Water Efficiency Watch - September 2021

In this issue of Water Efficiency Watch...

  • AWE Launches Version 4.0 of Water Conservation Tracking Tool
  • Lake Mead Water Shortage
  • Don’t Miss WSI and AWE Meetings in Las Vegas
  • Imagine a Day Without Water
  • DOE Proposes Reversal of Weakened Water Efficiency Standards
  • Legislative Update
  • Emerging Water Technology Symposium - Submit Abstracts
  • 37th Annual WateReuse Symposium
  • USBR WaterSMART Grants
  • AWE Member Spotlight
  • News Briefs

AWE Launches Version 4.0 of Water Conservation Tracking Tool

AWE and CalWEP are thrilled to release Version 4 of the Water Conservation Tracking Tool. Version 4 represents the biggest update of the Tracking Tool since it was first issued in 2009. The Tracking Tool is an Excel-based model that can be used to evaluate the water savings, costs, and benefits of conservation programs, and is free for AWE members.

The Tracking Tool Version 4 update was done in collaboration with the California Water Efficiency Partnership, and a California Edition is available to understand whether a California water supplier is projected to be over or under their urban water use objectives.

The update includes:

  • Redesigned and streamlined user-interface with new functionality for sorting and filtering model results and customizing tables and charts.
  • Ability to specify up to 200 separate conservation measures.
  • Expanded conservation program library with 50 pre-defined conservation measures.
  • Updated modules for specifying plumbing fixture efficiency codes and calculating passive water savings with the ability to incorporate both natural replacement and utility programs.
  • New landscape standards module for estimating the effect of landscape and irrigation system design standards for new development on projected demand.
  • New price response module for estimating the effect of changes in marginal water cost on projected demand.
  • New water loss management module for estimating the effect of water loss management on projected demand and estimating water savings, costs, and benefits of water loss management programs.
  • A new module for comparing projected water use to California AB 1668/SB 606 water use objectives based on current understanding of the likely form of the standards.

Click here to learn more and request your copy today! A webinar on the new Tracking Tool will be held in October, and it will also be featured at the CalWEP Plenary on Tuesday, September 21.

Lake Mead Water Shortage

Last month, the federal government declared a water shortage for Lake Mead and the Colorado River, meaning that individual states will have water allocations cut starting in January.

This first-ever shortage declaration for the Colorado River comes after Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US by volume, has drained at an alarming rate this year. Lake Mead will operate under shortage status for the entirety of calendar 2022. AWE will continue to closely monitor this situation and work to equip our member utilities in the Colorado River Basin with tools and resources to combat drought and conserve water.

Click here to learn more about this troubling development.

Click here to view the drought section of AWE’s online resource library (AWE members, click here to sign into a4we.org to access member-only content!).

Don’t Miss WSI and AWE Meetings in Las Vegas

We hope you will join AWE and water efficiency leaders from around the world on October 6th-7th for the 13th Annual WaterSmart Innovations  conference at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas.   Nobel Prize-winning scientist Jonathan Overpeck will deliver the keynote address about the impacts of climate change, including this year’s headline-grabbing drought,  and how we can better prepare to meet the ever-accelerating climate challenges.

Arrive a day early to attend AWE's annual meetings on October 5th. Click here to view the schedule for AWE’s committee meetings—WaterSense and Water Efficient Products, Education and Outreach, and Water Efficiency Research—which will be held in the Napa A room at the South Point Hotel. AWE’s Annual Member Meeting will take place in the Sonoma C room at 5 p.m., offering food, cocktails, and music. Andy Belanger, Director of Public Services for the Las Vegas Valley Water District and Southern Nevada Water Authority, will be the featured speaker discussing the passage of AB 356, a new state law that bans non-functional turf on certain properties. Click here to learn more about Andy.

If you'd like to sponsor the Annual Member Meeting, click here to email Rachel at AWE. We'd like to thank our current sponsors for making this great event possible.:

Imagine a Day Without Water

Imagine a Day Without Water is a national education campaign that brings together diverse stakeholders to highlight how water is essential, invaluable, and in need of investment. This year, the day of action will take place on October 21, 2021, and will include events, resolutions, student contests, social media engagement, and more, all across the country. Click here  to sign up to participate and help your community learn more about where our water comes from, where water goes, and take a deeper dive into the impact drinking water and wastewater providers have within a community.

