Fall 2022 - IssueLVIII
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In This Issue:
- A Sweet 16 Years of Saving Water Thanks to Star Partners
- Dry Weather May Be Here to Stay
- Saving Energy One Drop at a Time
- City of Round Rock Sees Solid Savings
- Harris-Galveston Subsidence District Joins the Winners’ Circle
- Texas-Sized Water Savings in Houston
A Sweet 16 Years of Saving Water Thanks to Star Partners
The WaterSense program and its more than 2,100 partners have been helping people save water for 16 years. Our partners work together to promote WaterSense labeled products, encourage water-saving behaviors, and educate consumers and businesses on reducing water waste. WaterSense recently presented 34 awards to partners for their creative water conservation work and stellar results in 2021.
Twelve partners in particular were honored for their continued commitment to the program as Sustained Excellence Award winners.
Athens-Clarke County (Georgia) Public Utilities Department introduced more fun outreach into its program in 2021 and won its sixth Sustained Excellence Award. Athens-Clarke’s new H2GrOw Native Plant Collection was available for a discount at a local garden shop; the County shared design plans and tools to help local gardeners create water-smart landscapes that meet their lifestyles.
Citrus County (Florida) Utilities continued its successful water-saving programming and earned its fourth Sustained Excellence Award. More than 200 homeowners participated in the county’s WaterSense labeled irrigation controller installation program, and 75 percent of them noticeably reduced their outdoor water use.
The City of Charlottesville (Virginia) won its fifth Sustained Excellence Award for its water conservation outreach and education programs. For Fix a Leak Week, the City created a Home Scavenger Hunt to help the community get to know their water fixtures, identify any WaterSense labeled models and, complete a worksheet to help them check for leaks.
The City of Plano (Texas) educated its residents in a number of ways to save water inside and out, earning its third Sustained Excellence Award. The City held its ninth annual WaterWise Landscape Tour featuring several sites with regionally appropriate plants and landscaping practices. In 2021, the City made a video about one of the landscapes so customers could learn without visiting in person.
City of Sacramento (California) Department of Utilities joined the winners’ circle with its first Sustained Excellence Award for unique water conservation programs. During 2021, the City wrapped up its pilot program called Re-Do the Loo, which supported over 150 WaterSense labeled toilets installed in multifamily properties within the City’s disadvantaged areas.
Eleven WaterSense partners received Excellence Awards to recognize their achievements in specific aspects of the program in 2021:
- WaterSense presented awards for Excellence in Education and Outreach to: Walnut Valley Water District (California); Department of Water, Kaua‘i County (Hawaii); American Water; Tarrant Regional Water District (Texas); and The Toro Company.
- Rancho California Water District (California) received an award for Excellence in Outreach and Collaboration.
- G3, Green Gardens Group (California) received an award for Excellence in WaterSense Promotion and Outreach.
- The Broward Water Partnership (Florida) won for Excellence in Promoting WaterSense Labeled Products.
- Smart Rain and Sloan Valve Company received awards for Excellence in Promoting WaterSense Labeled Products in the Marketplace.
- Santa Clarita Valley (California) Water Agency was once again honored for Excellence in Promoting the EPA Multifamily Water Score.
Cobb County (Georgia) Water System won its fifth Sustained Excellence Award as it continued successful water conservation events and initiated new efforts, including a video instructing how to check a water meter to identify leaks. Cobb County also offered a free indoor kit with water-saving aerators and a showerhead, trained volunteers to promote water conservation, and began monitoring multifamily properties with high water use for potential toilet replacements.
Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (California) won its first Sustained Excellence Award after several Partner of the Year awards. The Upper District produced a “12 Days of Conservation Christmas” video focused on WaterSense labeled products and water-saving techniques. The Upper District also offered water education grants of $1,000 to projects at K-12 schools that included lawn retrofits and other irrigation measures.
Irvine Ranch Water District (California) earned its first Sustained Excellence Award after winning three other WaterSense awards. In 2021, Irvine Ranch Water District held Fix a Leak photo contest, which involved 600 people fixing leaks. Irvine Ranch also hosted a virtual Don’t Spring a Leak workshop for over 150 virtual attendees.
