Water Efficiency Watch - July 2021

In this issue of Water Efficiency Watch:

  • WaterSmart Innovations Conference and AWE Meetings
  • AWE Launches Pilot Program for Whole-Home Flow Monitoring Devices and Smart Irrigation Controllers
  • AWE Sends Letter Asking for Water Efficiency Funding
  • New G480 Water Conservation Standard
  • AWE Grant Program Funds Educational Gardens
  • Examining the Water and Land Use Connection in Water Utility Planning Requirements
  • Smart Irrigation Month
  • Drought Response Resources
  • Peter Mayer Wins George Anderson Award
  • AWE Member Spotlight

WaterSmart Innovations Conference and AWE Meetings: October 5-7

Register today for WaterSmart Innovations (WSI) 2021, to be held in Las Vegas October 6-7, 2021 WSI will again feature comprehensive professional sessions, an expo hall highlighting the most innovative water-efficiency products and services, and myriad networking opportunities with professionals from around the world. WSI 2021 marks a return to an exclusively live, in-person event. Click here  to register now.

Make sure to arrive a day early to attend AWE's Annual Member Meeting and in-person committee meetings on Tuesday, October 5, 2021. The schedule will be as follows (all times PDT):

  • WaterSense and Water Efficient Products Committee - 8:30 – 10:00 a.m.
  • Education and Outreach Committee - 10:30 – 12:00
  • Water Efficiency Research Committee - 1:30 – 3:00
  • Annual Member Meeting & Reception - 5:00 – 9:00

AWE’s Annual Member Meeting will offer food, cocktails, and music. All AWE members and prospective members are encouraged to attend! If you’d like to join water conservation’s best and bravest singers and musicians by participating in the 7th Annual Groundhog Days Music Night, click here to email Peter Mayer. Stay tuned for more news about the meetings including room numbers.

AWE Launches Pilot Program for Whole-Home Flow Monitoring Devices and Smart Irrigation Controllers

The Alliance for Water Efficiency has released two Requests for Proposals for nationwide (excluding California) direct distribution pilot programs covering whole-home flow monitoring devices and smart irrigation controllers. Building on the success of other state and regional direct distribution programs across the US, AWE is seeking proposals from manufacturers to help us build a program that not only makes smart water technology readily available to consumers, but also creates new sources of data and insights for water managers.

This pilot program is a new initiative for AWE designed to give our water utility members exclusive access to special discounts and features for smart devices that are made available directly for sale to customers. The manufacturers will offer a discount per-unit price as a bulk discount to AWE water utility members choosing to use this program. Because the California Water Efficiency Partnership is already running a similar pilot program, the AWE program excludes California. Click here to learn more and to view both of the RFPs.

AWE Sends Letter Asking for Water Efficiency Funding

As federal infrastructure legislation works its way through Congress, AWE has continued to advocate for the inclusion of a significant water efficiency investment. In an op-ed in The Hill  from May 25, 2021, AWE President and CEO, Ron Burke, and Founding President and CEO, Mary Ann Dickinson, outline the importance of water efficiency funding in the fight against extreme drought. AWE has continued to successfully elevate this important issue with a sign-on letter to congressional leadership and ongoing meetings with congressional staff.

On July 1st the U.S. House of Representatives passed the $715 billion INVEST in America Act, with funding for transportation and water infrastructure. Although this bill does not include new water efficiency grant funding that AWE has recommended, it does include significant investments that will improve water efficiency. We remain optimistic that Congress will eventually approve significant new water efficiency funding this year, and we will continue to advocate for this important investment.

New G480 Water Conservation Standard

AWE is now accepting submissions by utilities for the new G480-20 Water Conservation Program Operation and Management Standard. Current members can fill out the AWE G480-20 Compliance Checklist, and AWE staff will review the submission free of charge. Utilities that submit a compliance checklist will be eligible to receive Platinum, Gold, or Silver Status on the new AWE G480-20 Leaderboard.

Additionally, Wholesale water agencies have the opportunity to earn Exemplary Wholesaler status. The G480-13 Leaderboard will remain on the site as a legacy board. Utilities that have previously submitted compliance checklists for the G480-13 will have to submit a new checklist to be eligible for the G480-20, as many key requirements have changed. Click here to learn more.

AWE Grant Program Funds Educational Gardens

For the second year in a row, AWE is offering Learning Landscapes grants that support building or improving educational outdoor spaces that allow school-age children to experience hands-on, applied learning about the water our landscapes consume. The Learning Landscape Lessons are focused on outdoor water efficiency and align with Next Generation Science Standards for grades 3-8. The grant application period is open until July 30, 2021. Know anyone who could benefit from this grant? Help AWE spread the word about this great funding opportunity! The Learning Landscapes program is made possible by a generous grant from the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation.

