Water Efficiency Watch - January 2021

In this issue of Water Efficiency Watch:

  • Department of Energy Issues Final Rules That Slash Efficiency Standards
  • AWE and Water & Planning Network Host a Webinar
  • Welcome to Two New AWE Board Members!
  • New Category of G480 Verification
  • Open Channel Systems
  • Fix a Leak Week
  • AWE Member Interview: Jill Greiner
  • Beta Test the Revamped Home Water Works Site
  • WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition Issues Call for Abstracts
  • California Irrigation Institute Conference
  • WateReuse Symposium
  • ACE 21
  • News Briefs

Department of Energy Issues Final Rules That Slash Efficiency Standards

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a final rule that adopts a revised definition for "showerhead," and separate definitions for "body spray" and "safety shower showerhead". These products are exempt from current efficiency standards, meaning that the shower in this picture will now be legal. Click here  to view the full text of the final showerhead rule, which was opposed by AWE and 60 undersigned organizations--including water utilities, manufacturers, local governments and non-profits--in a letter filed in October.

Furthermore, an additional rule announced that certain clothes washers and dryers will now be able to use unlimited energy and water. This rule, which was opposed by AWE and 58 undersigned organizations in a comment letter filed in October, establishes separate "product classes" for clothes washers and dryers with a short cycle as the "normal cycle." This troubling new rule will open the door to wasteful products because washers and dryers in this product class will not be subject to any energy or water efficiency regulations. Click here  to view the full text of the final clothes washer rule.

These rules were proposed under the false narrative that consumers are clamoring for more choice, but the consumer demand was nonexistent. “It was a regulatory solution in search of a problem—a problem that doesn’t really exist,” according to Kerry Stackpole , Executive Director of Plumbing Manufacturers International. President Trump targeted water and energy regulations that had been on the books for decades, first passed in the Regan and Bush Administrations, and often discussed his views in political rallies.

AWE will continue to monitor these concerning developments, and we plan to reach out to the incoming Biden Administration to advocate for the reversal of these rules. Click here to learn more about our efforts to oppose this attack on water efficiency.

AWE and Water & Planning Network Host a Webinar

Every land use decision is a water management decision—especially when a land use or development is located within a municipality’s drinking water source watershed. Join AWE and the Water and Planning Network on Thursday, January 14 at 1 p.m. CST for a webinar titled, “A Glass Half Full: Planning and Source Water Protection.” Learn how a team of land use and environmental planners worked with a Water Utility and developed a Source Water Protection Plan and Policy that will better link land use and water management decisions for The City of Calgary.

This webinar will discuss:

  • The role of planners in Water Utility management and water resource planning.
  • The evolution of source water protection planning in Calgary’s source watersheds.
  • Actions to mitigate risks key risks to source water from wildfire and stormwater.
  • Strategies to better integrate watershed management and land use decisions.

Click here to learn more and to register for this not-to-be-missed webinar on Thursday, January 14.

Welcome to Two New AWE Board Members!

AWE is excited to announce the addition of two new Directors to our Board!

Julie Hernandez-Tomlin is the first woman to serve as First Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Water Management (DWM). With 22 years of water utility experience, she brings a comprehensive understanding of budgeting and finance, personnel, labor relations and procurement to her position. Second-in-command of one of the world’s largest water utilities, she manages the daily operations of Chicago’s water system and provides the expertise necessary for implementing the vision of the department to lead the nation in providing high quality water in a cost effective and sustainable manner. Click here to learn more about Julie.

Paula Paciorek is the Water Programs and Education Manager for Houston Water. She is responsible for developing and guiding the strategy for water conservation efforts in Houston via the implementation of best management practices and measures and cost-effective programs within the City and through its residential, industrial-commercial-institutional (ICI) and wholesale customers. In addition, Paula is responsible for the development and implementation of resource recovery and water loss reduction strategies and measures, as well as the Drought Contingency plan. Click here to learn more about Paula.

New Category of G480 Verification

The Alliance for Water Efficiency is happy to announce the addition of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Upper Trinity Regional Water District to the AWE G480 Leaderboard. These two water districts are the first to be listed on the Leaderboard as Exemplary Wholesalers, meaning that the utilities achieved all of the applicable wholesaler sections of the G480, demonstrating a strong commitment to water conservation. Click here to visit AWE's G480 Leaderboard to see the full list of AWE members who have been verified.

The AWWA G480-13 Water Conservation Program Operation and Management Standard (G480 Standard) identifies critical elements of an effective water conservation program that water providers can adopt at their own discretion. The standard is being updated, and AWE has stopped accepting new submissions for verification until the new edition is released and AWE’s review process is updated. The Alliance looks forward to continuing the verification process later this year.

