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.  Like and follow AWE on Facebook and Twitter for a chance to win an iPod Touch!

In this issue of Water Efficiency Watch...

Editorial from the President and CEO

Dear Readers,

Our newsletter editor, Peter Mayer, has launched a “Friends of AWE” movement to encourage greater involvement and membership in the Alliance for Water Efficiency.  You may have already received one of his letters, which he initiated solely on his own.  We thank him for this effort on our behalf.   If you use the information, research, and advocacy provided by AWE, you already know its value, and we hope that you will also consider showing your support by becoming a member and/or making a donation to us.  If you are reading this newsletter, you already know how packed it always is with important information and news.  This is the 36th issue of Water Efficiency Watch since AWE was founded in 2007. AWE needs your support in order to continue producing this newsletter, advocating for water efficiency, and providing all of the other essential tools and services you have come to expect.

Support for AWE is an investment in a sustainable water future, and is tax deductible.  Thank you for your help today and in the years to come.


Mary Ann Dickinson
President and CEO  

New AWE State Scorecard Assesses Efficiency across the US

Scorecard Report Cover (Sm) How does your state stack up when it comes to water efficiency and conservation?  There is still a lot of work to be done to improve water conservation policies at the state level, according to a new report from the Alliance for Water Efficiency and the Environmental Law Institute entitled, The Water Efficiency and Conservation State Scorecard: An Assessment of Laws and Policies .

Only two states, California and Texas, received an A- grade, and the overall 50 state average was only a “C” grade -- indicating that there is much work to be done.

This research effort, funded in part by a grant from the Turner Foundation, identified state level water efficiency and conservation laws and policies throughout the 50 states via a 20-question survey.  Water efficiency and conservation laws and policies encompassed in the survey included plumbing fixture standards, water conservation requirements related to water rights, water loss control rules, conservation planning and program implementation, volumetric billing for water, funding sources for water efficiency and conservation programs, and technical assistance and other informational resources.

Due to the abundance of information that was gathered for this project and the difficulty in finding legal citations to support survey answers, the project team has released the report for public comment and review to determine if any errors need correcting.  The public comment period is open until June 15, 2012.  Please review the scorecard report and submit any corrections you feel are needed.  Remember that no answer can be turned into a “yes” answer without a citation.

Import Crackdown on Noncompliant Fixtures Advances

multiple-head-showerThe US Department of Treasury has issued a proposed rulemaking that could limit the import of fixtures and appliances that do not comply with efficiency and labeling standards.

US manufacturers have watched with dismay as inefficient imported products have been allowed into the US marketplace where they compete directly against compliant domestically produced fixtures.  It appears the Federal Government is finally taking action to stop these products at the border.  AWE applauds this action and urges support for this effort.  Download a copy of the proposed rulemaking here

Formal comments on the proposed rulemaking are due May 25th.   Electronic comments can be sent via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions for submitting comments via docket number USCBP–2012–0004.

Albuquerque Achieves Conservation Target 13 Years Ahead of Schedule

New Mexico ImageIn 1994, Albuquerque, New Mexico residents were using 252 gallons per person per day. That’s when the Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority launched a major water conservation education effort.

In 2004, the state of New Mexico mandated a water-use target of 155 gallons a day, per person, to be achieved by 2024; the Water Authority had hoped to meet the 150-gallon goal by 2014. This week, the city announced that water use goal had been achieved three years early.

City water use per capita was below 150 gallons per person per day for calendar 2011. By reaching the 150 GPCD goal three years early, Albuquerque saved an additional 2 billion gallons of water.  Learn more here.

AWE Hosts Water Loss Webinar May 24

pipe leak 1On Thursday, May 24th, AWE will conduct a 90-minute webinar featuring instructor Reinhard Sturm, co-author of the classic NRW textbook Water Loss Control. The webinar is intended for water conservation managers who need cross-over training on the distribution-side management of leakage and other forms of non-revenue water, but it will be good basic training for network managers as well. Learn more and register here.

Arizona Anti-Sustainability Bill Nearly Approved

ArizonaIn Arizona, a bill that would block sustainability and conservation programs across the state was passed by the Senate, but thankfully appears to have stalled out in the House.

SB1507, sponsored by Sen. Judy Burges, R-Skull Valley, would make it illegal for any government entity in the state to abide by any tenet or principle of the non-binding United Nations Rio Declaration on Environment and Development , adopted by the international group in 1992.

The declaration includes 27 principles, such as promoting sustainable communities, managing natural resources and working toward the eradication of poverty.

Rep. Terri Proud, a Tucson Republican and proponent of the bill, said in a mass email to her supporters that the non-binding declaration “will take away our rights as Americans by allowing the United Nations to mandate laws on our soil.”

Opponents of the bill say the consequences of SB 1507 are severe and could end important efficiency and conservation efforts across the state including ASU's School of Sustainability, Energize Phoenix – an energy efficiency program, and water conservation programs across the state.

