Water Efficiency Watch - November 2020

In this Issue of Water Efficiency Watch:

  • AWE Files Comments on Proposed DOE Showerhead and Clothes Washer Regulations
  • Executive Order on Water Infrastructure
  • Learning Landscapes Grant Awardees
  • AWE Webinar with Vessel the Leak Detecting Dog
  • CalWEP Peer to Peer
  • AWE Water Star Award
  • AWE Welcomes New Program Associate
  • City of Hillsboro, Oregon Deploys In-PRV Pressure Management & Micro-hydro System
  • AWE New Member Spotlight – Metrus Energy
  • Sustainable Waters Analysis on Colorado River Water Budget: “The Shark Is Upon Us”
  • WaterSense Partner of the Year Awards
  • Bureau of Reclamation Funding Opportunities.

AWE Files Comments on Proposed DOE Showerhead and Clothes Washer Regulations

Last month, AWE filed comment letters on the proposed Department of Energy (DOE) rulemakings related to test procedures for showerheads and clothes washers, as well as an additional supplementary letter commenting on the legal procedures for the showerhead rulemaking. These proposals coincide with President Trump's repeated pledges to tamper with water efficiency and revert back to decades-old high flow standards.

Under DOE’s proposed definition, each showerhead included in a product with multiple showerheads would separately be required to meet the 2.5 gpm standard established in federal law, rather than the total flow being 2.5 gpm. DOE also proposes to eliminate the terms "body spray" and "safety shower showerhead" from the showerhead definition. As a result, multiple showerheads would be routinely allowed in shower stalls, and body sprays and safety showerheads will have no legal flow requirements whatsoever.

DOE also proposes to establish separate product classes for top-loading residential clothes washers and consumer clothes dryers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 30 minutes, and for front-loading residential clothes washers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 45 minutes. DOE would consider appropriate energy and water efficiency standards for such product classes, if adopted, in separate rulemakings. This means that the new product classes, once adopted, will have no energy and water efficiency standards to govern them.

Thank you to the 58 organizations who signed on to AWE’s clothes washer comment letter, and the 60 organizations who signed the showerhead comment letter. Your support for these advocacy efforts is greatly appreciated! Click here to learn more about the proposed rulemakings, and to view the letters AWE filed.

Executive Order on Water Infrastructure

President Trump has signed a new Executive Order to address water infrastructure across the country, including establishing a new "interagency subcabinet" to streamline decisions. While Interior Secretary David Bernhardt claims the order will "…cut bureaucratic red tape and improve water infrastructure," critics have argued that the order simply seeks to redirect water to western farmers. In particular, there is concern about action item No. 1, a directive to "increase water storage, water supply reliability and drought resiliency." In the west, this typically means moving limited water supplies away from the environment in favor of agricultural water use. 

Click here  for further analysis in an article from E&E news.

Click here  to view the full Executive Order. AWE will closely monitor the legal implications of this order and keep our network apprised.

Learning Landscapes Grant Awardees

The Alliance for Water Efficiency awarded grants to eight organizations for the construction or improvement of educational gardens to be used to teach about outdoor water use efficiency.

The grantees will utilize the AWE Learning Landscapes Lessons*. The freely available lessons focus on outdoor water use efficiency for students grades 3 - 8 and align with Next Generation Science Standards. The grant awardees are:

  • Ciudad Soil & Water Conservation District, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Houston Water, City of Houston, Texas
  • Pala Band of Mission Indians, Pala, California
  • Amigos de los Rios, Altadena, California
  • Edwards Aquifer Authority, San Antonio, Texas
  • Denver Urban Gardens & Bradley International School, Denver, Colorado
  • Oak Grove School District #68, Bartonville, Illinois
  • Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District, Riverside, California

Congratulations to all the grant recipients. AWE is thrilled to offer this support and we are excited to see pictures of the projects and hear stories from these organizations that are making a difference.  A second round of five additional grants will be announced in early 2021.

*AWE Learning Landscapes Grants and Lessons were made possible by generous funding provided by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation.

AWE Webinar with Vessel the Leak Detecting Dog

Central Arkansas Water (CAW) hired a unique employee last year to bolster the utility’s distribution system leak detection capabilities. What makes this employee unique? She’s a black Labrador mix named Vessel, and she’s the first canine in North America to serve as a leak-sniffing dog. Join AWE and CAW on December 2 at 1 p.m. CST for a webinar describing Vessel’s amazing story.

Vessel was rescued from an animal shelter at the Arkansas Department of Corrections’ Paws in Prison program, which enables inmates to work with rescue dogs to socialize and teach them basic obedience skills. In 2018, CAW CEO Tad Bohannon returned from Great Britain, where he’d learned about a leak-sniffing dog at United Utilities. Eager to bring the practice of canine leak detection to Arkansas, Bohannon asked the Paws in Prison program for its top student, and was connected with Vessel.

