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A Message From AWE Chairman Pete Demarco

Alliance for Water Efficiency Pete Demarco Shared the Following Message on Demarco is also Executive Vice President of Advocacy, Research, and Program Development for IAPMO

A New Decade, a New Look and a New Attitude

The Alliance for Water Efficiency will look back at 2019 as a year that presented us with great accomplishments, challenges and changes. The new year is always a good time to take inventory of our work, and as I look back at a very busy 2019, I think every AWE member should be proud of the results from our collective efforts. For the third year running, we received the US EPA’s WaterSense Excellence for Strategic Collaboration award. We trained over 2000 professionals with webinars on the Future of Indoor Water Efficiency, the latest on Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)Efficient Irrigation Practices, and more. We released our Landscape Transformation Study and the Sustainable Landscape Guide for Water Utilities, and continued to show leadership by negotiating an MoU with the Plumbing Manufacturers International on green code provisions for multiple showerheads, and so much more.

As with all organizations, 2019 also presented AWE with significant challenges that will be dealt with in the decade ahead. Simply put, the water world is getting more crowded. Hardly a month goes by without a new water-themed association coming into existence. With all the noise in this space competing for attention and membership dollars, the Alliance staff and Board of Directors has worked hard to constantly review our programs and strategies to make sure that they are aligned with the needs of our members. I’m pleased to report that these efforts have paid off. Our membership numbers are growing and we’ll be putting new programs in place to ensure that our growth continues.

2019 was also a year that we had to say farewell to highly valued and long-time staff members. Primary among these was AWE’s Director of Operation’s Jeffrey Hughes, who was with the Alliance since day-one. We also lost Megan Chery and Gursharan Bains of our Development Department. While it was difficult to say goodbye to such great staff contributors who have been with us a long time, we are pleased to know that the time with AWE has served them well as they further their career goals. We’ll look forward to welcoming new team members to our staff in the weeks ahead.

Looking ahead to 2020 and the new decade beyond, the Board is excited about the plans that AWE is putting in place as we work to ensure that water efficiency remains top of mind in sustainable water discussions. A short list of our plans includes:

  • Advocacy: We’ll continue our advocacy efforts for the protection of the WaterSense program, again under attack in the 2021 White House budget, and we’ll continue to support legislation that fosters water efficiency, such as tax-free status for utility rebates for the purchase of water efficiency products.
  • Research: The Alliance will continue its work with our partners as we release the third and final segment of our drought restrictions study. We’ll build momentum for developing comprehensive and unbiased user satisfaction surveys on water efficient products to protect the market from ill-considered attempts to turn back the clock on water efficiency standards, as suggested by President Trump. And we’ll continue to support research needs for plumbing and water reuse systems in buildings.
  • Education: In partnership with Scott’s Miracle-Gro, the Alliance will be launching a new “Learning Landscape” curriculum for young students at the 4th to 6th grade level in schools to energize them on the efficient use of outdoor water use. Of course, a new slate of webinars will provide members with timely and useful information designed to make their jobs easier.
  • New technologies: The Alliance will work with utilities and developers of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) on providing new ways for planning and measuring the effectiveness of water efficiency programs.
  • Corporate member outreach: Our corporate members can realize great benefits through their AWE membership and we’ll be discussing new programs designed to elicit their increased involvement with the Alliance (stay tuned for details!).
  • Member Only Resources:  The new Alliance’s WaterWays Rebate Platform is an innovative Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform providing a turnkey approach for promoting utility water efficiency programs and tracking results.

If you haven’t already done so, please take some time to explore the Alliance’s newly updated web site. Designed to make navigating to content easier for our members, our new web site is designed to reflect the enthusiasm we feel as we enter a new decade.

In closing, I’d like to send a special note of thanks to AWE’s amazing staff. With the recent staff departures discussed above, Director of Programs, Bill Christiansen, Senior Administrative Outreach Coordinator Liam McCarthy and Program Planner Lacey Smith have stepped up to take on additional responsibilities as we work to backfill open positions. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I’d like to acknowledge their hard work and thank them for their efforts, which most certainly have not gone unnoticed.

While we can celebrate our past accomplishments, I hope you’ll agree that the Alliance’s most important work and our greatest achievements remain in our future. As I’ve said in the past, an association can only be as good as the effort its members put into it, so a special thank you to all our members for your important contributions as we work towards even greater accomplishments in the 2020s!

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