The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense® program has provided consumers and businesses with water-saving tips, products, homes, and programs to help reduce the nation’s water use by 3.4 trillion gallons of water since 2006. That’s enough water to supply all American households for four months! In 2018 alone, WaterSense and its over 2,000 utility, manufacturer, retail, builder, and other organizational partners helped consumers and businesses save 725 billion gallons of water.
EPA recognized 25 organizations as Sustained Excellence Award winners, Partners of the Year, and Excellence Award winners during the WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas, Nev.
“Our partners have made water-saving products, homes, and programs accessible across the nation and have educated millions on the importance of water conservation,” said Veronica Blette, WaterSense program manager. “These WaterSense award winners are leading the fight against water waste to save our most precious resource.”
SUSTAINED EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS
Athens-Clarke County (Ga.) Public Utilities Department
The Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department achieved Sustained Excellence in 2018 for the third year in a row by creatively educating both consumers and commercial entities about saving water. For Fix a Leak Week in March, the county enlisted an “edutainer” who used magic and humor to teach water conservation to students and adults. At the annual Athens Water Festival, participants completed educational activities to collect “infinite stones” that spelled out “WATER;” the 1,000 participants who completed the task received a refrigerator magnet stone featuring the WaterSense logo.
“As Athens-Clarke County continues to grow, it is the utility’s responsibility to ensure we maintain a steady supply of water for our community,” said the public utilities department’s senior planner, Marilyn Hall. “The partnership with WaterSense provides us a simple framework for our outreach campaigns.”
Citrus County (Fla.) Utilities
After achieving Partner of the Year three years in a row, Citrus County Utilities earned a Sustained Excellence Award for 2018. Citrus County’s Schedule a Specialist customer assistance program provided 277 residential irrigation system walk-throughs in 2018; the program has already helped participants save more than 19 million gallons of water. Additionally, Citrus County sent a mailing during Fix a Leak Week to over 500 residents whose 24-hour water meter readings indicated possible leaks.
“Reducing water consumption through water conservation helps to preserve and protect our critical water resources and defer the costs of developing new drinking water infrastructure,” said Ken Cheek, director, Citrus County Department of Water Resources. “Our continuing WaterSense partnership is an important part of Citrus County’s water conservation effort.”City of Charlottesville (Va.)
The City of Charlottesville inspired its community to save water, earning the Water Conservation Program its second Sustained Excellence Award. With its proximity to the University of Virginia, the City rebated 45 WaterSense labeled toilets and provided student apartments with WaterSense labeled showerheads and faucet aerators to help save more than 60 million gallons of water per year. In 2018, the program also distributed 433 water conservation kits with WaterSense labeled showerheads, faucet aerators, and toilet rebate information to residents.
“Participation in the EPA WaterSense program continues to support the expansion and enhancement of our water conservation programs,” said Charlottesville interim deputy city manager of operations Paul Oberdorfer. “Easy access to its messaging tools has been extremely helpful with our public education and outreach efforts.”Cobb County (Ga.) Water System
Third time’s a charm for the Cobb County Water System, which won its third Sustained Excellence Award—and eighth WaterSense award overall. As just one example of its creativity in supporting water savings, Cobb County created a new YouTube series, “Tappy Turtle Productions,” to promote WaterSense labeled products in short videos inspired by famous movies and pop culture. One of the more popular videos, “Your Worst Bathroom Nightmares!” is a 30-second public service announcement parodying the classic movie Psycho, featuring an inefficient showerhead being replaced with a WaterSense labeled model. Cobb County issued over 1,500 residential toilet rebates and distributed 300 WaterSense labeled showerheads, 400 aerators, and 150 indoor water conservation kits in 2018.
“The WaterSense program is an essential component of our water efficiency efforts in Cobb County,” said Steve McCullers, agency director, Cobb County Water System. “This important program makes it easy for our customers to identify and purchase water-saving products.”
The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District completed another year of water conservation outreach to capture its second Sustained Excellence Award. The District expanded the My Drop Counts campaign by including a business pledge asking building owners and tenants to take specific steps to reduce water use; 12 businesses took the new pledge in 2018. The District also promoted a tongue-in-cheek “Society of Intentionally Dry Lawns” as part of a campaign to encourage significant reduction or elimination of outdoor water use.
“We are honored to be recognized for our outreach work with the WaterSense program,” said Charlotte Nash, chairman of the Metro Water District. “In recent years, metro Atlanta’s population has grown by leaps and bounds, and yet our water use has declined, thanks in large part to this program.”American Standard, Part of LIXIL
For the second year in a row, American Standard, part of LIXIL Americas, has won a Sustained Excellence Award, in part for its Beauty in Motion Tour, a “showroom on wheels” that displays several of the company’s innovative WaterSense labeled products. Making 101 stops that resulted in over two million impressions, the Beauty in Motion Tour achieved a 91 percent increase in consumer exposure over the previous year. American Standard also added several new WaterSense labeled toilets and faucets to its line of labeled products that are sold in 11,000 stores across the United States.