Examining the Water and Land Use Connection in Water Utility Planning Requirements

How communities develop and grow significantly impacts water demand, water availability, and water rates. But there can sometimes be a disconnect between land use and water planners.  With this in mind, the Alliance for Water Efficiency, together with the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), recently published a report for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy that inventoried all 50 states to determine what legal requirements exist, if any, for water utility planning to coordinate with local land use plans. A detailed assessment was made of the laws and regulations in the states, and six state case studies were also highlighted. The research is particularly geared toward state policy makers and local utility managers interested in integrated land use and water management. Click here  to learn more and to download the full report.

Smart Irrigation Month

Smart Irrigation Month is an Irrigation Association initiative celebrated throughout July to promote the social, economic and environmental benefits of efficient irrigation technologies, products and services in landscape, turf and agricultural irrigation. Smart Irrigation Month provides numerous ways for you to be an industry leader in efficient irrigation, while helping your customers save water and money. Take advantage of the ideas and resources provided to:

Click here  to learn more about how to participate in Smart Irrigation Month.

Drought Response Resources

As much of North America continues to deal with severe drought, the Alliance for Water Efficiency is pleased to offer numerous resources to help our members and partners manage the challenges of drought conditions.

  • In January 2020, AWE released its study, Use and Effectiveness of Municipal Irrigation Restrictions During Drought. This groundbreaking research evaluated how to effectively use irrigation restrictions during drought and includes case studies. The full study is available to members only, but an executive summary is available to the public. Click here to learn more.
  • AWE's webinar archive offers recorded presentations on a variety of topics relevant to drought planning, including "Preparing for Drought," a webinar held in collaboration with the California Water Efficiency Partnership earlier this year.
  • The drought section of our online resource library features articles on drought planning and response, as well as utility revenue management (much of the content is available to members only, so sign in to your member account to access the full library).
  • CalWEP's 2015 Jumpstart Water Shortage Toolkit  provides a variety of resources to help water agencies plan for drought. A new 2021 version is available to California members only.

Furthermore, EPA WaterSense  offers great tips for communicating with customers about water use during drought. And click here to register for the next AWE/EPA WaterSense outdoor water webinar, "When in Drought," to be held July 20 at 1 p.m. CDT. 

Peter Mayer Wins George Anderson Award

Congratulation to AWE Technical Advisor and former Editor of Water Efficiency Watch, Peter Mayer, for winning the George Anderson Award from the AWWA Water Meter Standards Committee. Named for the former chief engineer at Sensus, this lifetime achievement award honors professionals that "actively advance the science of water meters through design innovation, meter operation/management, or the training of others, in a manner that unselfishly serves the mission of the AWWA."

“It is an award that speaks [to] the importance of accurate water measurement and metering to the success of our great water systems,” Mayer said, “and of the importance of research, and education, continuous improvement, as well as the importance of service to the American Water Works Association and the water industry.”

Click here  to view Peter’s full remarks upon receiving the award.

AWE Member Spotlight

Resilient Tampa

AWE partner City of Tampa (FL) has developed a plan to address the city’s most urgent shocks and stresses in an integrated way. According to Mayor Jane Castor, Resilient Tampa is “A groundbreaking roadmap that will make our city stronger in the face of our current and future challenges.” Resilient Tampa calls for climate-ready infrastructure including stormwater systems, and urges the adoption of a number of water efficiency strategies. Click here  to learn more and to access the full plan.

EcoSystems reaches 4 billion gallons of water saved

AWE partner EcoSystems has reached 4 billion gallons of water saved, a significant milestone in the company's mission to prove that conservation is good for business. EcoSystems replaces leaky toilets and upgrades bathroom and kitchen sink fixtures to the latest water conservation technology to save water and money for property owners. Click here  to learn more.

Greeley Water to Install Advanced Meters

AWE partner Greeley Water will replace and install 12,500 advanced water meters this summer thanks to a WaterSMART grant from the Bureau of Reclamation. The new meters will reduce water loss from leaks and conserve water through real-time usage tracking. Click here  to learn more.

News Briefs

In a post for his Sustainable Waters Blog, Brian Richter talks about how critically important it is for reporters to get the story straight on drought. Learn more here .

The Canadian Government is creating a new Canada Water Agency. Learn more here .

Sydney Water has teamed up with entertainer and water activist Shane Jacobson on a new campaign encouraging consumers to think differently about water use: “Turn it Off Bob.” Learn more here .

California’s drought and wildfire dangers rising at stunning pace. Learn more here .

Extremely dry U.S. West is ripe for wildfires. Learn more here .