KB Home earned a Sustained Excellence Award for the eighth year in a row! KB Home built over 1,000 homes that earned the WaterSense label in 2021. This represented 10 percent of all homes constructed by the company that year. These homes also represent 77 percent of the homes built by KB Home in Las Vegas, reducing the impact of new development in an area prone to water shortages.
Kohler Co. also earned its eighth Sustained Excellence Award. In 2021, Kohler Co. introduced eight new tank-type toilets, over 40 new bathroom faucets, and over 70 showerheads that all earned the WaterSense label. Kohler also donated WaterSense labeled products to a 2021 pilot project to reduce water waste and bills in 100 homes in two disadvantaged communities in Michigan.
Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District won its fifth Sustained Excellence award for promoting WaterSense and helping people save water in 2021. The District promoted the WaterSense Fix a Leak Week 10-Minute Challenge with its 2021 High School Video contest. Students created a video showing things families can do in 10 minutes to check for leaks, save water, and reduce their water bill.
Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership (California) earned its sixth Sustained Excellence Award as a professional certifying organization (PCO). The Partnership promoted its Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) class to more than 10,000 residents at three “Drought Drop-By” events. In 2021, QWEL PCOs issued 561 certifications including, 17 certifications issued by the Partnership.
In addition to the Sustained Excellence Award winners, 11 partners were named WaterSense Partners of the Year for 2022 and will be highlighted in this and future issues of the WaterSense Current.
- Promotional Partners of the Year: Big Bear Lake (California) Department of Water and Power, Durham (North Carolina) Water Management, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, Houston (Texas) Public Works, Harris-Galveston (Texas) Subsidence District, City of Fort Worth (Texas), City of Round Rock (Texas), and the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership for its promotional efforts.
- Manufacturer Partner of the Year: Niagara®
- Retailer Partner of the Year: The Home Depot
- Builder Partner of the Year: Fulton Homes
Learn more about the 2022 WaterSense Award winners.
Dry Weather May Be Here to Stay
Although another fall season is here, dry weather and water shortages have not let up. In fact, many western states are facing the fact that aridification is the new normal and it is more than just a temporary drought. Utilities are asking residents to adjust their water use to conserve for future emergency services and help minimize water supply shortages. You can do your part by being aware of utility watering restrictions, getting smart about your landscape irrigation, making wise plant choices, and fixing leaks and drips in your home.
Check out your local water utility website or your local government site to find out what restrictions are being implemented in your area. And even if there are no restrictions, everyone can take part in saving water by designing water-efficient landscapes with native, climate appropriate plants; learning when the best time is to water your lawn in order to minimize water loss due to evaporation; and working with an irrigation professional certified by a WaterSense labeled program to help maximize the efficiency of your irrigation system to reduce water consumption, save money, and maintain a healthy and beautiful landscape.
Another way to easily reduce your water usage is to check for household leaks—they waste nearlyone trillion gallons of water annually nationwide! Common household leaks can occur from worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves, but often are easy to fix. No matter the season, check your home for leaks and drips inside and outside and stop sending water—and money—down the drain.
For more ways to save water and during dry weather, visit www.epa.gov/watersense/drought-watersense.
Saving Energy One Drop at a Time
October is not only Energy Action Month, but it’s Shower Better Month, too! WaterSense makes it easy to elevate your bathroom with water- and energy-saving showerheads. Showering is one of the leading ways we use water in the home. By using less water while showering, less energy is needed to pump, treat, and heat water, which saves you money on your utility bills.
Replacing showerheads with WaterSense labeled models can save the average family 310 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, which is the amount of electricity it takes to power a house for 11 days. Look for the WaterSense label when shopping for a new showerhead to save water, energy, and money while ensuring product performance. On top of upgrading your showerhead, you can challenge yourself to shorten the time you spend in the shower. If you reduced your shower time by just one minute per day, you could save 540 gallons of water and 62 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.
