system is warming up, relentlessly,” said Gerald A. Meehl, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

It will take a few more years to know for certain, but the back-to-back records of 2014 and 2015 may have put the world back onto a trajectory of rapid global warming, after period of relatively slow warming dating to the last powerful El Niño, in 1998.

Politicians attempting to claim that greenhouse gases are not a problem seized on that slow period to argue that “global warming stopped in 1998” and similar statements, with these claims reappearing recently on the Republican presidential campaign trail.

Statistical analysis suggested all along that the claims were false, and the slowdown was, at most, a minor blip in an inexorable trend, perhaps caused by a temporary increase in the absorption of heat by the Pacific Ocean.  Read the full story here. 

 AWE Welcomes Five New Board Members 

The Alliance for Water Efficiency Board of Directors is welcoming five new Directors of AWE to a 3-year term expiring in 2018.

“The Alliance is thrilled to welcome these accomplished and highly qualified leaders to our Board,” said Mary Ann Dickinson, President and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency. “As the Alliance expands our work to address immediate scarcity challenges and to sustain water supplies for the future, we must continue to create bridges between all stakeholder groups involved in the management of our water resources. These Directors are leaders from the utility, policy, academic, non-profit and private sectors and bring to the Alliance mission strong track records of implementing collaborative and innovative solutions.”


The new AWE Directors are:

TomTom Heikkinen - General Manager of the City of Madison Water Utility. Tom provides executive leadership and direction over all aspects of water utility operation serving a city of 240,000 people. He has instituted numerous innovative initiatives, including a utility-wide Advanced Metering Infrastructure and industry-leading public outreach and water conservation program.  

Pete Silva - President of Silva-Silva International, an engineering consulting firm specializing in water resources management in San Diego, CA. Pete brings nearly 40 years of professional Peteexperience in the water and wastewater fields, including expertise in US-Mexico trans-border water issues. He has been appointed by two CA Governors to terms as Vice-Chair of the Water Resources Control Board. He has also received two presidential appointments, including one by President Barack Obama to the post of EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water.

MontyMonty Simus - Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Water Politics, a leading geopolitical risk advisory and consulting firm dedicated to the analysis of the environmental, political, social, security and economic issues related to the scarcity of, competition over, and sharing of limited freshwater resources.  Monty is currently a Senior Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard focusing on research related to the water-energy-food nexus, and recently founded AgResilience, an innovative technology company committed to improving water availability and boosting food security in developing/emerging countries. 

JenniferJennifer Walker - Water Resources Program Coordinator for the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.  Jennifer focuses on statewide water policy issues with an emphasis on state and regional water planning, water conservation, demand management, and bay and estuary protection issues. She serves on various water conservation and efficiency focused committees and task forces in Texas, including the Austin Integrated Water Resource Planning Task Force, of which she is the Vice-Chair.

CarolCarol Ward-Morris - Assistant Director of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA). Carol has been an advocate for cost-effective water efficiency in Arizona since 1996.  She is responsible for the development, evaluation, management, and advancement of AMWUA's regional water conservation, efficiency, and sustainability efforts and serves as alternate co-chair of the Municipal and Industrial Conservation and Reuse Workgroup of the Moving Forward Process  

carol_baker_smallIn 2015, the Alliance Board also expressed deep appreciation to Carole Baker, who is transitioning off the Board, for her eight years of service and contributions as Alliance Board Chair. Ms. Baker is the President and CEO of the Texas Water Foundation.


 Water Use In Madison, WI Lowest in 47 Years 

Madison WI aerialMadison, Wisconsin has 81,000 more people than it had in 1968, but data show the city is using about the same amount of water. In 2015, for the first time in 47 years, annual water use in Madison dropped below 10 billion gallons as the Madison Water Utility pumped 9.98 billion gallons of water from our aquifer to homes, schools and businesses across the city. In 1968, that number was about 9.5 billion.

Keeping annual demand under 10 billion gallons per year marks a major conservation milestone for Madison. In 2001, water use peaked at more than 12 billion gallons per year. But since then, thanks to more efficient appliances, toilets, plumbing fixtures and industrial equipment, along with more sustainable outdoor watering practices, water use in Madison has been reduced. Madison Water Utility has also been working hard to encourage conservation through its popular Toilet Rebate Program, which has been estimated to have saved more than a half billion gallons of water since 2009. The utility recently launched its web-based conservation tool that allows customers to track their weekly, daily and even hourly water use online. MWU was the first water utility in the Midwest to bring that kind of detailed usage data directly to customers.

Learn more here. 