Open Channel Systems

AWE is now offering our members discounted access to Open Channel Systems, a software platform from Radian Developers that combines business analytics with conservation and communications tools to comprehensively manage finished water. Instead of drowning in data from AMI systems, utilities now have the opportunity to systematically manage, protect, extend, and utilize these data to improve the management of water resources.

AWE members receive a 10% discount on Open Channel Systems. Click here to learn more about this exciting data management platform and to access the discount.

Fix a Leak Week

Save the dates for the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual Fix a Leak Week, March 15 through 21, 2021. The average household's leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year and ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. From family fun runs to leak detection contests to WaterSense demonstrations, Fix a Leak Week events happen from coast to coast and are all geared to teach consumers how to find and fix household leaks.

Click here  to learn more about Fix a Leak Week and find out how your company or utility can get involved.

AWE Member Interview: Jill Greiner

Jill Greiner is the Water Efficiency Program Coordinator at City of Charlottesville in Virginia, She is also the Chair of AWE's Education and Outreach Committee.

Tell us about your current position and the path that led you there.

I am the City of Charlottesville’s Water Efficiency Program Coordinator. I have worked for the City for 6 years and run the Water Conservation Program for Charlottesville, Virginia managing their water saving rebate and incentive programs, managing the water usage of all City managed and owned buildings, and delivering an active and engaging outreach program to our community including all City public schools.

The path to my position in water conservation is founded around research and science. Ever since I was young, I have always been attracted to water and the environment. I pursued independent research in marine ecology in high school, and I continued my interest in science in college receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biology concentrating in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University in 2009.  I moved to Charlottesville, Virginia in 2010 to get my Master’s in Environmental Science at the University of Virginia. While at UVA, I served as a teaching assistant to various environmental classes and labs.

After a few years enjoying the Eastern Shore of Virginia counting seagrass shoots and processing thousands of sediment samples, I was eager to apply my experience and education in a real-world environment and ideally staying close to the theme of water. I was very lucky get my “dream job” in Charlottesville running the City’s Water Conservation Program in 2014.

What do you consider the biggest successes in your career so far?

Over the past 6 years I have had a lot of amazing experiences and success stories from the small scale of getting a few kids excited about science and saving water to larger accomplishments like getting my research published and delivering a successful water conservation program each year. I am particularly proud of the City’s Water Conservation Program being nationally recognized by the EPA WaterSense program for all six years that I have been working with the City. The WaterSense program is such an important resource and receiving an honor from them such as their Partner of the Year and Sustained Excellence Awards, are very important to me and help provide the support to continue to grow the program. Also, during the summer of 2019, I and a coworker worked on the City’s first energy and water management policy that was passed by our City Manager, which implements essential water saving practices and water saving improvements for our own City buildings.

What are some emerging trends, challenges, or opportunities in your field that you find particularly interesting?

Staying relevant, fresh, and interesting has been a huge challenge in the water conservation world. This is particularly true for us in Charlottesville, where we are not typically experiencing drought conditions or water shortage issues. As a result, I have found a lot of unique opportunities to collaborate and follow along with my peers in the field, learning from them, and implementing innovative communication techniques or strategies to stay relevant.

Being the only person running our water conservation program means I get to wear all the hats from marketing, data analysis, creative development, and long-term program planning. This is one reason I really enjoy what I do and my position as each day I can focus on a large variety of task types. This also does pose a challenge as I have had to learn and develop a lot of new skills. Marketing was one area I was completely new when I started; however, I understood the basics of communication and loved data, so I used a data-driven approach to revamp our entire marketing and outreach efforts to be able to track progress more effectively. I do see a focus on data and even open data being brought in more into the water world which is very exciting.

What advice would you give to people just beginning their careers in water conservation?

It honestly feels like it was yesterday being completely new in this field and feeling very lost. Luckily, if you are reading this then you already know of an amazing resource, the Alliance for Water Efficiency! I spent a lot of my first few months reading the literature and resources already available in the water conservation field (and still reference these often) and then started to work on building my network by going to conferences, attending meetings, and trying to meet people (within my organization and outside). Some of these conferences or organizations you join might not be directly related to water which can be very helpful as well. I have learned a lot joining some local government organizations (ELGL) and local innovation organizations that have provided a lot of great tools and resources that could be applied to the water field. Lastly, find out what you think you can bring to the water conservation field that might be unique or different, and use that to show your unique and innovative approach to an ever-growing field.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? Favorite hobbies, recreational activities?