DOE Proposes Reversal of Weakened Water Efficiency Standards

AWE praised a Department of Energy (DOE) proposal to reverse changes to the federal definition of showerhead made under former President Trump that would have skirted federal standards adopted in 1994 that required showerheads to release no more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute. The Trump rules were adopted in December 2020 and allow each nozzle on a showerhead to meet that standard, which means showerheads with multiple nozzles bypass the standard and expel far more water, consume more energy, and increase customers’ utility bills.

AWE, Environment America, and U.S. PIRG filed a lawsuit to block these changes, and DOE’s proposal would side with our appeal and revert to the previous federal standard.

Last month, the DOE also proposed reversing a Trump-era rule that weakened appliance efficiency standards. The previous Administration’s DOE created separate “product classes” for dishwashers, clothes washers, and dryers that have a short cycle as the “normal” cycle, meaning such models would not need to meet decades-old energy and water standards.

Legislative Update

Conservation Rebate Tax Parity Act

Acting on recommendations from AWE and others, on July 22nd Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla and Representatives Jared Huffman and Judy Chu (all D-Calif.) introduced the Water Conservation Rebate Tax Parity Act, which would end federal taxes on utility rebates provided to homeowners for conserving water or improving stormwater management. The bill would result in the federal government treating water conservation rebates the same as energy conservation rebates, which were exempted from federal taxes in 1992. Click here to learn more.

Infrastructure Legislation Passed in the Senate

On August 10, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill with $400M (over 5 years) in new funding for western states’ water efficiency through the Bureau of Reclamation’s Water Smart grant program.

AWE’s lobbying in DC, including a sign-on letter to congressional leaders, helped secure this funding in the bill. Click here to learn more.

Emerging Water Technology Symposium - Submit Abstracts

The co-conveners of the Emerging Water Technology Symposium (EWTS) are looking forward to welcoming everyone in person May 10-11, 2022 in San Antonio. This biennial event provides critical insight into the future of water-related industries with focused attention on all facets of optimizing the safe and efficient use of water.

The conference is now accepting abstracts on a variety of topics including Water-Energy Nexus, Water Efficiency in Buildings, Water Quality Issues, Alternate Water Sources, and more. Abstracts are due September 24, 2021. Click here  to learn more.

37th Annual WateReuse Symposium

Save the Date for the 37th Annual WateReuse Symposium, March 6-9, 2022, in San Antonio, Texas. The conference will also be offered on the WateReuse virtual conference platform. This not-to-be-missed event is the premier conference on water recycling, attracting more than 800 water professionals globally for knowledge-sharing, networking, and intriguing discussions! Abstracts will be accepted from September 9-November 1.

USBR WaterSMART Grants

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) invites eligible participants to leverage their money and resources by cost sharing with Reclamation on Drought Resiliency Projects that will increase the reliability of water supplies; improve water management; and provide benefits for fish, wildlife, and the environment to mitigate impacts caused by drought. The deadline to apply for this grant is October 5, 2021. Click here  to learn more.

Additionally, a Water and Energy Efficiency grant for projects that focus on building long-term resilience to drought is open until November 3, 2021. Click here  to learn more.

A grant for Environmental Water Resources Projects, with a focus on water management projects with environmental and ecological benefits, is open until December 9, 2021. Click here  to learn more.

AWE Member Spotlight

Tucson Water Rainwater Harvesting

AWE Partner Tucson Water is encouraging its customers to take advantage of monsoon rains by collecting water for future use. Cisterns holding about 1,300 gallons of water have been installed throughout Tucson by over 2,600 customers in the city. Learn more here .

Park City & Xylem Tackle Waterloss

In 2018, AWE Partner Park City Public Utilities was losing about one-third of its water before it was even getting to customers. So, they teamed up with Xylem to identify water loss problems in the utility's infrastructure. Learn more here .

OUC Offers Rebate for Smart Irrigation Controllers

AWE partner Orlando Utilities Commission is offering a rebate up to $200 to its customers for installing EPA WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers. These devices use local weather and landscape conditions to tailor watering schedules to actual conditions on the site. Learn more here .

News Briefs

How water conservation can help save energy, too .

These images from space show how much the reservoirs and lakes of the West have dried up .

Lawn renovations could play major role in conserving water in West, experts say .

Drought hit Washington State hard and fast. Here’s what it has meant for farmers, wildfires .

Ways to save water during the drought .