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 Issues 6 Support Letters with 32 Partner Organizations on Federal Water Efficiency Legislation 

whitehouse-washington-DCAWE has been active in support of federal water efficiency legislation in 2014.  In May, AWE submitted letters of support on six important pieces of federal legislation (HR.4114, S.1971,  S.2019,  S.2225S.2226, and  S.2227) that promote water efficiency as a matter of federal policy.

AWE partnered with 32 other organizations to sign and submit the support letters.  The bills focus specifically on congressional authorization for the WaterSense program, adequate funding for water efficiency incentives, creation of water efficiency tax credits, and timely federal recognition of the Energy-Water Nexus.

Information about each bill and a PDF of each support letter is available for download here

New Revolving Fund Law Aims to Maximize Water Efficiency and Reuse in All Wastewater and Stormwater Infrastructure Projects 

On June 10, President Obama signed into law an omnibus update for federal water resource policy that includes significant water conservation and reuse components.

Under the new law, effective in July 2016, municipalities and utilities seeking Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) support will be required to maximize water efficiency and reuse as part of all wastewater and storm water infrastructure projects.

Effective October, 2014, all Clean Water SRF projects to repair, replace or expand a treatment works must certify that they have “evaluated and will be implementing water and energy conservation efforts.”

Effective October, 2014, projects that address water or energy efficiency goals or storm water management will be eligible for loan forgiveness and negative interest loans under the Clean Water SRF, not just low-interest loans.

The new law also authorizes the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide federal loan guarantees for innovative water infrastructure projects including projects for enhanced energy efficiency in the operation of a public water system or a publicly owned treatment works. 

Learn more and download the new law and conference report here

Colorado Becoming 4th State to Phase in WaterSense Fixture Requirement 

Seal_of_Colorado_thumbOn Friday, June 6, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law SB14-103, which requires that as of September 1, 2016 all tank-type toilets, urinals, faucets and showerheads meet the same flow requirements as WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures.  This makes Colorado the fourth state to adopt WaterSense specifications, following California, Georgia, and Texas.  Download a copy of the Colorado legislation here

WaterSense to Pursue Labeling of Landscape Irrigation Sprinklers 

sprinklerIn an effort to reduce outdoor water use and add a significant new product category to its water efficient line-up, WaterSense has 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.

The concept of applying the WaterSense label to sprinklers is based on the idea that water-efficient irrigation sprinklers can deliver water more evenly to the landscape than traditional sprinklers while regulating pressure to help ensure a constant flow rate.  It has been postulated that improving the distribution and uniformity (DU) of water delivery across a landscape will result in water savings.  But not everyone is in agreement on this point. 

Developing a specification that allows sprinklers to earn the WaterSense label will help provide more water-efficient irrigation equipment options to consumers and irrigation professionals.

Landscape sprinklers that earn the WaterSense label, especially when used in conjunction with WaterSense labeled controllers, can help promote healthier landscapes and reduce outdoor water waste.

Interested parties are invited to provide written comments or suggestions on WaterSense's NOI to label landscape irrigation sprinklers to watersense-products@erg.com by June 30, 2014. If you plan to submit any data that should be handled as confidential business information (CBI), contact the WaterSense Helpline at watersense@epa.gov or (866) WTR–SENS (987–7367). Please note that all CBI should be submitted in hard copy and not electronically. All comments, except data claimed as CBI, become a part of the public record.

WaterSense Releases Updated Tank Toilet Specification 

WaterSense LogoThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program released of Version 1.2 of its WaterSense Specification for Tank-Type Toilets.  In this version, WaterSense made minor updates to the specification to account for recent revisions to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) A112.19.2/Canadian Standards Association (CSA) B45.1 Ceramic Plumbing Fixtures standard. The revisions to the standard included the adoption of the waste media extraction test, fill valve integrity test, and tank trim adjustability test protocols originally established in the WaterSense Specification for Tank-Type Toilets.

WaterSense has also taken this opportunity to make some additional minor revisions to the specification to align it with the other WaterSense product specifications.

