Water Efficiency Watch is the
online newsletter of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, edited by Peter Mayer.
In this issue
of Water Efficiency Watch...
Washington, DC. “A
huge piece of climate change revolves around water” explained U.S. EPA
Administrator Gina McCarthy as she addressed more than 300 water leaders at the
U.S. Water Prize ceremony hosted Monday night at the National Geographic
Society’s headquarters in Washington D.C. It was a special night for the
Alliance for Water Efficiency, one of four winners honored at the prestigious
ceremony. Other US Water Prize winners were: American Water, Voorhees, NJ;
Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, OH; and Orange County Water
District and Sanitation District, California.
“There’s a thread that
ties all these winners together” McCarthy said. “It’s that they aren’t just
thinking about providing clean water today‐‐but managing it for the future.
That kind of ingenuity requires thinking outside the box. It requires breaking
down barriers and cross‐collaboration.”
Deputy Secretary Michael
Connor, U.S. Department of the Interior, also picked up on the theme as he
congratulated winners: “Innovation in partnerships may very well be the key.” He
described his experiences touring areas that have been hit by extreme weather
and drought. “The urgency of these events epitomizes the phrase “water is
In its fourth year, the U.S. Water Prize is presented by the U.S.
Water Alliance to recognize organizations with strategies that promote the
value of water and the power of innovating and integrating for “one water”
sustainability Nominations are reviewed by an independent, volunteer panel of
judges representative of the most respected leaders in the fields of water and
“I appreciate water in ways I never dreamed
before starting this work,” shared Kelly Kopp, Chair of the Alliance for Water
Efficiency while accepting the award with President Mary Ann Dickinson.
“Water efficiency is a much deeper issue than just turning off the water
while brushing your teeth,” explains Dickinson. “When we started six years
ago, we were the only advocates in this space. We’ve played a unique role,
advocating for water efficiency in the same way energy efficiency advocates
have for decades. AWE was recognized for uniting multiple sectors to stress
how efficiency benefits diverse objectives: utility economic viability,
environmental benefits, jobs creation, and solutions at national, state and
more photos from the ceremony and learn more about the US Water Prize
The Alliance for Water Efficiency's guiding spirit, Board Chair
Carole Baker has stepped down after seven years leading the non-profit
organization. She leaves AWE in capable hands of Kelly Kopp, a Professor from
Utah State University who has served on the AWE Board of Directors since its
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
“The water conservation community wanted a means of creating and
presenting a unified national perspective,” Baker explained. “Until the
Alliance was founded, water efficiency lacked a national organization similar
to those that already exist for energy. It has been a pleasure to serve as
Chair of the Board for AWE. I could not be more pleased to see Kelly Kopp take
over the role of Chair. She has been an outstanding Board member from the
beginning of AWE and will bring her passion and energy to this new role. I look
forward to continuing to work and support AWE and am very excited about the
important role that AWE will continue to play in the preserving and protecting
of our most important resource!"
"The Alliance for Water Efficiency
would not be what it is today, without the steady leadership and guidance of
Carole Baker," said new Board Chair Kelly Kopp. "Carole led AWE through the organization’s early, growing years with commitment, passion, and an ever-optimistic attitude that I will strive to emulate as I begin my own term as Chair. AWE remains an organization completely dedicated to the efficient and sustainable use of water and I could not be more proud to continue my association with the organization in this new capacity."
Kelly Kopp is Professor/Extension and
a Water Conservation and Turfgrass Specialist at Utah State in Logan. Her
primary areas of study are plant science, ornamental horticulture, and turf.
Kopp and Baker are shown in the photo at right with AWE CEO Mary Ann
Dickinson, accepting the US Water Prize from Ben Grumbles, President of the U.S. Water
The second webinar in the Exemplary Programs series will feature
the Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional programs of City West Water in Melbourne,
Australia. During Australia's epic 10-year drought, water suppliers in
southeastern Australia needed to get deep reductions in their CII customer use.
This 90-minute webinar set to be held on May 6 at 4 p.m. Central time will
feature the innovative program examples developed by City West Water.
More 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 is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming
With this legislation, Colorado joins Georgia, Texas, and
California in mandating that only high-efficiency, performance-tested fixtures
be sold. 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.
The Colorado legislation was not
without controversy, and failed to pass when first introduced in 2012. Things
changed in 2014 when organizations like the Alliance for Water Efficiency and
water providers and professionals across Colorado signed on in support. The
measure is expected to save over 40,000 acre-feet of water in Colorado by
a fact sheet about the Colorado WaterSense legislation here.
the final amended Colorado legislation, SB14-103, here.
