Last Fall, we launched an exciting new initiative, the WaterNow Alliance Project Accelerator, to partner with cities and water utilities to provide technical and program support to advance local sustainable water projects. Last month we accepted a second round of applications for the Summer 2018 Project Accelerator and we were thrilled with the quality of submissions that we received and inspired by the innovative ideas cities and water agencies presented to advance sustainability in their communities. It was challenging, but our team was able to narrow down the applications to just two.
Now, let us announce our Summer 2018 Project Accelerator winners:
WaterNow Alliance is thrilled to be working with the City of Thornton on a program to incentivize water efficiency in new home construction. In anticipation of projected local growth, the City of Thornton developed a 2018 Water Efficiency Plan. Part of this plan calls for a program to incentivize water efficiency in new home construction. The WaterNow Project Accelerator will work with Thornton to develop an incentive program that is cost-effective for the City and motivates developers to install ultra-efficient plumbing fixtures and low-water use landscapes at the construction phase. Building in water use efficiency during construction is cheaper than paying for retrofits down the road, saving the City and customers money in the long term.
We believe this Accelerator project is a special opportunity to develop a program that can be replicated in other communities making Thornton a model across the West and nationwide
The always inventive Moulton Niguel Water District (Moulton Niguel) in Orange County is anticipating a transformation in outdoor landscaping as California prepares to “make conservation a CA way of life,” and has correctly realized that this presents new opportunities but also huge challenges for local nurseries. WaterNow is very pleased to announce that our 2nd Project Accelerator winner is Moulton Niguel’s proposal to support local nurseries in adapting to accommodate new demand for native plants and xeriscape.
The Moulton Niguel has offered a variety of turf conversion incentives since 2011, including a recently launched NatureScape Turf-to-Native Garden Program. Simultaneously, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), Moulton’s wholesale water provider, offers complementary programs to further encourage turf removal, and just launched a Landscape Transformation Program this summer that emphasizes California native plants in marketing materials. The combined programs are expected to significantly drive demand for these native plants. In anticipation of this market shift, Moulton applied to the WaterNow Project Accelerator seeking support to develop a Nursery Stock Incentive and Education Program to ensure that supply will meet demand.
WaterNow is excited to partner with Moulton, and the California Native Plant Society to develop this critical program which will likely include vouchers and/or rebates for customers to redeem at participating local nurseries as well as other features. The timing of this program couldn’t be better in light of a recent WaterNow success in obtaining new policy guidance that allows public agencies to access capital for consumer rebates for water use efficiency, if they choose to do so. Our plan is to collaborate with MWD and the other 25 city and water agencies they serve to bring this program to a regional scale.
The projects from our first round of the Accelerator program – the development of an Income-Qualified Direct Install Program with the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities and an HOA Water Efficient Landscape Program with the City of San Clemente – are wrapping up and we’re excited to share the final reports soon. We will also include Toolkits designed to allow other cities to rebrand and replicate these programs will be available on the Member Portal, so stay tuned!
We’re excited about the opportunities presented by these new projects, and we’ll be blogging with updates as we reach key milestones, so stay tuned for more info!