Water Efficiency Watch - May 2022

In this Issue of Water Efficiency Watch...

  • AWE Roundtable on Delivering Water Conservation Programs to Disadvantaged Households: Recap
  • AWE Regional Member Meetings
  • WaterSmart Drought Resiliency and Water Efficiency Grants
  • Water Funding in President Biden’s Budget
  • Member Spotlights
  • Next Generation Water Summit
  • Value of Water Survey Shows Americans Support Water Infrastructure Investment
  • Utah Legislation Addresses Water Shortages
  • News Briefs

AWE Roundtable on Delivering Water Conservation Programs to Disadvantaged Households: Recap

On April 7, AWE held a roundtable discussion with members from throughout the country to discuss strategies for delivering water conservation programs to disadvantaged households. Unlike our traditional webinar format, this roundtable featured facilitated conversations in breakout groups to discuss challenges and obstacles, exchange ideas and potential solutions, and network with peers working on similar programs. Over sixty water professionals participated and the roundtable received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

Notes and key takeaways from the roundtable were shared with participants and are available to all members. AWE hopes to host more roundtable discussions in the near future. AWE members: Click here to reach out to Liam if you'd like to view the notes from this roundtable, or if you have any suggestions for future roundtable topics!           

AWE Regional Member Meetings

AWE is excited to announce its first annual Regional Member Meetings! Learn what's new with AWE, discuss important topics to your region in a small group, roundtable format, and connect with other members local to you. These fully virtual meetings are free to AWE members and $50 for non-members. Attend one or more meeting(s) from anywhere in the country. Here are the dates, times, and main discussion topics for each region:

  • Canada on Tuesday, May 17 - Why Water Conservation Matters in Water Abundance (or the Perception of)
  • Southeast on Wednesday, May 18 - The Role of Water Conservation in Planning for Population Growth
    • From 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM EDT
  • Southwest* on Tuesday, May 24 - The Role of Water Conservation to Mitigate Demand in the Face of Growth
  • Great Lakes and Northeast on Tuesday, June 7 - Why Water Conservation Matters in Water Abundance (or the Perception of)
    • From 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM CDT
  • Northwest on Tuesday, June 14 - Why Water Conservation Matters in Water Abundance (or the Perception of)
    • From 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM PDT

Click here to view full agendas and to register.

WaterSmart Drought Resiliency and Water Efficiency Grants 

The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allocates $400 million over 5 years for WaterSmart Grants. Funding opportunities for drought resiliency projects are open for FY23. Applicants must be based in or in partnership with an entity in one of the following locations: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, or Puerto Rico. 

City or township governments, state governments, county governments, Native American tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations are all welcome to submit proposals for projects that will build long-term resilience to drought and reduce the need for emergency response actions. Proposals are due by June 15, 2022. Click here  to learn more.

USBR has also released $160 million in grants for water efficiency projects. Projects eligible for these grants must conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the production of renewable energy, mitigate conflict risk in areas at a high risk of future water conflict, or accomplish other benefits that contribute to sustainability in the Western United States. Proposals are due by July 28. Click here  to learn more.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recently joined an AWE webinar to outline WaterSmart grant opportunities. Click here to access a recording of the webinar, which is free to AWE members.

Water Funding in President Biden’s Budget

President Biden's proposed 2023 budget includes funding for water infrastructure resiliency programs that were authorized in last year’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). WaterSmart grants that prioritize water efficiency received $400 million from IIJA. However, some of the resiliency programs were only authorized and still need to be funded through the budget. AWE sent a letter to the White House encouraging President Biden to include funding for these programs in his budget, and we applaud that he did.

Water efficiency is one of the eligible expenses for the following programs:

  • Midsize and Large Drinking Water Infrastructure System Resilience and Sustainability Program (EPA)

    • ​​President’s proposed 2023 budget: $50 million.
  • (Small) Drinking Water System Infrastructure Resilience and Sustainability Program (EPA)
    • President's proposed 2023 budget: $25 million.
  • Clean Water Infrastructure Resilience and Sustainability Program (EPA)​
    • President's proposed 2023 budget $25 million.