2014 marks a significant moment in recent water history: the 20th
anniversary of the implementation of the U.S. Energy Policy Act, which mandated
more water and energy efficient plumbing fixtures, including toilets, urinals,
showerheads and faucets.
To celebrate 20 years of this watershed
legislation, the Alliance for Water Efficiency examined the savings
specifically from toilets required by the EPAct, and found that the power of
combining plumbing and policy is clear. AWE estimates that the EPAct has saved
the nation 18.2 trillion gallons of water through more efficient toilets,
enough water to supply the cities of Los Angeles, Chicago and New York for 20
The EPAct of 1992 required the installation of toilets that used
no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush, or 54% less water than the 3.5
gallons-per-flush toilets found prior to the legislation.
18.2 trillion gallons represents cumulative water savings that have resulted
from the use of more efficient toilets, which save an estimated 4.6 billion
gallons of water each day. In addition, further water reductions have been
achieved by high efficiency 1.28 gallons-per-flush EPA WaterSense labeled
toilets. AWE promotes water conservation policies, programs and products to
advance the sustainable and efficient use of water. This finding demonstrates
the potential to achieve significant water savings through legislation that
requires the use of more efficient technology.
Learn more about
AWE's commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Energy Policy Act
The Irrigation Association (IA) and the American Society of
Irrigation Consultants (ASIC) have released a new version of their Landscape
Irrigation Best Management Practices. The updated guidelines incorporate
feedback from irrigation designers, consultants, contractors and water managers
to ensure the BMPs remain relevant in today’s market. Highlights include:
- Three BMPs for landscape irrigation:
- Design the irrigation system
to efficiently use water resources.
- Install the irrigation system to
meet the design criteria.
- Manage landscape water resources to maintain
a healthy and functional landscape.
- Practice guidelines
for effective implementation and adapting the BMPs to local conditions.
- Recommendations for evaluating potential irrigation water resources,
including non-potable sources.
- Appendices with information on system
inspection and commissioning, irrigation scheduling, and water budgeting.
“We’ve included more discussion about considering all potential water
resources that could be used for irrigation as an alternative to using potable
water sources,” said IA Industry Development Director Brent Mecham. “We’ve also
put greater emphasis on the important role water managers play in ensuring that
systems are well maintained and that water resources are being used
The guidelines are directed primarily toward system
owners, irrigation consultants, irrigation designers, contractors, water
managers and irrigation system maintenance personnel.
Download the revised BMPs
Smart Water Application Technologies (SWAT) has released
Sprinkler Head Check Valve Testing Protocol Version 2.2. The check valve
testing protocol specifies the performance requirements and test methods for
sprinkler head check valves intended for operation in irrigation systems. The
protocol is open for a 30-day public comment period, with feedback due April
Public comment forms are available on SWAT’s
The Board of Directors of the
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) declared a Water
Supply Alert at the end of March throughout the 5,200-square-mile service area
as part of a series of steps to address the state's unprecedented dry
conditions. This followed a declaration of drought in late January by Gov.
Jerry Brown who asked Californians to lower their water use by 20 percent.
As part of this declaration, MWD’s conservation and outreach budget was
doubled providing significant new incentives for both residential and
commercial customers. MWD offers incentives for water-efficient devices that
include plumbing fixtures, landscape, food service, HVAC, medical and dental,
and fitness center equipment. Learn more
about MWD’s offerings here.
With no end to the drought in sight,
officials in Santa Barbara, California, have decided to impose more severe
restrictions on water usage. The city council is expected to take up mandatory
conservation, which would include banning certain outdoor water uses and
raising the cost of water at higher usage.
The city's main source of
water, Cachuma Lake, is now down to 39 percent of capacity. Santa Barbara has
been replenishing the lake by importing water via the California Aqueduct. But
even that water is facing restrictions, so city officials are struggling to
One option, they say, is the revival of Santa
Barbara’s long-retired desalination plant. But because desalination is a rather
costly process, the city hopes that the new mandates will correct their water
issues first. Desalination, they say, will be a last resort, done only after
all other efforts fail.
For now, Santa Barbara will focus its efforts on
conservation. “Reducing landscape irrigation by replacing lawns with
drought-tolerant plants remains a top priority,” said Alison Jordan, Santa
Barbara's water conservation supervisor. Learn
Two House Democrats from California
proposed legislation that would triple the size of Los Vaqueros, a reservoir
that supplies water to Contra Costa Water District, east of the Bay Area.
