Water Efficiency Watch - July 2024

In this issue...

  • 2024 Water Efficiency & Conservation Symposium
  • Research Updates
  • Policy Updates
  • News from Members and Partners
  • News Briefs

2024 Water Efficiency & Conservation Symposium

This spring has been busy as our team has been working behind the scenes to prep for the 2nd Annual Water Efficiency & Conservation Symposium! This year, we’re excited to host an anticipated 200 water practitioners from throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Our rich program agenda will feature 40 speakers and 20 speakers, complemented by a pre-event workshop and a post-event field trip.

Tickets are running out quickly! Be sure to register soon to save your spot for the event.

Official Sponsors of the 2024 Symposium 

We are proud to recognize the 2024 Water Efficiency & Conservation Symposium sponsors! Thank you for your generous support.

Research Updates

Phase 3 of Outdoor Water Research Initiative

As part of our Large-scale Landscape Research Project, AWE is partnering with Mountain Data Group to conduct a Water Savings Analysis of irrigation optimization and landscape transformation projects on CII and multi-family properties. Additionally, the team conducted a survey as part of the project’s Market Readiness Assessment to better understand market trends related to adopting water conservation and efficiency practices in commercial-scale landscapes. We also hosted a Learning Cohort meeting on “Unintended Consequences of Landscape Transformations...and How to Avoid Them.” Participants gleaned perspectives and lessons learned from Austin Water, TX, and Dr. Aditi S. Bhaskar with the University of Colorado Boulder on how to maximize benefits from landscape transformation and irrigation optimization programs.  

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

We are excited to introduce Fiona Reyes, our new Water Conservation & Efficiency Research Assistant! Fiona will support AWE's latest project with the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, which will be a resource of 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 to:  

  • Highlight how utilities have collaborated with their communities, industry, and other stakeholder, and 
  • Investigate how utilities address equity concerns and improve processes and programs to deliver more equitable outcomes. 

If you would like to showcase your organization’s work in this space and participate in this project, please email amanda@a4we.org to express your interest. 

New Project – 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 synthesize current knowledge and previously researched efforts on behavior-based strategies to understand what drives residential outdoor water use and irrigation behaviors. It will also include a pilot experiment testing top-identified behavior-based strategies to reduce residential outdoor water use and encourage efficient irrigation practices.​

If you are interested in participating in this project or learning more about it, please email amanda@a4we.org to join our Interest Call on July 23rd at 1 pm Central.  

AMI Primer

AWE hosted a Learning Cohort exploring “Leveraging AMI for Inter-Departmental Collaborations,” where project participants learned about creative ways utilities are using AMI data across their organizations beyond water conservation and efficiency. We were joined by Ed Cooney with the Town of Hillsborough, CA, and Lindsey Stuvick with Moulton Niguel Water District, CA. Stay tuned for the final published resource in Fall 2024. 

Old Colony Planning Council

AWE has been engaged by CDM Smith to support the water efficiency elements of a regional water plan for the Old Colony Planning Council, which is centered around Brockton, MA.  The region is working to improve its water resilience, lessen impacts to surface and groundwater and plan for potential impacts from needing to treat or rely on alternative sources due to PFAS. AWE is making water efficiency recommendations that will reduce long-term demands and have multiple benefits. AWE is also reviewing and providing comments on the efficiency aspects of CDM Smith’s water demand forecast for the region.  

New Report – Cal Water Project 

AWE recently completed “The Economic Value of Efficiency for California Water Service: Lower Water Bills” a report for California Water Service. Over the twenty-four service areas reviewed, the analysis found that, from 2010 to 2022, customer bills in the service districts studied would have been 1.2 to 20.5 percent higher had Cal Water not implemented water efficiency and conservation. This work was performed in collaboration with M.Cubed and A & N Technical Services. 

Policy Updates

Engaging with WaterSense on Draft Specifications for Water-Efficient Products 

Alongside our WaterSense Water-Efficient Products Advisory Committee, we developed and submitted comments on WaterSense’s notice of intent for faucets. We focused primarily on those aspects of the Faucet NOI with the largest potential impact on water efficiency – reducing the maximum flow rates for private lavatory faucets and kitchen faucets. In submitting these comments, our goal was to convey the perspectives of our members and highlight both available data and gaps in the data. AWE did not take a position on the efficiency levels of private lavatory faucets and kitchen faucets, but AWE does anticipate doing so later in part based on the additional data and information submitted by others in commenting on the Faucet NOI. 

Continued Policy Development for WaterSense Home Incentives 

The AWE-hosted working group has continued to meet to discuss federal, state, and local incentive policies to encourage more homebuilders to seek the WaterSense Homes label for water efficiency. The group is initially exploring how to create a new federal tax credit for WaterSense Homes similar to the $2,500 federal tax credit already available for EnergyStar Homes, commonly referred to by the applicable section in the tax code 45L. This group’s work will culminate later in 2024 with a policy paper, which will serve as the foundation for federal, state, and local advocacy. One of AWE’s partners, RESENT, has already started to help advocate for the 45L tax credit and has had several meetings with Congressional staff in DC. 