 California Approves $3.2 Million for Water Loss Control Collaborative 

California State FlagThe California State Water Resources Control Board has authorized approximately $3.2 million in Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Local Assistance set-aside funds to establish a Water Loss Control Collaborative, a statewide water loss control program intended to make the state’s water management system more efficient and resilient.

The resolution authorizes $400,000 to assist urban retail water suppliers in preparing and validating water loss audit reports as required by California’s new water loss control legislation - SB 555 and another $2.8 million to implement Phase 1 of the Water Loss Control Collaborative to be led by the California-Nevada Section, American Water Works Association. Implementation of Phase 1 will take place over a three-year period and involve 460 urban water retail suppliers. CA-NV AWWA membership funds will be used to fund future years of the program.

Learn more here. 

 AWE January 27 Webinar - Demand Hardening: Is It a Real Problem? 

awe small logoAWE will conduct a webinar entitled: Assessing Increasing Water-Use Efficiency on Demand Hardening: Is it a Real Problem? The webinar will be held on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at 11 a.m. CST. Dr. Anil Bamezai, Author and Research Consultant for AWE's report, An Assessment of Increasing Water Use Efficiency on Demand Hardening, will be presenting along with AWE President & CEO Mary Ann Dickinson. Learn more and register here. 

 WaterSense Releases Final Specification for Flushometer Toilets 

WaterSense Logo (gif)In late December, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense® program released its final specification for flushometer-valve toilets. Also known as flushometer-valve water closets, these toilets are used primarily in commercial and institutional applications (e.g., office buildings, schools, airports, stadiums, retail).

EPA estimates that there are about 7 million flushometer-valve toilets currently installed in U.S. commercial and institutional facilities that flush at volumes higher than the federal standard of 1.6 gpf, some as much as 3 to 7 gpf.

Commercial-Flushometer-HET-1.28-GPFThe EPA specification sets a maximum flush volume of 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf) for both single- and dual-flush flushometer-valve toilets, which is 20 percent less water than the federal standard. If a business replaces just one old, inefficient flushometer-valve toilet with a WaterSense labeled model, it could save nearly 5,500 gallons of water per year.

In response to concerns raised about potential issues with the ability of very low flows to transport waste in some buildings, the specification also includes a minimum flush volume of 1.0 gpf, which is applicable to all modes of a flushometer-valve toilet, including the reduced flush of a dual-flush flushometer-valve toilet.

With this new specification, a commercial facility manager can now double their water savings by looking to replace both their flushometer-valve toilets and flushing urinals with models that have earned the WaterSense label. WaterSense labeled flushing urinals use no more than 0.5 gpf, half the federal standard of 1.0 gpf. Based on typical use, a business can save more than 4,600 gallons of water per year or more by replacing an older inefficient model that uses 1.5 gpf with one that is WaterSense labeled.

WaterSense expects labeled flushometer-valve toilets to enter the market in early 2016. Learn more here. 

 IAPMO Begins Flushometer-Valve Certification for WaterSense 

IAPMO-logoIAPMO R&T, a third-party certification body for plumbing, mechanical, and water treatment products, has earned approval to begin certifying high-efficiency flushometer-valve water closets to the U.S. EPA’s new final specification for the WaterSense® consumer product-labeling program.

Flushometer-valve toilets are typically found in commercial, institutional, or industrial restrooms and have two main components – the toilet bowl and the flushometer valve. IAPMO R&T can provide independent certification to prospective WaterSense®-labeled models that meet the EPA’s water-efficiency and performance criteria, ensuring “both sustainable, efficient water use and a high level of user satisfaction with flushing performance.”

IAPMO R&T has been a licensed provider of WaterSense® certification since 2007, certifying the first high-efficiency toilet (HET) to the standard in April of that year. To date, IAPMO R&T has certified thousands of lavatory faucet, urinal, and showerhead models to the WaterSense® specifications.

“We are excited to offer certification to the latest EPA WaterSense specification,” said Anish Desai, Vice President of Product Certification for IAPMO R&T. “Manufacturers of flushometer-valve water closets already trust IAPMO R&T for their certification needs, and we look forward to providing this additional valuable service.”

Learn more here.

 AWE Seeks Funding for Two Outdoor Water Savings Studies 

awe small logoAWE is seeking funding to undertake two new study topics on outdoor water use: Quantifying the Water Savings from Landscape Transformation Programs; and Quantifying the Water Savings from Drought Outdoor Watering Restrictions. RFPs have been drafted for each topic, and funding is now being solicited from study partners. Learn more about participating here. 

