Water Efficiency Watch - January 2022

In this issue of Water Efficiency Watch...

  • Department of Energy Officially Reverses Weakened Showerhead Standards
  • Tax-Free Water Conservation Rebates
  • States Volunteer to Take More Cuts in Colorado River Water
  • New Report - Integrating Land Use and Water Management
  • Welcome New Directors to AWE Board
  • Thank You, Bill!
  • WateReuse Symposium
  • California Irrigation Institute Conference
  • Member Spotlights
  • News Briefs

Department of Energy Officially Reverses Weakened Showerhead Standards

AWE praised the Department of Energy (DOE) for officially reversing weakened showerhead standards adopted under the Trump Administration. On December 16, 2021, DOE ended the Trump-era rules, restoring successful showerhead standards that had been in place since 1994. Showerheads were limited to a 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) standard, and in 2013 this requirement was amended to ensure the 2.5 gpm standard applies to fixtures with more than one showerhead. However, the Trump administration allowed each individual showerhead to meet the 2.5 gpm standard (for example, a fixture with three showerheads could use 7.5 gpm), while also exempting body sprays from the standard.  AWE had filed a lawsuit and rallied our network to submit comments in support of this reversal. Click here to learn more.

Tax-Free Water Conservation Rebates

For years, AWE has been a tireless advocate for making water conservation rebates tax-free, just as energy efficiency rebates have been since 1992. Taxing homeowners on water efficiency rebates increases costs and discourages water-saving improvements. Tax-exempt rebates were a provision of the Build Back Better Act, which passed the House of Representatives on November 19, 2021. AWE and 58 of our members and partners signed a letter to the U.S. Senate in support of the bill. The Build Back Better Act is currently stalled in the Senate but may still become law. AWE will continue advocating for this legislative change. Click here to learn more about this and other water efficiency legislation on our Legislative Watch page.

States Volunteer to Take More Cuts in Colorado River Water

Water leaders in Arizona, Nevada, and California signed an agreement last month to voluntarily reduce their take from the Colorado River Basin to help manage steep declines in water supplies due to prolonged drought and climate change that scientists believe is likely to be the new normal. There has been less rain and snow falling on average, and evapotranspiration and dry soils related to warmer temperatures results in less of precipitation making it to rivers and reservoirs. The agreement, known as the “500+ Plan,” was signed at the Colorado River Water Users Association annual meeting in Las Vegas. States are now required to cut 500,000 acre-feet in 2022 and 2023, or enough to serve 1 million to 1.5 million households annually, depending on water usage and conservation in the area. This is viewed as a stop-gap plan to deal with severe water shortages and low water levels in Lakes Mead and Powell. There is growing recognition that a comprehensive water efficiency and conservation plan is needed to manage the trend towards less available water. The plan also requires financial investment from the states. The federal government would match the funding, for a total of $200 million. Click here  to learn more.

New Report - Integrating Land Use and Water Management

AWE was pleased to contribute research to a new report from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy titled, Integrating Land Use and Water Management. This report describes the overall benefits and connection points between land use and water management; explores existing regulations related to integrated planning, both within comprehensive land use plans and water management plans; provides case studies of successful integrated planning within specific communities; and provides policy recommendations for encouraging and solidifying coordinated planning, whether through regulation or not. Click here  to learn more and to access the full report.

Welcome New Directors to AWE Board

AWE is excited to welcome Clover Rogers, Conservation Coordinator at Jurupa Community Services District, and Dain Hansen, Executive Vice President of Government Relations at the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) Group, to its Board of Directors!

Clover joined JCSD in 2016 to develop and implement water conservation and k-12 education programs for the District. Her current focuses are Disadvantaged Community Programs and learning how Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity are important in water.

Dain oversees international, federal legislative, and state policy initiatives impacting the plumbing industry in the U.S. and abroad. Dain also serves on the executive management of IAPMO’s nonprofit arm, the International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH).

The Alliance looks forward to working with Clover and Dain to strengthen our water efficiency initiatives and further AWE's impact in 2022 and beyond. Click here to view AWE’s full Board of Directors.

Thank You, Bill!

AWE would like to acknowledge its outgoing Director of Programs, Bill Christiansen, who is leaving the Alliance after over 13 years of service to the organization. Bill earned his Master of Science in Geography from Southern Illinois University in 2002, then got his start in the water resource management field with a consulting firm that specialized in water demand forecasting and water conservation program analysis. As AWE’s first official employee in 2007, Bill led the program department and worked on the Water Efficiency and Conservation State Scorecard, outdoor water savings research, the AWE Water Conservation Tracking Tool, Cooling Tower estimating model and Cooling Technologies study, Sales Forecasting and Rate Model, and much, much more. The Alliance wishes Bill all the best in his future endeavors, and thanks him for his hard work and dedication to water efficiency.

AWE is currently seeking applicants for a new Director of Programs. Click here to learn more.

WateReuse Symposium

There’s still time to register for the 37th Annual WateReuse Symposium, March 6-9, 2022, in San Antonio, Texas, and on the WateReuse virtual conference platform. Register to attend in person, stream sessions on demand, or both! This is the premier conference on water recycling, attracting more than 800 water professionals globally for knowledge-sharing, networking, and intriguing discussions. The event is planned in collaboration with the Water Research Foundation and includes engaging sessions on the latest reuse-related research projects. This year’s theme is Water Reuse: Shaping Our Past & Charting Our Future. Click here to learn more and to register.

California Irrigation Institute Conference

AWE and the California Water Efficiency Partnership (CalWEP) are proud to be sponsors for the 2022 California Irrigation Institute Conference. Anyone with an interest in agricultural or urban water management should attend this conference, to be held in-person at the Sacramento Arden-West Hilton, February 28-March 1.  Joaquin Esquivel, State Water Resources Control Board Chair, will be the keynote speaker. Click here  to learn more.

Member Spotlights

ACC Water Conservation Hosts Youth Film Project

AWE partner Athens-Clarke County is calling for submissions for its Ripple Effect Film Project. This initiative challenges local K-12 students to write, produce, and star in short, water-themed films. This year's theme is "Healthy Water, Healthy World." The finalists' films are shown on the big screen during the Blue Carpet Premiere, where the winners are announced and cash prizes awarded. Click here  to learn more.

City of Santa Barbara Earns Platinum on G480 Leaderboard

AWE is proud to announce that the City of Santa Barbara has received Platinum Status for the new AWE G480-20 Leaderboard.  Santa Barbara, which also achieved a Platinum Status for the Legacy AWE G480-13 Leaderboard, becomes the first utility to be recognized by AWE for complying with the recently updated G480-20 Standard. 

The AWWA G480-20 Water Conservation and Efficiency Program Operation and Management Standard is a voluntary standard that outlines critical elements of an effective water conservation and efficiency program. AWE will review and verify compliance for current members free of charge, and members can request the AWE Compliance Checklist here.

Congratulations again to the City of Santa Barbara, and we hope to see more AWE Members recognized on the G480-20 Leaderboard soon!

News Briefs

Getting over the "Yuck" Factor of using Recycled Water for Agriculture. Learn more here .

Efficient Lighting, Water Systems to Save TN DOC Nearly $1 million. Learn more here .

Climate-Proofing Your Home: Upgrades to Weather a Drought. Learn more here .

Examining Food Companies' Role in the Water Crisis. Learn more here .

California Adopts Water Restrictions as Drought Drags on. Learn more here .