Eliminating Federal Taxes on Water Efficient Rebates 

We continue to advocate alongside our partners for legislation excluding water efficiency rebates from income and, therefore, federal income taxes. A similar law already exists for energy efficiency, and it is time for water efficiency to receive the same treatment. In the most recent quarter, we helped mobilize our members in Utah, which resulted in the recruitment of a Republican co-sponsor. Following those efforts, a bipartisan bill was introduced in June 2024 by Representative Huffman (D-CA-02) and Representative John Curtis (R-UT-03). Representatives Judy Chu (CA-28) and Doug LaMalfa (CA-01) joined this legislation as original cosponsors. We will keep working until this issue is fixed. 

Recent Webinars 

Workforce Development for the Water Sector | Tuesday, June 25, 2024

In June, we co-hosted a webinar with US EPA WaterSense as part of our Outdoor Water Series/  This hour-long webinar featured brief presentations from the City of Santa Fe, EPA Green Infrastructure, and the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) program where they shared about their workforce development strategies.

The recording is available on our YouTube channel here.

Flume Household Water Index | Thursday, May 9, 2024

In May, Andrew Morris, AWE’s Senior Manager of Policy and Programs, spoke on Flume Data Lab’s Quarterly Water Use Index webinar. In addition to the compelling water use data that Flume provided, Andrew shared an overview of the past, present, and future of residential clothes washer water use. Andrew discussed the details of the Department of Energy’s rulemaking for the mandatory residential clothes washer standard, further improving clothes washer water and energy efficiency.

The recording is available on our YouTube here.

Water Affordability, Equity, & Conservation Roundtable | Wednesday, May 1, 2024

In May, we hosted a dynamic roundtable focused on water affordability. Ensuring an affordable, reliable, and equitable water supply amidst a changing climate requires collaboration. At this roundtable, we gathered a variety of perspectives- from utilities, academia, nonprofits, and on-the-ground advocates- to think critically and creatively about how we can leverage water conservation and efficiency tools to address water affordability challenges while ensuring our most vulnerable community members are at the forefront of the conversation. Thank you to Morgan Shimabuku from the Pacific Institute, Dakota Corey from the City of Santa Barbara Public Works, Elisa Pardo from CommUnify, and Denise Mercado from Ecology Action for joining us as panelists.

AWE Member Achievements & Awards

Flume Selected to Conduct Residential End Uses of Water Version 3 Study

Congratulations to Flume Water, which was selected to conduct the Water Research Foundation (WRF)’s Residential End Uses of Water Study, Version 3. This is a comprehensive update to WRF’s 1999 and 2016 Residential End Uses of Water studies. With its extensive data set, technology, and expertise, Flume is well-positioned to deliver the largest, most comprehensive study ever, building on the last two studies with over 50 utility partners and water use data for over 100,000 households across the United States. Flume will work in partnership with AWE’s Technical Advisor, Peter Mayer, who will be the Principal Investigator of this project and served as Co-Principal on Versions 2 and 3.

Rancho Water Receives an Emmy

Congratulations to longtime AWE member Rancho Water for being honored with an Emmy Award in the Public Service Announcement category for its "Be a Water Hero" campaign! This recognition from The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Pacific Southwest Chapter, celebrates Rancho Water’s commitment to water conservation and sustainability.

The campaign, known for its innovative approach, underscores Rancho Water’s dedication to its community and environmental stewardship. Explore www.RanchoWater.com/WaterHero to learn more about their award-winning initiative and join us in applauding their efforts to promote a sustainable future. Congratulations to their whole team!

Dr. Kelly Kopp Honored with Distinguished University Award

Congratulations to Dr. Kelly Kopp for being selected by Utah State University as the 2024 Faculty Service University Awardee! The Faculty University Service Award is given each year to recognize and encourage excellence in service to University operations and governance. Dr. Kopp is a Professor at Utah State University, where she directs the University’s Center for Water Efficient Landscape. Her research focuses on plant water use efficiency, sustainable turfgrass management, and landscape water conservation. Recently, she has shifted her focus to developing "resource-positive" landscapes, aiming to enhance ecosystem services and climate resilience. Through USU Cooperative Extension, she conducts outreach, develops educational materials, and engages with various national and international organizations in the water and landscaping sectors.

In addition to her great work with Utah State University, Kelly has also been a longtime AWE champion and partner. Throughout the years, she has served on our Board of Directors, including as Chairwoman from 2014-2016, on AWE Advisory Committees, and as a research partner. Congrats, Kelly!


Western Senators Look to Extend Colorado River Program. Read More.
A Water War is Looming Between Mexico and the U.S. Neither Will Win. Read More.
Water Conservation Standards are Crucial to Addressing Future Challenges. Read More.
$60 Million Announced For Water Conservation Along the Rio Grande. Read More.
Why Colorado River Basin States are Split on Plan to Manage Its Water. Read More.
Upper Basin Tribes Gain Permanent Foothold in Colorado River Discussions. Read More.
A ‘Parade of Homes’ for Water Conservation. Read More.