What a year it’s been! WaterNow Alliance hit the ground running and never stopped. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at some of our top highlights:
194 new members from 8 new states: Our membership doubled over the last year as we reached new cities and states. We now have 371 members in 32 states, cumulatively serving over 67 million Americans.
1 major policy win, potentially unlocking millions of dollars in new investments for sustainable water technology: After a 3-year effort by WaterNow Alliance and a team of experts and coalition partners, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) issued new policy guidance authorizing public utilities to debt-finance consumer rebate for localized water infrastructure – everything from water-efficient appliances to turf change outs to green infrastructure. Paying for these programs with capital instead of operating cash means they can be scaled in way that was almost impossible previously. While this decision may not have been splashed all over news headlines, it has potentially huge ramifications, empowering public utilities to finance localized, onsite, sustainable water projects at a whole new level. Read more about this here on our website, and watch for our launch of a major new initiative to take advantage of this opportunity in 2019.
4 New Staffers and 2 New Offices: 2018 was a big growth year for WaterNow! Not only did we move to great new digs in the Tides Center, we also opened our first satellite office in Denver, providing Colorado Basin Program Manager Lindsay Rogers the opportunity to work more directly with our CO members and partners. We doubled our staff with Sarah Musiker, Caroline Koch, Kate Moran and Iona Miller joining Cynthia, Lindsay, Danielle, Walt & Jesse on the WaterNow team. We are so fortunate to have them.
100+ leaders convened at our Annual Summit in Salt Lake City: WaterNow’s 3rd Annual Summit brought together leaders from across the nation who want to champion sustainable water solutions in their communities. Read our full report back of this year’s event and be sure to register for this year’s summit in Austin, TX on March 27-28, 2019.
3 outstanding visionaries recognized: Brian Probolsky on behalf of the Moulton Niguel Board of Directors and San Francisco PUC Commissioner Francesca Vietor, were honored with the WaterNow Impact Award. Former Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum was this year’s recipient of the WaterNow Alliance’s Leadership Award. Read their stories here.
550 people in 8+ briefings, workshops and webcasts: WaterNow Alliance’s convenings addressed rates, communications and water use efficiency and reached 550+ people in 18 states
“Communicating with Ratepayers: How to get Past Paying More for Less” We teamed up with Raftelis, Moulton Niguel Water District, and Maddaus Water Management on our first communications workshop series. We shared best practices and lessons with local water leaders on how to communicate more effectively and successfully with their customers and build trust, especially as rates are going up throughout the country. In 2018, we visited Avondale, AZ, Long Beach, CA and Las Vegas, NV and conducted two webcasts. If you’d like to view this webcast series and the information provided, be sure to check out the Member Portal.“Understanding California’s Water Efficiency Legislation: Exploring the New Framework for Water Providers”
In May of 2018, California passed AB 1668/SB 606 to put California on the path to greater water use efficiency. While these bills were intended to encourage water suppliers to develop water efficiency strategies tailored to their communities, there was confusion over the requirements of the new law. WaterNow presented a series of 4 webcasts and an in-person workshop at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to break down what the Water Efficiency Legislation does and doesn’t do and how it evolved over the course of the legislative process.
2 Project Accelerator Rounds: WaterNow’s Project Accelerator provides water utilities with 3-6 months of technical and program support to jumpstart innovative, environmentally sustainable local water initiatives. Our expertise spans from deep water policy to data collection and analysis to communications strategy. In 2018, WNA completed 2 application rounds, working with the Cities of San Clemente and Ontario, CA and the City of Cheyenne, WY and the Cities of Thornton, CO and Moulton Niguel Water District. You can read more about each of these projects here, and keep an eye out, we’ll be launching the new round early in 2019.
1 (Very Large) Leak Detection Pilot Study: WaterNow Alliance was selected in a competitive process by the Santa Clara Valley Water District to help advance water conservation in the Bay Area. Together with the County of San Mateo, the Cities of Santa Clara, San Jose, Foster City and Burlingame, WNA is conducting a pilot study to better understand water saving opportunities for homeowners using next-generation leak detection devices. After opening up the application process in November, the pilot study received over 350+ applicants within the first few days. Installation of these devices will begin soon, and the study will continue into 2019.
28 conferences attended
WaterNow was everywhere in 2018! From National League of Cities to WaterSmart Innovations to the US Water Alliance to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, we were on the move, presenting to packed rooms on our Communications workshop, municipal bond financing, and the state of water issues. Above, Executive Director Cynthia Koehler presenting at the NLC’s 2018 City Summit. She spoke about the new financing opportunity for cities and towns to scale community-based water resilient solutions like never before.
17 Qualified Water Efficient Landscapers trained and certified
WNA facilitated the first ever Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) training in Colorado with the City of Aspen over the summer. QWEL is a water efficiency training for landscape professionals and a US EPA WaterSense labeled professional certification program for irrigation system audits. Over the course of two days, QWEL class participants learned applicable skills and knowledge about water-efficient design, management, and irrigation practices. Above, Colorado Basin Program Manager Lindsay Rogers with students from the City of Aspen, CO
None of this would be possible without our members and supporters. Thank you for your continued support of WaterNow Alliance. We look forward to continuing to work with you in the coming year.