I love to do anything that is related to water and science, and to keep this connection I volunteer with a local water quality monitoring group to take monthly water samples in our City’s streams to measure potentially harmful bacteria levels. I am also a big athlete and after doing competitive rowing through most of my younger years, I switched to roller derby while getting my master’s degree to keep up my competitive itch playing for the Charlottesville Derby Dames (Derby Name: The Big Bangarang). After playing roller derby for 7 years, a very fast paced, contact sport, I have had to retire to finally let my body relax and heal from all my years of competing. One of my steadfast hobbies that I enjoy with my husband is playing board games (the more complicated kind than Sorry and Monopoly). We have a VERY large board game collection and I make sure to keep my eye out for any good science or water themed board games to add to our collection (happy to provide recommendations). Board games have been great to enjoy during COVID-19 as we are stuck at home and need to play through our collection.

Beta Test the Revamped Home Water Works Site

AWE's Home-Water-Works.org  and Water Usage Calculator are undergoing an upgrade! The site and the calculator will both be mobile responsive and feature modernized graphics, along with the option for Spanish translation. Since 2011, the Calculator has been the most accurate tool for homeowners to measure their water use in and around their house, and over 350,000 people use the site and calculator every year.

We are seeking volunteers to beta test the latest edition of Home Water Works. Want to be one of the first AWE members to try out the new and improved version of this popular consumer tool? Click here  to reach out to Liam at AWE for more information.

WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition Issues Call for Abstracts

Experts in the field of urban water efficiency and conservation are invited to submit presentation proposals for the 13th WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition (WSI), slated for Oct. 6-7 in Las Vegas. Professionals, scientists, government employees, public- and private-sector institutions, policymakers, students, and all others working in an industry related to water efficiency are invited to submit a proposal for an oral presentation, panel discussion or workshop. No formal manuscript is required; however, the presentations are posted online after the conference. Abstracts for presentations must be submitted by March 2, 2021. Click here  to learn more and to view a list of topics and submittal guidelines. Candidates chosen as presenters will be notified by e-mail and postal mail no later than Tuesday, May 4.

Complimentary conference registration will be provided to all accepted participants for the day of their presentation only or receive a $110 discount off full conference registration of $395. The largest event of its kind in the world, WSI draws more than 1,000 participants each year from cross the United States and around the globe.

California Irrigation Institute Conference

Join the California Irrigation Institute for a virtual conference, February 1-2, 2021. Anyone with an interest in agricultural or urban water management should attend this conference. There will be a diverse group of attendees that includes agricultural and urban water purveyors, manufacturers, engineers, consultants and government agencies.

The Keynote address will be delivered by California's Secretary for Natural Resources, Wade Crowfoot. The Opening Panel, "I'm Only Happy When it Rains: Leveraging Stormwater as Supply," will be hosted by Danielle Dolan of the Local Government Commission, Dr. Andrew Fisher of UC Santa Cruz, and Glenn Drown of Lidco, Inc.  There are numerous presentations on AMI and other topics.

Click here  to view the full program agenda and to register.

WateReuse Symposium

Register today for the 36th Annual WateReuse Symposium, a virtual event that will include two components: Live roundtables March 15-25, 2021 (one roundtable per day), and approximately 24 pre-recorded on demand roundtable discussions that will be released on March 1.

The full program, including the live roundtables, will be available on demand through April 23.The 2021 theme is "Resilience Redefined" and will showcase the important role that water recycling plays in ensuring water security, safety, and supply.

Click here  to learn more about this exciting event.

ACE 21

Experience the AWWA Annual Conference & Exposition (ACE) June 13-16, 2021. This year, because of the pandemic, you have the option to either attend in-person in San Diego, or to join virtually from your home or office.

However you choose to participate, you’ll find a forum for you and your colleagues to responsibly gather for the premier education, timely insight and networking you need to solve the water sector’s immediate and future challenges together.

Click here  to learn more and to register.

News Briefs

AWE was featured in Media Planet’s Modern Wellness Guide, offering tips for saving water around the house as Americans continue to stay home during COVID-19. Learn more here .

Important Information for WaterSense Licensed Certification Providers. Learn more here .

Op Ed Commentary from Brian Richter in the Denver Post: Western Slope needs to suspend irrigation to avert water shortage catastrophe.  Learn more here .

AWE partners Whirlpool and Procter & Gamble make the top 25 of Newsweek’s Most Responsible Companies. Learn more here .

AWE partner The St. Johns River Water Management District has turned to golf courses as part of its efforts to reduce pressure on underground water supplies in the region. Learn more here .

A dry start to California’s water year is reflected in the season’s first snow survey of the Sierra Nevada snowpack. Learn more here .

Minimize System Losses by Implementing Water Loss Controls - New Free Water Audit Software from AWWA. Learn more here .