“At LIXIL, it is our priority to create a positive impact in the communities where we live and work,” said Troy Benavidez, vice president, public affairs, American Standard. “Producing water-efficient products and supporting WaterSense is an important part of this contribution.”Delta Faucet Company
Delta Faucet Company continued to sustain its commitment to producing and promoting water-saving technologies and products in 2018, earning its fifth Sustained Excellence Award! In 2018, all the company’s toilet models were considered high-efficiency and about two-thirds of showering products had earned the WaterSense label. Delta conducted six different Continuing Education Unit courses for 3,400 professionals and 36 e-learning courses for employees, sales representatives, and customers referencing WaterSense labeled products. The company also promoted innovative WaterSense labeled Delta and Brizo brand products to do-it-yourself influencers at an event at its Indianapolis headquarters to increase awareness of WaterSense among its followers.
“We are honored to receive the WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award for the fifth consecutive year as it demonstrates our steadfast commitment to not only improving water efficiency but also educating consumers and trade professionals on the benefits of the WaterSense program,” said Delta Faucet Company President Ken Roberts.
Builder partner KB Home continued its tradition of water-saving construction of new homes, winning its fifth Sustained Excellence Award and ninth WaterSense award overall. In 2018, 134 homes built by KB Home earned the WaterSense label. KB Home also installed WaterSense labeled fixtures in the 11,000 homes it built in 2018, not just the homes that earned the WaterSense label. Cumulatively, there have been more than 600,000 WaterSense labeled products installed in KB Homes.
“The WaterSense program plays a significant role in advancing water saving technologies and building a new future, one that is sustainable for the environment and improves the quality of life for our customers,” said Dan Bridleman, senior vice president, KB Home.Sonoma-Marin (Calif.) Saving Water Partnership
The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership (SMSWP), a three-time Sustained Excellence Award winner, continues to make its Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) certification accessible to a wider audience by offering a program that other communities and organizations can adopt to certify professionals in their area. SMSWP works closely with adopting organizations to ensure success; in 2018, six new organizations adopted the QWEL program. By the end of the year, SMSWP had issued 40 new QWEL certifications; its partners had issued more than 300!
“The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership is proud of the more than 2,000 Qualified Water Efficient Landscapers who have gone through the program and are now helping property owners throughout the country reduce their outdoor water use,” said Cotati councilmember Susan Harvey, chair of the Water Advisory Committee.
The City of Plano earned its second Partner of the Year Award, as it continued to inspire both residents and businesses to save water. The City began a new Water Ambassador Program for several adult volunteers to promote leak detection, leak repair, efficient irrigation, and landscaping principles. The city also has a Green Business Certification Program; six small-to-medium businesses were certified in 2018, bringing the total to 43 overall. For Sprinkler Spruce-Up, the city offered a three-part class series covering quick sprinkler fixes, do-it-yourself drip irrigation, and proper irrigation controller use, and taught sprinkler repair on a webinar for the Utah State University Extension Service.
“Continued recognition spurs us to keep striving for excellence,” said Rachel Patterson, City of Plano director of environmental health sustainability. “We are indebted to WaterSense for the expanse of resources they provide us, making it easier for our programs to have meaningful impact.”Upper San Gabriel Valley (Calif.) Municipal Water District
The Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District has won its first WaterSense Partner of the Year Award by collaborating with other WaterSense partners on events and programs and encouraging all 27 of its water purveyors to become WaterSense partners. Throughout 2018, the District hosted nine workshops covering efficient landscaping, outdoor water use, and leak detection and repair. For Fix a Leak Week, Upper San Gabriel hosted two leak detection/repair workshops in English and Mandarin to expand its reach in the community.
“Water conservation is an essential and cost-effective method for the overall sustainability of the San Gabriel Valley water supply,” said Ed Chavez, upper district board president. “We believe that being a WaterSense partner has truly enhanced our efforts to reach out to the communities we serve.”
The Broward Water Partnership in Florida has earned it second Promotional Partner of the Year Award. In 2018, the Partnership created new animated mascots to promote WaterSense and saving water, and produced videos featuring them in both English and Spanish. Two plumber characters, Steph and Steve, were popular on social media, with nearly 48,000 Facebook and over 100,000 Twitter views. For the third character, meant to promote pre-rinse spray valves, the Partnership created a contest to name the mascot; “Prince Pre-Rinse” was crowned the winner! A total of 2,655 rebates were issued for WaterSense labeled toilets, and over 2,700 WaterSense labeled showerheads and aerators were distributed in 2018.
“Broward County and partner municipalities have a very strong emphasis on water conservation and educating our communities about the value of water,” said Dr. Carolina Maran, Broward County water resources manager. “Beyond diversification of our water sources, we understand water resilience is also achieved through managing the demand and achieving significant water savings through conservation practices.”