"We need to be a city that is on the cutting edge of this and passing bills like the one that is on the docket today would send the exact wrong message about what our priorities are here locally," said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

The bill was held in the Arizona House of Representatives without enough votes to pass, but could be revived at a later date.

Major Documentary Film on Water Crisis Opens Across US

Last Call LogoLast Call at the Oasis, a powerful documentary film, shatters myths behind our most precious resource.  The film, directed by award-winner Jessica Yu & Elise Pearlstein features Robert Glennon, Pat Mulroy, Erin Brockovitch, Peter Gleick, Jay Famiglietti and many others.  The central theme of the film is that the global water crisis will be the central issue facing our world this century. We can manage this problem, but only if we are willing to act now. See the movie.  Sign the water Bill of rights.

Learn more and find a screening near you here.

AWE Releases Business Guide Showcasing its Business and Industry Members

 Business Guide Cover As a way to promote its valuable Business and Industry members, AWE has released its first-ever Business Guide. Water efficient products and services are itemized in the Guide and contact information for all of AWE’s business and industry members is included.  The Guide will be updated yearly.  Download your copy here.

AWE is also conducting a brief survey about the new Business GuidePlease click here to take the survey to provide feedback on the Business Guide .

Water Softener Facts Web Site Launched 

water softenerWater softeners are common fixtures in many areas of North America, but they are not well understood.  A new web site from Canada provides excellent information on this important class of water consuming products.

Water Softener Facts was launched recently to improve knowledge and understanding about water softeners which can be a significant end use of water in some homes.  Developed by the Municipal Region of Waterloo in Canada, the site  explains how softeners work and even compares different brands. The site also explains the difference between hard and soft water to help determine if a water softener is needed.  Check out this useful new water softener resource.

Alliance for Water Stewardship Hosts Stewardship Standard Workshop May 23

The Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) International Water Stewardship Standard  is designed to be an international, ISEAL-compliant, standard that defines a set of water stewardship principles, criteria, and indicators for how water should be stewarded at a site and watershed level in a way that is environmentally, socially, and economically beneficial. The Standard is intended to provide water stewards with an approach for evaluating the existing processes and performances within their sites and watersheds, and ensuring that responsible water stewardship actions are in place to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive impacts.  Public comments on the draft standard are invited through June 15.

AWS will host meeting to discuss the draft standard on May 23 from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, DC.  Get more information about the draft standard here. RSVP to the May 23 meeting here.

Robert Redford Narrates New Documentary on the Colorado River Water Crisis

Watershed_movieThe new environmental documentary, "Watershed – Exploring a New Water Ethic for the West," narrated by Robert Redford and produced by his son James, focuses on the plight of the Colorado River system.

The documentary touches on the history of the Colorado watershed and what may happen in the future if policies are not changed.

The Redfords are using the film to gather public support behind water conservation measures.  Redford will supply free copies of the film to anyone willing to host a viewing party.

"The watershed issue is something that's happening all over the world, where the need for water is greater than the amount of water to provide for it," Robert Redford said. "I think we're picking the Colorado River as an example of what's going on with watersheds all over the world and trying to focus on that and draw attention to it"

Learn more and watch the trailer for the film here.

4th Annual WaterSense Fix a Leak Week a Success

Fix A Leak 2012The fourth annual WaterSense Fix a Leak Week, March 12 through 18, 2012, generated real results and widespread public interest about finding and fixing leaks. Nationwide, more than 1 trillion gallons of water leak from U.S. homes each year, so fixing leaks provides savings in terms of both water and money.

WaterSense partners across the country held events to educate consumers on finding and fixing leaks. Delta Faucet Company worked with EPA regional offices and GreenPlumbers USA, United Way, Ronald McDonald House, and various water utilities and city governments to fix leaks and install WaterSense labeled showerheads and faucet aerators in more than 1,000 low-income homes and community facility units in nine cities.

Fourth and fifth graders in Charleston, West Virginia were deputized as "leak detectives" to find leaks in their homes. In Athens, Georgia, volunteers from area churches and faith-based organizations were trained on how to perform water conservation audits at community organizations and educate residents on how to fix leaks in their homes. The town of Cary, North Carolina, distributed dye tabs to detect toilet leaks and created an interactive water conservation game featuring ladybugs to teach kids about saving water.

It’s not too early to start making plans for Fix a Leak Week 2013.

After 10 Years, Australia Declared Officially Drought Free

Australia is officially drought free for the first time in over a decade next week, as the final two Exceptional Circumstances (EC) declarations come to an end. Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig said the expiry of EC declarations in Bundarra and Eurobodalla marked a major milestone for agriculture in Australia. “The extended period of drought – which made things tough for many on the land – is finally over,” Minister Ludwig said. “The seasonal outlook is brighter than it has been for many years and the improved conditions are a welcome reprieve for farmers across Australia.  Learn more here. How long will it be until the US is drought free?  And how soon will it all come back?

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 – mayer@aquacraft.com.

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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.