Congress is now considering the President’s budget request as it drafts appropriations bills for FY 2023. Keep an eye on AWE's Legislative Watch page for further updates.

Member Spotlights

Boss Defrost partners with Whole Foods

AWE Partner Boss Defrost announced a partnership with Whole Foods Market to use its water-saving device for defrosting food in over 40 stores serving communities in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, and Texas. Boss Defrost is an appliance designed to safely thaw sealed, frozen food in both commercial and residential kitchens. Click here  to learn more.

Flume Household Water Index

AWE partner Flume hosted a webinar on April 28 to provide a quarterly analysis update on water use across its top 15 US Metropolitan Areas during Q1 2022. Flume reviewed indoor and outdoor residential water use patterns, and appliance and fixture level data from its nationwide network of sensors. Click here  for a recording of the webcast, and click here  to access the interactive Flume Data Labs Household Water Use Index.

AWE water agency members can offer Flume monitoring devices to their customers at discounted prices, with purchases made on a website created by Flume that is unique to the agency’s service area. Click here to learn more about this terrific program!

Charlottesville Assesses Buildings to Reduce Energy and Water Use

AWE Partner City of Charlottesville (VA) has hired CMTA Energy Solutions to assess over 40 buildings in its government and school portfolio, seeking opportunities to drastically reduce energy and water use, achieve high levels of utility bill savings, and add renewable energy systems. Cost savings strategies and systems upgrades under consideration include standardizing HVAC equipment, HVAC controls, and plumbing fixtures citywide. Click here  to learn more.

Next Generation Water Summit 

The agenda for the Next Generation Water Summit (NGWS) has been finalized. The NGWS returns virtually May 19-20, 2022 with the theme "Growth in the Time of Drought." There will be multiple tracks devoted to this pressing issue, as well as multiple, concurrent tracks each day featuring national speakers and topics. Two national tracks will take place on Thursday, May 19th immediately after the opening keynote by Robert Glennon. Thursday’s highlights include:

  • “COVID: The Growth Boom and Its Impact on Water” with Brian Schmidt, Senior Economist for the Portland Cement Association, and Brian Richter, Author and Professor at the University of Virginia
  • “Water Use in Cannabis Operations” with Ben Lewinger, Executive Director of the New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.

AWE's President and CEO, Ron Burke, will also be a speaker. Click here  to learn more and to register for the NGWS.

Value of Water Survey Shows Americans Support Water Infrastructure Investment

The Value of Water Campaign conducted its annual survey of voter support for water infrastructure investment. The survey found that 84% of respondents believe that a reliable water supply is extremely or very important. Another 12% said somewhat important. Click here  to view the full results of the survey.

Despite the widespread, bipartisan support for further investment in water infrastructure, the federal government pays less than 5 percent of the cost for drinking water and wastewater, relying instead on loans to local communities. Water efficiency and conservation are the most immediate, cost-effective, and environmentally beneficial ways to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Click here  to view an op-ed from the Alliance for Water Efficiency, originally published in The Hill last year, that outlines the importance of water efficiency funding in fighting against drought and climate change.       

Utah Legislation Addresses Water Shortages

With 99% of Utah in severe drought and 28 of Utah's largest 45 reservoirs below 55% of available capacity, Utah has adopted a dozen new laws intended to support water efficiency and conservation and to protect the Great Salt Lake. The laws include a statewide turf buy-back program, $250 million for metering, and a requirement to integrate land use and water planning. Click here  to learn more about this historic legislation.

News Briefs

Lake Powell Water Levels fall to Historic Low. Learn more here 

CO River States Hold Back Water in Lake Powell: Learn more here 

DOE Grant Supports Research on growing Low-Water Crops in the Desert: Learn more here 

CO River Named Most Endangered: Learn more here 

AWE's Director of Programs, Liesel Hans, offers 5 Simple Ways to Save Water at Home & in Your Daily Life: Learn more