Oct. 8 2018 05:27 PM

WaterSense partners have helped Americans save more than 2.7 trillion gallons of water and $63.8 billion on utility bills since 2006.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) honored 20 water utilities, manufacturers, builders and organizations for protecting the environment by creating and promoting WaterSense labeled fixtures, homes and programs. EPA’s WaterSense partners have helped Americans save more than 2.7 trillion gallons of water and $63.8 billion on utility bills since 2006.

“Through their commitment to water efficiency, our partners are helping to transform the market for water-efficient, high-performing products and homes,” said EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator Dave Ross. “The 2018 EPA WaterSense award winners are making our communities and economy stronger while serving as models for others to follow.”

The winners were chosen from more than 1,900 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.

The Toro Company, Bloomington, Minnesota, was honored for the third consecutive year as a WaterSense Excellence Award winner for education and outreach efforts ranging from scholarships for students to attend the Irrigation Association Show, to sponsorship of the award-winning Water Zone radio show. The radio show discusses water-saving outdoor practices and products to an ever-growing audience of 5 million people. In 2017, Toro increased its social media activity related to water efficiency and participated in or conducted dozens of training programs featuring WaterSense-labeled products, reaching several thousand homeowners and professionals.

“The responsible use of water is an important focus of our business. Communicating with and helping to educate those we do business with, as well as the public, is key to creating and sustaining our green spaces,” says John McPhee, general manager, Toro Irrigation and Lighting Businesses. “We appreciate that the EPA continues to recognize our efforts and look forward to continuing to work together on this very important endeavor.”

Hunter Industries, San Marcos, California, became the first manufacturer to earn the WaterSense label for irrigation spray sprinkler bodies. These devices regulate pressure to minimize outdoor water waste in irrigation systems. Noticing that many contractors were reluctant to install Wi-Fi-enabled weather-based irrigation controllers, Hunter also conducted extensive research to understand the barriers to uptake of the products. Based on the results, Hunter developed a new weather-based controller that better manages the needs of contractors with flow meter connection capabilities, failure reporting, and daily watering schedule modifications based on local conditions. Several of the 19 WaterSense labeled models Hunter launched in 2017 were engineered with these water-saving features to encourage best practices for irrigation management within the complex systems that contractors encounter.

“Through innovation and commitment, our partners are helping to transform the marketplace for water-efficient, high-performing products and homes,” says Veronica Blette, WaterSense program manager. “The WaterSense Sustained Excellence, Partner of the Year, and Excellence Award winners are leading the charge to save water, energy and money for future generations.”

The 2018 Sustained Excellence Award Winners are as follows:

  • Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department (Georgia) received its second Sustained Excellence Award. In addition to hosting consumer events and a pledge drive to reduce water use, the county sponsored an art contest to paint fire hydrants to educate consumers during Fix a Leak Week 2017.
  • The city of Charlottesville, Virginia, earned its first Sustained Excellence Award with creative outreach approaches during the region’s first significant drought in a decade. The city hosted a 5k family road race during Fix a Leak Week and reached homeowners with water conservation messages during the drought through a weather-related app for smartphones.
  • Cobb County Water System (Georgia) earned its second Sustained Excellence Award after it addressed a Level 2 drought in 2017 with a new “Drought Busters” outreach campaign. The utility also focused on multifamily water savings by promoting the EPA Water Score tool to help building owners track and improve water use.
  • Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District received its first Sustained Excellence Award, focusing on assessments to help homeowners and businesses reduce water use and offering WaterSense labeled toilet rebates to make it easy for them to do so. The District provided its 55 member utilities with toolkits to promote WaterSense campaigns and hosted a Water Drop Dash 5k race.
  • American Standard, part of LIXIL, (New Jersey) earned its first Sustained Excellence Award after increasing the number of WaterSense labeled products it distributed to retail outlets by 34 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year. Its innovative, award-winning, water-saving toilets and other products were on display at trade shows and in the company’s Beauty in Motion Mobile Showroom throughout 2017.
  • Delta Faucet Co. (Indiana) a four-time Sustained Excellence Award winner, promoted its WaterSense labeled products through displays at big-box retailers. It also launched a program to increase awareness of smart home technology devices that help homeowners find leaks and pooling water before they become water waste.
  • KB Home (California) earned its fourth Sustained Excellence Award for its continued commitment to building homes to meet the WaterSense specification. In addition to completing 170 WaterSense labeled homes, the company installed WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures in all the homes it built in 2017.
  • Energy Inspectors Corp. (Nevada) received its first Sustained Excellence Award. The licensed certification provider inspected and certified all the homes that fellow WaterSense partner KB Home labeled in 2017. To increase its support for the WaterSense labeled home market, the company trained 12 additional raters in 2017.
  • Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership (SMSWP) (California) earned its second Sustained Excellence Award as a professional certifying organization. The partnership hosts a certification program that other organizations can adopt to certify irrigation professionals who are trained on water-efficient techniques. To date, SMSWP’s Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper program has certified more than 2,500 professionals.

2018 Promotional Partners of the Year

EPA also honored four utilities and organizations with the WaterSense Partner of the Year Award:

  • The Broward Water Partnership (Florida), a collaboration of 18 utilities and municipalities in Broward County, received its first WaterSense Partner of the Year Award for creating a series of YouTube videos promoting water conservation and its toilet rebate program.
  • Citrus County Utilities (Florida) earned its third Partner of the Year Award for helping students test toilets in schools for leaks, which resulted in identifying 90 leaks. The utility also provided free irrigation audits and distributed hundreds of free WaterSense labeled showerheads and faucet aerators.
  • The city of Fort Worth (Texas) worked with other partners to provide more than 200 water audits and water-efficient landscaping seminars for residents, as well as free facility water use assessments for commercial and institutional customers. The city’s SmartFlush Toilet Program distributed more than 3,500 WaterSense labeled toilets to residential low-income and commercial customers.
  • The city of Plano (Texas) held workshops and classes for customers on fixing leaks and repairing sprinklers, in conjunction with WaterSense’s Fix a Leak Week and Sprinkler Spruce-Up campaigns. The city also provided free WaterSense labeled showerheads, water-saving faucet aerators, and toilet flappers for Fix a Leak Week and hosted a WaterWise Landscape Tour.

Eight WaterSense partners received Excellence Awards to recognize their support for a specific aspect of the program in 2017:

  • city of Durham Water Management (North Carolina), city of Frisco (Texas), and Sacramento Suburban Water District (California), for Excellence in Education and Outreach.
  • Alliance for Water Efficiency for Excellence in Strategic Collaboration.
  • Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership (California) for Excellence in Promoting WaterSense Labeled Products.
  • Toro for Excellence in Education and Public Relations.
  • Hunter Industries (San Marcos, California) for Excellence in Labeled Products in the Marketplace.
  • San Diego County Water Authority (California) for Excellence in Certification Program Growth.

WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by EPA, seeks to protect the future of the nation's water supply by offering Americans a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, 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. Today there are more than 27,000 labeled models, 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 1,000 homes have earned the WaterSense label.