Click here to register for this not-to-be-missed webinar and learn how Vessel and CAW are revolutionizing leak detection.

CalWEP Peer to Peer

This year's California Water Efficiency Partnership (CalWEP) Peer to Peer is going to be a little different (besides the fact that it's fully virtual, of course). Register today for Peer to Peer Reimagined, to be held December 8-10, 2020.

Morning webinars will cover important topics such as California framework implementation and the multiple benefits of water conservation. Presentations will feature CalWEP members and leaders in the state, including the California State Water Resources Control Board Chair Joaquin Esquivel, and the California Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth. Then, each afternoon, the conference will host a variety of peer-run workshops designed by and developed for CalWEP members and partners.  AWE will be actively participating as speakers in a number of the sessions.

Click here  to learn more and to register for this exciting gathering of water conservation professionals.

AWE Water Star Award

AWE is proud to award its 2020 Water Star Award to Bill Hoffman! This award celebrates the "unsung hero," the quiet water conservation practitioner working in the trenches who makes a huge difference by their dedication, passion, and progressive approaches to move forward our field.

In 1973, Bill went to work for the Texas Water Development Board, beginning his career analyzing water needs for energy development and industrial use. By the time he left the Board, he was the Assistant Director of Water Resources Planning and Supervisor of Water Conservation. He worked for them for 27 years. In 2000 he jumped from state government to municipal government, and went to work for the City of Austin Water Utility as the Program Supervisor for Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Water Conservation Programs. He was also the Senior Staff Engineer. Since 2007, he has been an independent consultant in high demand, where he has provided his much-needed expertise to a wide array of governments, utilities, and organizations.

For his extraordinary contribution to Commercial, Industrial and Institutional water efficiency over a lifetime of work, for his commitment to the highest standards of program accuracy and analysis, and for his selfless dedication to always helping anyone who asked, the Alliance for Water Efficiency is very proud to present the 2020 Water Star Award to Bill Hoffman.

Click here to learn more about Bill's outstanding life and career and to watch a video of AWE CEO Mary Ann Dickinson presenting the award.

AWE Welcomes New Program Associate

AWE is excited to welcome Brad Spilka to the AWE team as a Program Associate! Brad will be working closely with Director of Programs, Bill Christiansen, on AWE's planning, policy analysis, research, and technical assistance projects.

Brad graduated with a Master’s in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science from the University of Michigan, and last year completed an internship with the Metropolitan Planning Council. Brad also has a very cool website that he built himself focusing on climate change: www.startingwithus.org Welcome to AWE, Brad!

City of Hillsboro, Oregon Deploys In-PRV Pressure Management & Micro-hydro System

Last month the City of Hillsboro Water Department commissioned the first installation of the In-PRV pressure recovery valve from InPipe Energy, an exciting collaboration between two AWE members. The new system, which is installed at the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex, provides precise pressure management for Hillsboro Water while generating up to 200,000 kWh of electricity per year. That will amount to nearly a million dollars’ worth of electricity over the life of the project.

The In-PRV is designed for easy, low-impact installation and is located in a bypass where it provides redundancy to an existing valve. Unlike traditional control valves, which dissipate excess pressure, the In-PRV reduces pressure while capturing that kinetic energy and using it to generate electricity.

Precise pressure management is essential to reducing non-revenue water and extending the life of infrastructure, and electricity is the second largest expense for most water utilities. This makes the In-PRV a practical way to reduce operating costs at multiple levels.

“What excites me about this is that we’re taking energy that is traditionally wasted and we’re generating electricity from it, which helps reduce our operating costs and benefits ratepayers,” said Eric Heilema, Water Department Engineering Manager, City of Hillsboro.

Power produced by Hillsboro’s In-PRV is fed back into the grid, offsetting the City’s cost of energy and helping to power the lights, concessions, and EV charging stations at the stadium complex. The system is also helping the City meet its climate action goals by reducing more than 162,000 pounds of carbon annually–the equivalent of more than 240,000 driven miles off the road every year.

Grants from local power utility Portland General Electric and from Energy Trust of Oregon helped offset the cost of installation.

AWE New Member Spotlight – Metrus Energy

Metrus Energy is a full-service project finance company, providing project development and financing services for energy efficiency, water efficiency, energy storage, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and solar projects at commercial, industrial and public facilities. Their model reduces risk, as customers only pay for realized savings with no out of pocket capital expense. This method is expressed in the latest GASB guidance, and means that projects stay off-balance sheet.

Metrus has underwritten projects for more than a decade, in 26 different states using more than 30 different technologies to date. If a capital project can be quantified using kWh, therms, water reduction or any other type of savings calculation, Metrus is interested in financing it.