All of the revisions contained in Version 1.2 were developed to ensure that tank-type toilets receiving the WaterSense label are certified and labeled consistently, in accordance with EPA's intent, and will continue to meet consumer expectations for efficiency and performance. Review the specification and learn more here

Dallas Wins 2014 National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation 

Dallas-conserve-logoCongratulations to AWE member the City of Dallas, Texas!  Residents of Dallas showed their commitment to water conservation by helping the city take top prize in the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.  Baltimore, Maryland and San Diego, California were the runner ups.

The Challenge is held very April 1-30 and is run by the non-profit Wyland Foundation.  Mayor’s in 100 cities are asked to inspire their residents to reduce water and energy usage through a series of information-oriented online pledges at www.mywaterpledge.com.  The city with the most pledges wins.

In 2014, across the entire US, over 23,000 people took the pledge according to Wyland and co-presenter Toyota, and Dallas has the most pledges.

It’s great to see AWE members winning this prize.  Congratulations Dallas!  Learn more about the annual Mayor’s Challenge here

2014 Never Waste Campaign Includes Updated Member Toolkit 

NeverWasteOrgAWE entered the second year of the Never Waste campaign with a splash, introducing innovative updates and a new campaign toolkit.  To date, 54 communities and businesses across 18 states are participating in the Never Waste campaign that seeks to engage customers and partners to spread important messages about water conservation.

Please click here to download the most recent AWE Never Waste member toolkit. This updated version includes several new campaign components and resources, including:

  • Greater flexibility for bottle customization, and instructions on how to select and order bottles
  • Introduction of the Never Waste logo and guidelines for use
  • Information on customization of the Home Water Works Household Water Calculator
  • Examples of member campaign activations

Additionally, we are working to develop 1-2 new advertising images this year that we will share with participating members once available.

You may sign up for the campaign and obtain access to resources by filling out the Terms of Use. We also encourage you to watch our webinar introducing these new campaign elements and featuring activation examples and lessons learned from AWE member Ventura Water in California.

We welcome your feedback and questions on Never Waste, as well as updates on how you are using campaign elements to support your customer engagement initiatives. Please contact Megan Chery at megan@a4we.org with any questions or comments.

AWE Water Loss Control Webinar Set for June 19 

AWE will host a free webinar on June 19 at 2 p.m. EDT to present and discuss new research on utility water loss control.  The webinar will present key results from the recently completed Water Research Foundation (Project 4372) designed to help water providers analyze and reduce system water loss in cost effective ways.

A key output of the project is a free user-friendly model intended to advance leakage component analysis for the water utility community.  The model supports AWWA M36 Water Loss Control Audit Protocols and uses IWA/AWWA Water Audit as input. The project report, executive summary and web tools can be found here.

The webinar will feature Reinhard Sturm and Kate Gasner of WSO, the firm that lead the research project and Chris Leauber of the Water and Wastewater Authority of Wilson County, Tennessee a utility that participated in the project.

The 90 minute webinar will provide a full overview of the research project and will provide recommendations for utilities interested in applying the new water loss control model.

Register for AWE’s free webinar on Water Loss Control here

BruceRhodes-SmMelbourne Australia Water Manager to Address AWE Membership at WSI 

On Tuesday, October 7, 2014 AWE will hold its annual membership meeting right before the start of the WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas.  Bruce Rhodes, Manager of Water Resource Management at Melbourne Water, will be the headline speaker.  Click here for more information.

AWE Partners on 2nd Water Rate Summit 

2014-Wingspan-Rate-Summit-smWater rates and revenue stability were front and center in May as AWE partnered with the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread to convene 30 utility managers, academics, economists, rate setting experts, advocates and funders for a summit on “Aligning Rates, Revenue and Resources”.  The summit was part of AWE’s Financing Sustainable Water initiative, and brought participants together to engage in a rich solutions-focused discussion about the challenges utilities face to balance revenue management, resource efficiency, and fiscal sustainability.

