Water Efficiency Watch

New 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...

WaterSense Authorized into Law 

WS Logo Meets CriteriaThe WaterSense® program, a highly-successful voluntary public-private partnership that has saved American consumers more than $46 billion on their water and energy bills since 2006, is now part of federal law for the first time ever. President Trump signed the 2018 America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) into Law on October 23, which includes specific language authorizing the WaterSense program officially into existence.

With authorization in place, WaterSense will qualify for annual appropriations rather than being funded at the discretion of the EPA administrator.

The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) was instrumental in the creation of the WaterSense program and has been a significant partner and supporter of the program. For many years, AWE organized members and partners to urge Congress to authorize WaterSense as part of federal law.

“We continue to believe that this is a very successful public/private partnership,” said AWE President and CEO, Mary Ann Dickinson. “This program has proven itself to be the most effective and efficient way to help Americans save water by choosing water efficient products and services certified to carry the WaterSense label.”

Dickinson was also effusive about the coalition of utilities, organizations, businesses, and individuals that worked for years to achieve this result.

“We really want to thank our many partners in the coalition supporting WaterSense,” said Dickinson, “this was a long hard fought team effort.”  Dickinson also thanked the bipartisan group of lawmakers in both the House and Senate who worked to include this vital program in the infrastructure legislation.

"We see the value of this program every day," said Veronica Blette, manager of the WaterSense program in EPA’s Office of Office of Wastewater Management, "and I know that partners are happy to see that Congress has likewise recognized its value by formally authorizing WaterSense through the AWIA."

"For more than 10 years WaterSense has helped to identify water-efficient products, professionals, and practices, Blette continued "Together with our partners we have helped consumers throughout the country save trillions of gallons of water and billions on utility bills. We look forward to continuing our work with all of our partners to help sustain our water resources today and in the future."

The 2018 AWIA incorporates WaterSense into the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act. (42 U.S.C. 6201) as a new Section 324b. While authorization is an essential step, it is not any guarantee of funding and AWE intends to continue to work to ensure WaterSense gets the financial support it needs to grow and thrive.

“The effort to support WaterSense is not over,” Dickinson stressed. “Now that the program is authorized, we must see that it is properly funded.”

The WaterSense program has operated for years on an annual budget of about $3 million per year, allocated at the discretion of the EPA Administrator. The ENERGY STAR® program, for comparison, has an annual budget of about $50 million.

With this victory in hand and a few hugs, it’s on to the next round.

Glen Pleasance Awarded 2018 AWE Water Star Honor 

Glen-Pleasance-Water-StarGlen Pleasance, Water Efficiency Manager for the Region of Durham, Ontario, Canada was named the prestigious Water Star Award winner for his 26-years of outstanding work and service to the water community.

“Glen Pleasance exemplifies the qualities that we strive to honor with the Water Star Award,” said AWE President and CEO Mary Ann Dickinson in her presentation speech. “Glen has a personal passion for water conservation, a quiet dedication to obtaining those needed reductions in water use, and persistence in the face of numerous obstacles and challenges. He has experienced more than his usual share of those, and has persevered and made important progress in achieving conservation successes.”

The Alliance for Water Efficiency presents its Water Star Award every year to recognize individual excellence in water efficiency. With the award, AWE celebrates the “unsung hero”, the water conservation practitioner working in the trenches who makes a huge difference by their quiet dedication, passion, and progressive approaches to move forward this field.

During his tenure at the Region of Durham, Glen Pleasance developed and managed programs to conserve water, making steady progress to bring his region into a national leadership role. He designed and managed toilet replacement programs, published a well-regarded household guide to water efficiency, developed water efficient demonstration gardens, conducted summer student lawn watering reduction programs, implemented rain water harvesting programs, managed indoor and outdoor water audit programs, and instituted water loss reduction programs.

WaterStarAward 2018 official pictureOne of Glen’s significant achievements is his leadership in changing how the Durham region will grow in the future. Working with the Municipality of Clarington's Planning Department, Pleasance created a water and energy efficient demonstration community. He designed an expedited approvals program for green development, and, worked closely with home builders to achieve increased water efficiency in new construction.

Pleasance has also been a leader in the broader North American water conservation community and was instrumental in ensuring that once the Alliance for Water Efficiency was created, it included the US, Canada, and Mexico. He was the very first Treasurer for AWE, and served on the AWE board of directors for nine years, the maximum allowable term.  For four years he also served as Chair for the AWWA Water Conservation Division’s Water Efficiency Programs and Technology Committee. For another six years he served as a trustee on the AWWA Water Conservation Division. He is a founding Executive Member of the Canadian Water Efficiency Network, and past Chair of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association’s National Water Efficiency Committee.

“His generosity with his time for all of us in conservation, his dedicated service, his continued perseverance to bringing his Region into a leadership position on water efficiency and sustainable growth, and his indomitable yet cheerful spirit are all reasons we honor him with the AWE Water Star Award,” Dickinson said.

Congratulations to Glen Pleasance, a truly deserving winner of the 2018 AWE Water Star Award. 

WaterSense Considers Updates to New Homes Specification  

new-home-constructionIn February 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a Notice of Intent (NOI) to revise its criteria and process for labeling water-efficient homes. First launched in 2009, the WaterSense® New Home Specification was designed to encourage builders and buyers to choose water-saving products and designs that ensure top performance. Significantly, the WaterSense homes program also incorporates third-party certification to ensure that labeled homes meet EPA's water efficiency and performance standards.





Based on feedback on the NOI, EPA has released a concept paper to provide an update to interested parties on potential changes. The concept paper outlines the possible efficiency and performance criteria for the next version of the WaterSense Specification for Homes. The concept paper also describes proposed updates to the certification process.

