The Alliance for Water Efficiency produces cutting-edge research on diverse water efficiency issues to advance investments in sustainable water management. Our reports highlight and uncover water efficiency opportunities, barriers, and challenges. We work with partners to design, plan, and execute groundbreaking research projects tackling important issues practitioners need to understand, such as outdoor water use, the water-energy nexus, water loss, and drought.

Ongoing Research Initiatives

Evaluating Changes in Peak Demand and How That May Affect the Choice, Design, Management, and Evaluation of Demand Management Strategies

With generous funding from the Water Research Foundation, this project will evaluate peak demand management strategies from six utility participants to understand their costs and benefits, as well as which water efficiency and conservation strategies are most useful to reduce peak demands. This research will help water utilities across North America understand peak demands trends and patterns, learn how climate change and changing patterns influence peak demands, avoid expenditures and minimize water bills, and extend existing water supplies and infrastructure. Stay tuned for a final report in Summer 2025. 

Behavior Change for Water Change

What behaviors drive outdoor water conservation? And how can we work to encourage those behaviors in our communities? With funding from the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, this project will collect and synthesize current knowledge of behavior-based strategies and previously researched efforts to help understand drivers of the behaviors that influence household outdoor water use and residential irrigation practices. It will also include a pilot experiment testing top-identified behavior-based strategies to reduce residential outdoor water use and encourage efficient irrigation practices. Stay tuned for a final report in Winter 2025!

Best in Class: Smart Practices for Residential Landscape and Irrigation Programs

AWE's latest project with the Scotts Miracle Gro Foundation will be a resource of the smart practices in utility-sponsored residential landscape and irrigation programs. This project will account for the significant evolution of utility landscape transformation programs over the past decade and look more closely at how to design utility-sponsored landscapes and irrigation-focused strategies. This resource will highlight how utilities have collaborated with their communities, universities and educators, and related industries like retailers, nurseries, gardens, and landscape and irrigation contractors. It will also investigate how utilities are addressing equity concerns and improving processes and programs to deliver more equitable outcomes. Stay tuned for a final report in Spring 2025.

Innovation in Water Conservation Best Management Practices in the State of Michigan 

AWE is excited to be working with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to identify and evaluate innovations and technological advancements in water conservation best management practices across the State’s water use sectors. This project will inform the State of Michigan Water Use Program and Michigan’s Water Conservation and Efficiency Program, as well as advance progress toward achieving Michigan’s water conservation and efficiency goals and objectives under the Great Lakes Compact. AWE is taking on this project with support from the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and H.W. (Bill) Hoffman & Associates, LLC. Stay tuned for a final report in Spring 2025.

Evaluating & Optimizing Large-Scale Landscape Irrigation Management and Transformation Strategies

AWE's latest Outdoor Water Savings Research Initiative is analyzing water savings from landscape transformation and irrigation optimization programs targeting commercial, industrial, and institutional (CII) customers across 20+ participating utilities in California, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, and Oregon. The project is also exploring the strategies and market readiness for utilities to design and implement programs to transform or optimize water use on large-scale landscapes. Thank you to our project sponsors, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Colorado Water Conservation Board for supporting our research! Stay tuned for the final report in Fall 2024. 

A Practical Primer of the Many Uses for AMI in Water Conservation & Efficiency

Advanced Metering infrastructure (AMI) is becoming more prevalent as utilities upgrade their metering infrastructure. But with great data, comes great responsibility. The AMI Primer research project aims to outline the many potential ways to utilize AMI data for conservation and efficiency purposes, including case study examples, considerations, and recommendations. The project will empower its 8 participating utilities to confidently create and/or enhance AMI programs that deliver grater savings in a more efficient and effective manner. Stay tuned for a final report in Fall 2024. 

Understanding Water Use in Mobile Homes

AWE is partnering with Colorado Water Conservation Board to improve the understanding of water use in mobile home parks in three Colorado communities - City of Thornton, City of Fountain, and Colorado Springs Utilities. The project will provide no-cost service to mobile home park residents to audit and replace low-efficiency fixtures and detect and repair leaks. The project will also identify barriers and opportunities to work with this segment, and research submetering solutions and equity issues in current metering and billing systems. Stay tuned for a final report in 2025.

Latest Research Initiatives

An Assessment of Water Affordability & Conservation Potential in Santa Barbara, CA

AWE's report, An Assessment of Water Affordability & Conservation Potential in Santa Barbara, CA evaluates the City's water affordability and the extent to which water efficiency and conservation can help families decrease their water and wastewater bills, especially in California-designated DAC communities.The analysis also includes a community outreach and engagement effort to better understand the challenges community members face in managing their water use and bills and help shape potential solutions taken by the City. 

Non-Functional Turf: 2023 Summary of Programs and Policies

AWE’s report, Non-Functional Turf: 2023 Summary of Programs and Policies, is a culmination of our work with water agencies from across the Colorado River Basin, who signed a joint memorandum of understanding in late 2022, committing to take additional actions to increase water efficiency to help protect and conserve water in the CRB region.

Water and Energy Savings Estimates for CII Landscapes Upgrade Projects

In 2022 AWE collaborated with Regional Water Authority (RWA) to prepare a report titled "Water and Energy Savings Estimates for CII Landscapes Upgrade Projects". The report evaluates 10 projects from RWA's CII Landscape Upgrades Program and uses a water budget approach to estimate water savings post-installation using AWE's customized Water Budget Tool and Water Conservation Tracking Tool. 

An Assessment of Water Affordability & Conservation Potential in Houston, Texas

AWE’s report, An Assessment of Water Affordability and Conservation Potential in Houston, Texas, evaluates water affordability in Houston and the extent to which water efficiency and conservation can help families, particularly disadvantaged families, lower their water and sewer bills. 

Smart Practices to Save Water: An Evaluation of AMI-enabled Proactive Leak Notification Programs

AWE’s report, Smart Practices to Save Water: An Evaluation of AMI-enabled Proactive Leak Notification Programs, analyzes water savings from AMI-enabled leak notification programs at four participating utilities - Forth Worth, TX, Sacramento, CA, Sacramento Suburban Water District, and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. 

2022 State Policy Scorecard for Water Efficiency and Sustainability

The 2022 U.S. State Policy Scorecard for Water Efficiency and Sustainability (Scorecard) evaluated and ranked each U.S. state based on its adoption of laws and policies that advance water efficiency, conservation, sustainability, and affordability. California was the top ranked state followed by Texas, Arizona, Washington, Georgia, New York, Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Minnesota to round out the top ten.