The May summit built on the robust discussion held in August 2012 at AWE’s first Summit on Declining Water Sales and Utility Revenues, and which explored the issues and root drivers of declining water sales, utility revenue losses, and the impact on conservation programs. The 2014 summit focused on solutions to these challenges, and discussed new tools, research and guidance for utility managers - including AWE’s forthcoming handbook on building better rates and rate model. Specific topics of discussion included trends in pricing and consumption, innovative rate structures, financial policies for revenue stability and fiscal viability, best practices in utility management and public engagement.

The discussion produced actionable next steps toward identified common goals, and outlined transformational industry changes for consideration and further exploration. AWE will publish a Summit Summary synthesizing the major discussion threads later this year.

Innovative Water Use Dashboard Launched by Conserve 2 Enhance 

c2e-dashboardThe University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center’s (WRRC) Conserve 2 Enhance (C2E) program has launched an innovative online C2E Water Use Dashboard to help water customers track their water use and efficiency savings. 

C2E participants served by the Tucson Water program can track their own water use and can view personalized Dashboard tools, including summary graphs of water use and comparisons that show how water savings stack up to other participants.  Participants can use the convenient links provided to donate money saved to local environmental enhancement projects.

The dashboard also includes a summary of the Tucson C2E program where total water savings of all C2E participants achieved from 2011-2013 (over 3.5 million gallons to date) can be tracked.  Users who log in to the system can watch their own water savings (and donations) add to this total every month. 

Learn more about C2E and their new water use dashboard (which is available to interested water utilities) here

AWE Resources and Research Cited in Murkowski Senate Report 

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) released a white paper calling on the federal government to partner with the private sector and academia to support research to improve the efficient use of energy and water in the production and use of both critical resources.

The white paper, The Energy-Water Nexus:  Interlinked Resources that are Vital for Economic Growth and Sustainability, cites AWE publications including our Blueprint for Action on Addressing the Energy-Water Nexus. 

“There is a clear need to obtain reliable, current, and comprehensive data on energy-for-water and water-for-energy use by all stakeholders, both public and private. More accurate data can improve informed decision making; help prioritize investments in energy-water related infrastructure; and lead to better water and energy use practices,” Murkowski said.

Phoenix Conservation Communicator Mary Lu Nunley Retires 

MLNThe water efficiency world bids fond farewell and happy trails to Mary Lu Nunley, who retired in June after 13 years with City of Phoenix, Arizona.  Nunley’s work on the local and national level to promote and advance water conservation will be missed.

Nunley was recruited in 2001 to work for the City of Phoenix Water Conservation team by the late Tom Babcock, whom she had known since her college years.  In the ensuing years she served as member and chair of the Conservation Committee, the group that develops and implements the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA) Regional Conservation Program, and chaired many of the Committee workgroups, including the Publications Workgroup and the Fix a Leak Week Workgroup.

Working with Marjie Risk at ADWR, Nunley helped the WaterSense team kick off the very first Fix a Leak Week event in Phoenix in 2009, and she has been instrumental in Arizona’s promotion of this important event every year since.  Nunley also served on the Steering Committee of the Arizona Water—Use It Wisely Partners Coalition.  She put her BA in Journalism to good use championing the importance of keeping conservation visible and at the forefront of the public mind.

Mary Lu has also been a strong supporter of AWE.  She advocated for the formation of AWE and helped rally other Arizona providers to the cause, even supporting a pitch for AWE’s headquarters to be located in the Phoenix area.  

“Mary Lu cares deeply and passionately about her work, her community, her family, her colleagues, and her friends,” said colleague Carol Ward-Morris of AMWUA. “Her career choices have always been about people, from her journalism studies, her work with the Census Bureau, her many years with Congressman Kolbe, her work with women’s issues in the Governor’s Office, most especially her time with the Arizona Children’s Association, and most recently, in water.  Whatever she goes on to do, I have no doubt she will continue to have an impact and make a very real difference to those around her.”

Happy retirement Mary Lu. Thanks for your contributions to water efficiency.

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.