National Water Efficiency Alliance Is Born
Announced in 2006 by EPA Administrator Steven Johnson, the Alliance for Water Efficiency was created in partnership with numerous national, regional, and state organizations. The alliance received seed funding from EPA to build a water efficiency information clearinghouse and to work on plumbing and appliance codes and standards issues. The primary role of the organization will be as an advocate for water efficiency research, evaluation, and education. A charter board of directors was named early in 2007, consisting of 20 representatives from the United States and Canada. These board members represent water utilities, environmental organizations, plumbing and appliance associations, irrigation manufacturers, the academic community, government, and others.
The water conservation community had been wanting a means of creating and presenting a unified national perspective for some time. Until the alliance was founded, water efficiency lacked a national organization similar to those that already exist for energy, such as the Alliance to Save Energy, the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. Up until now, efforts to promote water efficiency have necessarily been piecemeal: the American Water Works Association Water Conservation Division provided leadership in water conservation issues for the water utility community; the Irrigation Association developed some smart-water initiatives on irrigation controllers and nozzles; and the California Urban Water Conservation Council helped take the place of a national organization by providing consulting services on codes and standards nationwide and serving as a clearinghouse on a variety of product issues. At last these organizations will now have a national platform for information sharing and advocacy.
The connection between saving water and saving energy is a very important topic for the organization. The Alliance for Water Efficiency is interested in working closely with energy partners across North America to quantify the energy savings realized by saving water. There is hope for joint programs, joint funding, and sharing of resources between the Energy Star and WaterSense product-labeling efforts. The details have yet to be fleshed out, but the water community is optimistic about the potential for working together and saving both energy and water.
Mary Ann Dickinson is executive director of the California Urban Water Conservation Council.
For more information:
Visit the newly created Alliance for Water Efficiency Web site at www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org for information on membership and a schedule of the organization’s activities.
The California Urban Water Conservation Council Web site at www.cuwcc.org has a great deal of useful information on water efficiency.
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