Check out this video from the Vallecitos Water District in California for more information on WaterSense labeled showerheads.
City of Round Rock Sees Solid Savings
The City of Round Rock, Texas, received its first WaterSense Partner of the Year award for its rock-solid conservation and outreach efforts in 2021. The City built off Smart Irrigation Month with free irrigation check-ups for its residents and held free weekly workshops to educate them on ways to maximize efficiency of their irrigation systems. The City also conducted research on WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers installed at residents’ homes and found that most had reduced outdoor water use an average of 58 percent! After completing the study, the City even checked every applicant’s controller settings and corrected controllers that weren’t set up properly.
To spread the outdoor savings further, Round Rock offered incentives for residents who purchase and install WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers and spray sprinkler bodies. And the City’s Your Better Bathroom rebate program provided incentives for over 200 WaterSense labeled toilets, over 50 WaterSense labeled showerheads, and over 90 WaterSense labeled bathroom faucets 2021, helping residents save an estimated 2.9 million gallons of water per year.
In 2021, the City also mailed thousands of WaterSense welcome postcards to new residential water customers that included a QR code to the Round Rock conservation web page with information on WaterSense. The City also developed a toolkit for do-it-yourselfers that included WaterSense labeled showerheads, WaterSense labeled faucet aerators, dye tablets, a toilet flapper, plumber’s tape, a drip gauge, and the Alliance for Water Efficiency’s Plumber Guidebook.
Harris-Galveston Subsidence District Joins the Winners’ Circle
Harris-Galveston Subsidence District (HGSD) in Texas was recognized as a WaterSense Partner of the Year for the first time for helping residents and businesses save water outdoors. In collaboration with Galveston Bay Foundation and Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, HGSD launched a promotional campaign, Water My Yard, utilizing funds from an EPA grant. The program provides customized recommendations to users each week on how much water is needed for irrigation, using data from an extensive network of weather stations combined with local plant water needs.
Water My Yard can be accessed by web or mobile app and reaches over two million Texans, including Spanish-speaking populations. To encourage even more outdoor water savings, the Subsidence District provided grants to fund two independent school districts’ installation of smart irrigation systems with WaterSense label controllers. The schools demonstrated quantifiable water savings in 2021 and have earned an award for their successful impact on water conservation.
The Subsidence District provided water conservation education and resources to over 30,000 third, fourth, and fifth graders as part of its Water Conservation School Program. Students were encouraged to install WaterSense labeled showerheads and bathroom faucet aerators, along with kitchen faucet aerators, to save up to 1,400 gallons of water per month at home. HGSD also showcased WaterSense during several speaking engagements to local water utility managers, engineers, architects, and other community members.
Texas-Sized Water Savings in Houston
Houston Public Works (HPW) joined the ranks of the other stellar WaterSense partners in the Lone Star State by earning its first WaterSense Partner of the Year Award. In 2021, Houston launched a Showerhead Swap initiative that provided free WaterSense labeled showerheads to customers who brought in their old models. The utility gave away nearly 500 showerheads through this program. During Fix a Leak Week, HPW partnered with the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth to host two virtual workshops focused on indoor and outdoor leaks, which had over 400 attendees.
HPW collaborated with 15 wholesale water utilities and launched a Wholesale Water Conservation Dashboard that allows utilities to identify the potential costs and savings for over 70 water conservation activities. Houston also partnered with the Texas Water Foundation to launch the Texas Runs on Water campaign, which aims to promote and protect the future of water in the state.
In 2021, HPW also launched its Smart Utility Checkup Program in partnership with Imperial Utilities and Sustainability, Inc., to provide free water, electricity, and gas utility assessments to 14 commercial buildings. Water assessments helped participating buildings save an estimated 4.7 million gallons of water annually from capital improvements and infrastructure updates.
Past Issues of The Current
- The Current: Summer 2022
- The Current: Spring 2022
- The Current: Winter 2022
- The Current: Fall 2021
- The Current: Summer 2021
- The Current: Spring 2021
- The Current: Winter 2021