By Kathleen Ferris
Carol Ward-Morris, AMWUA’s Assistant Director, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE). The Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the efficient and sustainable use of water in the United States and Canada. In fact, it’s the only organization in North America focused specifically on this mission.
The greatest single strength of the Alliance may well be its diverse Board of Directors and membership from across the U.S. and Canada who give voice to a wide range of needs and opinions. Board members represent water utilities, government, business and industry, environmental advocacy organizations, and universities and researchers.
Carol is the first AWE Board member from Arizona. She has garnered a reputation in the southwest and nationally for her expertise on water sustainability and conservation. She was instrumental in creating a report on municipal and industrial water conservation and reuse in the Colorado River Basin that was released last year by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Since opening its office in 2007 in Chicago, the Alliance quickly developed a national water efficiency agenda. Today, nearly 400 organizations have become members and partners in its activities.
The Alliance envisions a world where outdoor water use is as efficient as indoor use and water resources are considered alongside energy, nature, health, development, and food. It’s a future where utility systems are managed optimally to save water and energy and citizens understand the value of sustainable water management.
It’s an ambitious vision, but in fewer than 10 years, the Alliance has established a track record as a driving force for sustainable water use. A snapshot of a few of those accomplishments:
- AWE serves as an expert source of information, nationally and internationally. It has testified before Congress, drawing attention to the need for federal support for water efficiency policy and funding.
- It has emerged as a national leader in discussions of the water-energy nexus—the interdependency of water and energy systems and the need to integrate their management to reduce vulnerabilities and increase efficiencies in these systems.
- AWE’s Water Conservation Tracking Tool enables members to evaluate the water savings, costs, and benefits of water conservation programs, as well as estimate the impacts to utility revenues from those programs. The Alliance’s Financing Sustainable Water initiative provides information, tools, and training to help water managers encourage conservation while generating the revenue needed to deliver quality service and meet financial obligations.
- AWE has conducted critical research to solve issues related to water and energy, industrial water use efficiency, outdoor water use, and utility financial health. It has published papers on drought planning and managing weather-related risks.
- The Alliance launched a comprehensive website that includes regular news reports, a legislative watch page, and an extensive online library of technical resources.
- The Alliance has successfully pushed for significant changes in plumbing and appliance standards and green building codes to increase water use efficiency and savings.
In recognition of its accomplishments, AWE received the 2014 U.S. Water Prize. This prestigious award honors outstanding achievement in the advancement of solutions to our nation’s water challenges.
The Alliance continues to build on these accomplishments. It plans to conduct comprehensive research into outdoor water use programs, assist providers to maintain and operate delivery systems to minimize water loss, ensure utility revenue needs are met while promoting conservation, and work to address the water-energy nexus.
These issues are all important to AMWUA member cities, as well as Arizona’s consumers, researchers, elected leaders, businesses and industries. AMWUA understands the value of a strong network, diverse perspectives, and collaboration in advancing effective policy and programs that address water issues. We are pleased to partner in and to support the work of the Alliance. Arizona is a state that leads in water management and conservation and has information to share and to gain. If you’d like to get involved in the Alliance for Water Efficiency contact Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org.