Water efficiency and conservation should be a national priority. The sustainable use of water contributes to healthy communities and healthy economies, helps citizens and businesses save money, and supports strong ecosystems. The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) focuses on promoting legislation, policy and standards at the federal level to support investments in water-efficient products and programs. At the state and local levels, AWE works hand in hand with partners to advance regulatory solutions to water challenges.

Our 2023 Priorities

U.S. Congress

AWE has been working to get the following acts introduced as standalone bills or included in other legislation. 

  1. Water Efficiency, Conservation, and Sustainability Act – This act would establish two new federal grant programs. The first would fund local water efficiency efforts focused on landscapes, appliances, and fixtures, and the second would fund technical assistance to public water systems to conduct an annual water loss audit of their system and establish a water loss control program.   

  2. Water Conservation Rebate Parity Act – This act would make water conservation rebates tax-free. Building and property owners are currently taxed on rebates for making water-saving investments, which increases their costs and discourages these improvements. The act would result in the federal government treating water conservation rebates the same as energy conservation rebates, which were exempted from federal taxation in 1992. 

Executive Branch

  1. Bureau of Reclamation – AWE is urging the Bureau of Reclamation to make a significant portion of the $4 billion for western drought response from the Inflation Reduction Act available for urban water efficiency strategies that provide long-term water demand reductions. These strategies include replacing legacy plumbing fixtures, reducing real water loss in utility distribution systems, and supporting landscape transformation programs. (See AWE's sign-on letter for more information on the initial push for this work in 2022.) While Reclamation is expected to invest heavily in funding farmers and irrigation districts to fallow farm fields, a diverse portfolio of strategies is needed for long-term sustainability. 

  2. DOE and IRS – AWE is working with energy-related nonprofit partners to explore how water efficiency can be incorporated into energy efficiency funding and tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.  

  3. WaterSense – AWE is working with its members to review and provide comments on WaterSense specifications for water-efficient products. Currently, WaterSense is considering a draft specification for spray sprinkler nozzles for landscape irrigation and for point-of-use reverse osmosis filtration systems.  

State Legislatures

Following the release of AWE’s 2022 State Policy Scorecard, AWE is working with AWE members in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah to support legislative efforts on water efficiency. AWE is focusing on these states in 2023 because of ongoing drought in the Colorado River Basin. AWE is especially focused on: 

  1. Point-of-Sale Requirements for Water Efficient Products – These requirements would apply to new water using products such as toilets, showerheads, faucets, and certain landscape irrigation equipment. AWE tracks state efforts to require water efficienct products on an ongoing basis, which you can find here

  2. Utility Water Loss Control – AWE is interested in supporting states in adopting requirements that water utilities conduct water loss audits of their distribution systems and develop water loss control plans to reduce real water losses.  

  3. Member Priorities – AWE is working to support member water efficiency priorities as they arise. For example, AWE members in New Mexico have been working on a bill that would set deadlines for limiting the installation and irrigation of so-called non-functional turf (aka, non-essential turf) in non-residential applications.