Contra Costa Times reports that the expansion would be completed in phases.
How to add more storage capacity – whether by expanding old reservoirs, building
new ones, or refilling aquifers – is a central debate in California this year
during its worst-ever drought.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples visited Dallas in
early April to urge residents to conserve water now or face the
“A few drops saved by 26 million Texans will go a long way
toward saving water,” he told a gathering at the Dallas Regional Chamber of
Commerce, “which goes a long way toward saving jobs, helping our economy and
making certain that Texas can grow.”
Joining Staples were Frisco Mayor
Maher Maso and Jim Parks, executive director of the North Texas Municipal Water
District. They touted the Texas Water Smart initiative, a public-private
education campaign geared toward curtailing wasteful water habits across
“We’re here with a message today that every Texan can do their
part for water conservation,” said the agriculture commissioner, who spearheads
About 1 in 4 of the state’s water supply entities are under
voluntary or mandatory conservation methods, Staples said, and with Texas
reservoirs only 65 percent full, many communities are coping with severe
drought conditions. Learn
Senior officials of the United States
and Mexico joined together to celebrate a historic first-time intentional
release of water—called a “pulse flow”—from Morelos Dam near the U.S.-Mexico
border. The water release—which began on March 23, reaches its peak in April
and will continue until mid-May— is part of a broad package of joint
cooperative treaty actions to ensure the Colorado River system is able to
continue to meet the needs of both nations.
The United States and Mexico
agreed to the water release as a result of joint efforts and investments in
water conservation projects in accordance with “Minute 319,” a 2012 bi-national
agreement adopted under the 1944 U.S.-Mexico Treaty framework for sharing the
Colorado River water. All Lower Colorado River Basin users in the United States
and Mexico will continue to receive their full allocations of Colorado River
water in 2014. Learn
Jorge Figeroa of Western Resource Advocates traveled to
Mexico to observe and photograph the pulse flow event. His blog describes jubilant celebrations and a festival-like atmosphere. His photo "piesitos" (translated
as "tootsies") shows some of the pulse flow celebrants.
The Alliance for
Stewardship (AWS) has released the International Water Stewardship Standard
version 1.0, the first global framework to promote sustainable freshwater use.
The AWS Standard (version 1.0) can now be implemented to help to mitigate water
risk and demonstrate action to address shared water challenges.
focusing on targets in water governance, water balance, water quality and other
important water-related areas, AWS hopes the Standard will help water-users
understand the value of water, mitigate their water risks, and earn recognition
for responsible water stewardship. The AWE Standard clearly defines criteria
for good water stewardship and was designed to align with other sustainability
initiatives and support independent certification with varying levels of
The AWS Standard will be supported by a verification
program, to be completed in 2014, with varying levels of recognition and
offering assurance for investors, owners and purchasers. AWS encourages sites
to begin implementing today.
For more information, visit www.a4we.org/awslaunch.aspx
Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Federal
Register notice of proposed rulemaking regarding test procedures for
residential clothes washers (April 11, 2014).
DOE’s rules specify how
clothes washers are to be tested for energy and water consumption and other
a PDF of the proposed rulemaking update here.
In the fall of 2013, 128 Canadian licensed plumbers and
apprentices took part in a pilot version of the Green Plumbers® USA program.
They came from the Greater Toronto Area, Kitchener-Guelph-Waterloo, and the
City of Vancouver to learn about a plumber’s role in urban water
Participants studied topics such as the water cycle,
conservation programs, water audits, high-efficiency technology, rainwater
harvesting and graywater. Through post-training evaluation surveys, focus
groups, and a national phone survey of 200 randomly-selected plumbers,
organizers learned about their attitudes and behaviors as they relate to
The program was supported by AWE and our Canadian
members and made possible by a grant AWE helped secure from the Royal Bank of
Canada. Project management was provided by Econics, a BC-based company that
specializes in urban water sustainability. Workshops were delivered by Doug
Kirk, the lead trainer from Green Plumbers® USA, and Sam Steele, a plumbing
instructor with Humber College in Toronto. Learn
The Austin Hilton Hotel, located in the
heart of downtown, is a busy place that had over 231,000 occupied rooms last
year. The hotel recently teamed up with Austin Water to explore ways of making
operations as water efficient as possible.
Spurred by the chance of
winning the environmentally-focused 3C Business Challenge, Hilton management
installed an ozone treatment laundry system for use with existing machines.
Ozone is a cleaning agent that can be injected directly into the incoming
laundry water lines. It safely removes dirt from linens by breaking down soil
molecules more effectively than chlorine and other cleaning agents. It is most
effective when used in cold water, which drastically reduces energy demands for
water heating for laundry facilities.
