WASHINGTON, DC, OCTOBER 10, 2016 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is honoring 20 businesses, municipalities, utilities, and organizations for their commitment to protecting the environment through water efficiency. EPA's WaterSense partners have helped Americans save more than 1.5 trillion gallons of water and $32.6 billion in water and energy bills since the program began in 2006.
"Over the past decade, EPA's WaterSense partners have made WaterSense more than just a label. It's become a way of life," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "Our changing climate impacts water quality and supplies. And we need to ensure that more Americans are saving water now so that we can protect this precious resource for future generations."
The winners were chosen from nearly 1,700 WaterSense partners, including utilities, local governments, manufacturers, retailers, distributors, builders, and other organizations who have partnered with EPA to produce and promote water-efficient products, programs, and homes.
2016 Partners of the Year
Promotional Partner of the Year: Athens-Clarke County (Georgia) Public Utilities Department's Water Conservation Office expanded its Certified Blue restaurant program to include 33 new local businesses and distributed "We're for Water" activity sheets for kids to complete while waiting for meals. Its Little Lily Pad Hop school outreach project taught students how to conserve water, and its sixth annual Athens Water Festival included a scavenger hunt for the WaterSense logo.
Promotional Partner of the Year: Citrus County (Florida) Utilities' We're for Water Classroom Challenge taught 400 third through fifth grade students how to find and fix leaks and save water at home. The utility also celebrated Fix a Leak Week with three adult activities: Schedule a Specialist, Facilities Checkup, and a Water Conservation Expo.
Promotional Partner of the Year: The City of Charlottesville (Virginia) promoted WaterSense labeled products during its Love Your Landscape contest during Sprinkler Spruce-Up 2015. For Fix a Leak Week, the city provided off-campus University of Virginia students with leak-detection tablets and held its annual five-kilometer race. A Blue Team of middle and high school students distributed 600 water conservation kits to utility customers.
Promotional Partner of the Year: Cobb County (Georgia) Water System, a five-time Partner of the Year Award winner, and its new mascot Tappy the Turtle promoted all WaterSense campaigns in 2015. For Fix a Leak Week, the utility supported the Water Drop Dash 5k and Water Festival, and for Sprinkler Spruce-Up it sponsored an "Ask an Expert" traveling display.
Promotional Partner of the Year: Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District launched the Great Plumbing Fixture Giveaway, where a local nonprofit selected through social media earned $1,000 in free WaterSense labeled fixtures. The district sponsored its annual Water Drop Dash 5k and Water Festival for Fix a Leak Week 2015 with more than 500 runners and provided WaterSense activity sheets for kids.
Licensed Certification Provider Partner of the Year: Energy Inspectors Corporation (Nevada) certified 233 homes for KB Home to meet the WaterSense labeled homes specification, more than double the number of homes it certified in 2014. As of the end of 2015, the company has trained a dozen inspectors to perform WaterSense specification inspections.
Professional Certifying Organization Partner of the Year: The Sonoma-Marin (California) Saving Water Partnershipcontinued to expand the reach of its WaterSense labeled Qualified Water Efficient Landscape (QWEL) certification program. In 2015, the partnership worked with six new organizations to adopt the QWEL program and helped more than 65 irrigation professionals earn certification.
Nine additional WaterSense partners received Excellence Awards to recognize their support for a specific aspect of the program in 2015:
- Cascade Water Alliance (Washington) and High Sierra Showerheads (California) for Excellence in Strategic Collaboration.
- City of Durham (North Carolina) Water Management and Sonoma-Marin (California) Saving Water Partnership for Excellence in Promoting WaterSense Labeled Products.
- City of Carmel (Indiana) Utilities, City of Fort Worth (Texas), Regional Water Authority (Sacramento, California),and the Toro Company (Minnesota) for Excellence in Education and Outreach.
- American Standard (New Jersey) for Excellence in Innovation and Research.
Since 2006, EPA's WaterSense program has worked to protect the future of the nation's water supply by offering Americans a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes, and services. WaterSense labeled products, which are independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water and perform as well or better than standard models, have been on the market since 2007, when toilets first earned the label. Since then, the number of labeled models has grown to more than 16,000, including products used in residential and commercial bathrooms, commercial kitchens, and outdoor irrigation. EPA's WaterSense program certifies homes with WaterSense labeled fixtures and features. To date more than 700 homes have earned the WaterSense label.
Learn more about the 2016 WaterSense Award winners at www.epa.gov/watersense