On Tuesday, November 13, 2018, WaterSense will hold a webinar from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern to review the concept paper and possible updates to the specification. EPA encourages interested stakeholders to register for the webinar to learn more about the potential changes. Webinar access information will be emailed to participants prior to the meeting date.

WaterSense Honors Excellence and Partners of the Year at WSI 

The WaterSense program honored more than 20 businesses and organizations with a variety of partnership and excellence awards at the 2018 Water Smart Innovations conference in Las Vegas.  The Alliance for Water Efficiency received a 2018 Excellence Award for strategic partnership.  Here is a complete list of the 2018 WaterSense award winners.  Congratulations to all!

2018 WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award Winners 

2018 WaterSense Partners of the Year 

2018 WaterSense Excellence Award Winners 

Learn more about Award winners from previous years.

AWWA approves first Affordability Policy Statement

With water affordability increasingly on the minds of utilities and consumer advocates, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) approved an Affordability Policy Statement to help communities navigate the conundrum of necessary rate increases and their impact on low-income households.

The statement in part “strongly recommends the adoption of policies and procedures by utilities, regulators, and governmental entities to address the affordability challenges experienced by some of their residential customers.”

It adds that “Utilities should work closely with their local, state, provincial, and national governments to ensure that applicable laws and policies do not impede utility efforts to address affordability challenges and evaluate new policies that allow low-income households to have access to utility services, while maintaining the fiscal sustainability of utilities.”

See the complete statement here

CalWEP & AWE Publish California Edition of the Practical Plumbing Handbook 

Practical Plumbing CA edition - coverCalWEP and AWE have updated and redesigned the Practical Plumbing Handbook, an excellent resource on how to repair and perform preventative maintenance on the fixtures in a home. From leaking toilets and faucets to bathtubs and irrigation systems, the Practical Plumbing Handbook is a useful resource to offer customers.

The California Edition of the handbook is available as a hardcopy only. Bulk pricing (with tax included) is as follows:

  • 1-100: $3 per copy
  • 101-500: $2.75 per copy
  • 501 and above: $2.50 per copy

Email CalWEP to place an order. A national version of the Handbook will be prepared and will soon be available to AWE members in other states.  AWE members interested in purchasing national edition copies should contact the AWE Office for advance orders. 

AWE Member News 

AWE member horizontalThis new section features the latest news from AWE’s member network. Interested in seeing your news here? Please send an e-mail to AWE staff member Gursharan Bains.

  • The City of Round Rock, Texas is featured in WaterWorld for its use of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to focus on leak detection and to help customers better manage their water use.
  • The Utah Rivers Council shared comments on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruling on the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline in a press release here and radio interview here 
  • Dynamic Water Technologies, based in Scottsdale, Arizona is a finalist for Innovator of the Year, Small Company at the Governors Celebration of Innovation annual awards gala. Learn more here.

AWE Member Spotlight: Santa Fe, New Mexico Cooks Up Sustainable Dining Experience 

Santa fe restaurant 1With a thriving art scene and rich history, it’s no surprise that tourism is a significant contributor to the culture and economy of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Nearly 500 restaurants deliver a vibrant culinary experience to a city with a population of about 84,000 people. With this in mind and facing continuing drought in the region, the Water Conservation Department at the City of Santa Fe determined it was the right time to focus on their commercial sector, and began a Restaurant Pilot Program in January of 2018.

Christine Chavez, Water Conservation Manager at the City of Santa Fe explained, “Since this was the first focused commercial pilot, we decided to start on a smaller scale than hotels. We also had a partnership with the Green Chamber of Commerce, which helped us facilitate the project.” Although there were initial challenges in recruiting participants due to concern about what information was going to be shared with the public and who would own the data, the City received an overwhelmingly positive response to the request for participation.  The pilot recruited 30 restaurants by leveraging support from the Green Chamber of Commerce and their relationships with local eateries.

Santa fe restaurant 2In addition to offering water and cost saving reports, the City offered the restaurants publicity on Santa Fe’s social media platforms, website, and the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce website. The City also presented them with plaques they could display to demonstrate their commitment to water efficiency. Although the initial project is still in progress, interest and requests for audits from a growing number of restaurants indicate the potential impact. Internally, the restaurant pilot is helping equip the Santa Fe water conservation staff to incorporate commercial audits into their regular customer services. The staff training process has included a workshop with Bill Hoffman of H.W. Hoffman and Associates LLC, resources from the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, and use of AWE’s Commercial Kitchens Guide to build out the audit process in addition to direct distribution to restaurant owners.

The initial audit findings and reporting have produced both new insights and new challenges. The City of Santa Fe has been able to use their work and analysis to create rebates designed specifically for commercial kitchens. The Conservation Department found that rebates for ENERGY STAR® certified air-cooled ice machines, metered shower devices, and connectionless food steamers were the best options for their customers. Since many restaurants are in strip malls that are both master metered and in spaces leased by the restaurants, rebate implementation and ongoing monitoring both pose a challenge. As a result, the City is looking into third-party technology to help with tracking water use at the restaurant level and ways to incentivize property owners.

As advice to other cities, Chavez says, “There is a lot of value in going into the field and doing it for yourself, because each city is unique in regards to metering, rebates, and AMI. There will be specific challenges and kitchen equipment trends based on the region.”

Learn more about the City of Santa Fe’s restaurant program here. To learn about commercial kitchen programs in other cities across the country, view the WSI 2018 presentation on Restaurant Recognition here.

AWE offers its members the AWE Commercial Kitchens Guide for use in restaurant and commercial programs throughout North America. It is designed for direct distribution to restaurant and hospitality managers. To order copies of this member-only resource, complete the order form here.

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.

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.