According to Austin Water, the
Hilton’s laundry water use dropped by approximately 25% after the treatment
system installation which saved enough water and energy to payback the
investment in only one year. Peak day water savings from the ozone treatment
system for the four, 275 lb. washers was 8,320 gallons. Combined peak day
water and wastewater cost savings was over $108 per day or about $39,500
annually. This does not include the additional savings in energy costs and the
$8,320 rebate from Austin Water for the ozone treatment system.
Culp, Hilton’s facility engineer, said hotel staff reported increased life of
linens, decreased use of cleaning chemicals and no chemical smell in towels and
linens after washing. Taking the 3C Business Challenge also helped the Austin
Hilton towards designation as a Green Business Leader and a WaterWise Hotel
The 3 “C”s of the 3C Business Challenge are “Commit, Calculate,
and Conserve”. Learn
more about the 3C Business Challenge here.
A new survey of major U.S. corporations released
by the Pacific Institute and VOX Global, titled Bridging Concern with
Action: Are US Companies Prepared for Looming Water Challenges?, reveals that
most companies believe water challenges will significantly worsen in the next
five years. However, the majority of companies surveyed do not appear to be
planning corollary increases in the breadth and scale of their water risk
Management practices. In fact, nearly 70 percent of responding companies said
their current level of investment in water management is sufficient.
an attempt to gain insight on corporate perceptions of risks associated with
water issues and plans to address these challenges, the Pacific Institute and
VOX Global surveyed over 50 companies, the majority Fortune 500 and publicly
traded, representing virtually every industry sector. In addition to an online
survey, in-depth interviews were conducted with senior officials who have
direct responsibility for water issues from companies including: AT&T,
Cummins, Inc., The Hershey Company, Miller-Coors, and Union Pacific
Nearly 60 percent of responding companies indicated that water
is poised to negatively affect business growth and profitability within five
years, while more than 80 percent said it will affect their decision on where
to locate facilities. This is a stark increase from only five years ago, when
water issues affected business growth and profitability for less than 20
percent of responding companies.
The Ohio Senate has approved a bill which would ban the use of
LEED v4 in Ohio. Supporters of the measure believe that only green building
rating systems, codes and standards developed by the American National
Standards Institute (ANSI), which includes a stakeholder process, should be
used to implement state energy efficiency and environmental performance
The legislation was introduced is in response to the U.S.
Green Building Council's (USGBC) fourth version of Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) standards, LEED v4, which eliminates the use of
certain building materials impacting Ohio industries.
Josh Young of the
American Chemical Council was the first of the proponents to testify when the
bill was heard by the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee. He said his
organization and its members are supporters of energy efficiency, and that
until LEED v4 came out, their products have been the building materials for all
He called the new LEED standards "ironic," and
said LEED v4 stepped into "chemical regulation" and created credits for
"chemicals of avoidance" that target products made in Ohio, and therefore
threatens jobs in the very industry LEED was created to support.
uncertain if the bill has enough support to pass the Ohio House of
more about this legislation here.
Lawns may have a reputation for being excessively thirsty, but spring
preparation will develop deep, drought resistant roots that use less of our
precious water resources. Factors like the soil type, grass type, the amount of
sun or shade, and the time of year all affect how a lawn should be watered.
Deep roots are a secret to drought tolerance.
horticultural expert and NPR commentator, Tom Throgmorton explains how to get
your lawn to flourish in a dry climate.
One of Tom’s tips: Soaking
the root zone to a depth of 6 inches will train your lawn to use less water. Be
sure to keep the soil moist but not saturated. It will take some
experimentation to figure out how much water your soil requires to be moist. In
the end your grass will have deeper, drought tolerant roots.
Residents in Ireland will have to pay a
basic water charge of up to €100 ($138 US) as
Irish Water hopes to soon
apply a fixed charge of one-third of the expected average €300 ($414) water
bill with the remaining two thirds coming from variable charges the Irish
Under the proposal, Irish Water, a new state
company tasked with running water system, would be ensured a guaranteed revenue
stream regardless of water use. The proposal includes an overall 33 percent
rate increase with is likely to be controversial with some describing it as a
“tax” rather than an incentive to conserve water.
As with electricity and
gas bills, the water bill fixed charge component is designed to cover the cost
of the meter, providing the supply and customer services. The proposal must be
approved by Ireland’s Commission for Energy Regulation.
more about the proposed changes to water rates and changes in Ireland
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