California Irrigation Institute Conference

The California Irrigation Institute will hold its 54th annual conference on January 25-26, 2016 at the Hilton Arden-West in Sacramento, California. Technical and policy experts will meet to discuss "California's New Water Realities: Solving the Puzzle." As California's drought continues to worsen, the conference will explore and discuss new water management strategies to cope with the increasing pressure on water use. The conference is attended by agricultural, urban and environmental interests including water districts, farmers, irrigation manufacturers, associations and government agency representatives.

A special treat is the featured luncheon speaker Cynthia Barnett, award winning journalist and author of Blue Revolution: Unmaking America's Water Crisis and Rain. Learn more and register here. http://www.caii.org/?page_id=76 

 John Koeller Named IAPMO Green Professional of the Year 

J_koeller_IAPMO_awardJohn Koeller, P.E., Principal of Koeller and Company and longtime advisor to the Alliance for Water Efficiency has awarded the prestigious IAPMO Green Professional of the Year Award for 2015.

Koeller is consultant to numerous North American water authorities and private sector firms and

is the codeveloper of Maximum Performance testing for water-efficient products, an initiative designed to raise the bar on product performance and long term reliability.

A member of six different ANSI U.S. national plumbing standards committees, where he represents AWE and the water utilities’ efficiency interests, Koeller is the past vice-chair of the LEED Water Efficiency Technical Advisory Group for the U.S. Green Building Council.

Since 2006, he has been an advisor and consultant to the U.S. EPA’s WaterSense program, for which he evaluates and recommends the latest product designs and technologies for future labeling by the program. 

Koeller has worked integrally with various IAPMO business units for decades, including the IAPMO Standards and Code Development departments, IAPMO R&T Lab, and in the development of codes and standards provisions and test requirements specific to water efficient products.

Congratulations to John Koeller, a most deserving recipient of IAPMO’s 2015 Green Professional of the Year.

 New Report: Drought, Technology and Agriculture: Increasing Water Efficiency and Yield through Technology 

In September 2015, AWE CEO Mary Ann Dickinson participated in a meeting of 45 expert level decision makers at the headquarters of the California Farm Bureau Federation (Farm Bureau). The meeting was designed to explore how technology might be better used and deployed to improve water efficiency, yield and profit for California farmers and ranchers.

A report summarizing the meeting and key findings has just been released and can be downloaded here. 

 World Economic Forum: Water Crisis Biggest World Risk Over Next 10 Years 

Water shortage and the risk of a large scale water crisis is considered one of the greatest risks facing the world today, according to new study from the World Economic Forum.  Now in its 11th edition, The Global Risks Report 2016 completes more than a decade of highlighting the most significant long-term risks worldwide, drawing on the perspectives of experts and global decision-makers.

Last year, water crises earned the top spot as the most damaging short-term risk. Along with water’s rise in the Paris climate talks, the rankings indicate that water, long the purview of engineers and lawyers, is now an urgent political matter and is deeply intertwined with climate change, economic stability, and human migration.

Most of these trends were noted in previous World Economic Forum assessments. They are now coming to pass.  Learn more about the risks we face here. 

 Poll:  Water Worries Westerners Worse than Wages 

Colorado colorFor many westerners in the US, concerns over the future of water are as important as the economy and unemployment, according to results from Colorado College's 2016 Conservation in the West poll.

The sixth annual State of the Rockies Project poll of thousands of residents in seven western states shows many people fear for the future of water in the West. The sentiment might come from a change in national economics and a rash of news about drought, said Eric Perramond, the director of CC's State of the Rockies.

"I would say that the concerns for water use now equal and just barely exceed concern about unemployment. And that's not unexpected given the economic recovery," Perramond said. "(And) like most Americans, we tend to pay more attention when something is in our face."

Conducted through phone calls to 2,800 people, the poll also gauged public opinion on federal public lands, another hot topic in the West where a Sagebrush-style rebellion in Oregon broke out in protest of federal ownership. The poll indicated public opinion seems to favor certain public lands remaining under federal oversight.  Learn more here. 

US Wastewater Infrastructure Needs $271 Billion Says New Survey

EPA Logo with BorderThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a survey showing that $271 billion is needed to maintain and improve the nation’s wastewater infrastructure, including the pipes that carry wastewater to treatment plants, the technology that treats the water, and methods for managing stormwater runoff.

The survey is a collaboration between EPA, states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories. To be included in the survey, projects must include a description and location of a water quality-related public health problem, a site-specific solution, and detailed information on project cost.

EPA launched the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center in January 2015 to work with states and communities to identify innovative financing strategies for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. The center recently selected regional Environmental Finance Centers to help communities across the country develop sustainable “how-to-pay” solutions to meet environmental goals. This financial expertise and technical assistance helps communities make informed funding decisions for resilient infrastructure projects that best meet local needs.  Learn more here. 

News Briefs and Web Links 

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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.