Try looking at some types of technology and project lengths using their interactive calculator here

By valuing efficiency as a resource and enabling their partners to harness it, Metrus has perfected a new paradigm for sustainability across every market sector and region. Metrus continues to break ground in the sustainable energy industry as they evolve their services and transform clean energy goals into reality.

For more information or any questions please contact Kip Barrett with Metrus at: 612-802-7088. Click here to email for case studies and to review possible projects.

Sustainable Waters Analysis on Colorado River Water Budget:  “The Shark Is Upon Us”

The Bureau of Reclamation projects that Lake Powell will lose another 21 feet of water by the end of this year, leaving it at 41% of its storage capacity. Brian Richter, president of Sustainable Waters analyzed several possible futures for Lake Mead and Lake Powell, and determined that water managers must not only rebalance the use of Colorado River water, but also reduce use to an increasing degree to stay ahead of climate change. One of his conclusions is that given the massive economic, environmental, social and cultural risks associated with reservoir drying, he “cannot fathom why an aggressive demand-reduction program has not yet been implemented in the Upper Basin as a strategy to prevent Lake Powell from dropping to a critically low (e.g., 3490) elevation. Lake Powell has been losing an average of 600,000 AF/year since 2000 (and lost 2 million AF this year), and this loss rate will accelerate with climate warming if water use is not reduced accordingly.”

Click here  to view Richter’s full analysis about the water future for the Colorado River Basin.

WaterSense Partner of the Year Awards

Congratulations to the 2020 EPA WaterSense Sustained Excellence, Partner of the Year, and Excellence Award  winners! Since 2006, WaterSense partners have helped save 4.4 trillion gallons of water and $87 billion on consumer utility bills. More than 2,000 utility, manufacturer, retail, builder, and other organizational partners make it possible for consumers and businesses to save water, energy, and money by producing and promoting water-efficient products, homes, and programs. Here are this year’s winners:

2020 WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award Winners:

  • Athens-Clarke County (Georgia) Public Utilities Department*
  • Citrus County (Florida) Utilities
  • City of Charlottesville (Virginia)*
  • City of Plano (Texas)*
  • Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District*
  • Kohler Co.*
  • KB Home

2020 WaterSense Partners of the Year:

  • Big Bear Lake (California) Department of Water and Power* 
  • Irvine Ranch (California) Water District*
  • City of Sacramento (California) Department of Utilities*
  • Upper San Gabriel Valley (California) Municipal Water District*
  • Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District 
  • Orange County (Florida) Utilities*
  • City of Aspen (Colorado), as a Professional Certifying Organization
  • Fulton Homes

2020 WaterSense Excellence Award Winners:

  • The City of Allen (Texas)*
  • Hilton Head (South Carolina) Public Service District 
  • Placer County (California) Water Agency*
  • City of Durham (North Carolina) Water Management*
  • Cobb County (Georgia) Water System* 
  • The Toro Company
  • City of Flagstaff (Arizona) Water Conservation Program* 
  • Municipal Water District of Orange County (California)* 
  • Sonoma Marin (California) Saving Water Partnership
  • SUEZ North America-New York 
  • Santa Clarita Valley (California) Water Agency*
  • G3, Green Gardens Group, Los Angeles 
  • Energy Inspectors Corporation 

*Denotes AWE member

Bureau of Reclamation Funding Opportunities

New grant opportunities are available under the FY 2021 WaterSMART Drought Response Program. Applications will be accepted through Wednesday January 6, 2021 at 4pm MST. The WaterSMART Drought Response Program supports a proactive approach to drought by providing financial assistance to water managers to develop and update comprehensive drought plans (Drought Contingency Planning) and implement projects that will build long-term resilience to drought (Drought Resiliency Projects).

Under the Drought Contingency Planning Funding Opportunity Announcement, applicants can request up to $200K to develop a drought contingency plan, or plan update, in two years. Eligible applicants include states, tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other organizations with water or power delivery authority in the 17 Western United States and Hawaii. Click here  to learn more and to apply. Additionally, funding opportunities titled, "Water Conservation Services, Lower Colorado Basin Region," are available. Application dates are October 8 and December 7, 2020. Click here  to learn more and to apply.

News Briefs

In collaboration with California Reach Codes and Greywater Action, the Central Coast Greywater Alliance has produced a drought-ready buildings model ordinance. Learn more here

Nearly Half of the U.S. Is in Drought. It May Get Worse. Learn more here

Major Rivers Decision in Bangladesh Gives Rights to Rivers. Register for a webinar to be able to watch the recording of this remarkable worldwide precedent. Learn more here

Panera Bread Becomes First National Chain to Use Climate-Friendly Label. Learn more here

Report issued on Responding to Water Stagnation in Buildings with Reduced or No Water Use. Learn more here    

USGS Unveils Mobile Flood and Drought Tool for the Nation. Learn more here