On October 7, 2020, the 2020 WaterSense Sustained Excellence, Partner of the Year, and Excellence Award winners were announced during a WaterSmart Innovations webinar held in lieu of the cancelled conference. WaterSense and its more than 2,000 utility, manufacturer, retail, builder, and other organizational partners make it possible for consumers and businesses to save water, energy, and money by producing and promoting water-efficient products, homes, and programs. Since 2006, WaterSense partners have helped save 4.4 trillion gallons of water and $87 billion on consumer utility bills.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pleased to recognize eight Sustained Excellence Award winners, eight Partner of the Year Award winners, and 13 Excellence Award winners for helping to advance specific aspects of the WaterSense program in 2019 and contributing to annual savings of 871 billion gallons of water!
2020 Sustained Excellence Award Winners
- Athens-Clarke County (Georgia) Public Utilities Department cooked up creative outreach, including a “Look for WaterSense”-themed gingerbread house for the Athens Gingerbread Guild’s Gingerbread Home Competition and fortune cookies in their lobby that gave tips for saving water in response to Level 1 drought.
- Citrus County (Florida) Utilities celebrated Fix a Leak Week Mardi Gras style, hosting a booth at the annual Shrimpalooza festival with WaterSense information, toilet leak tablets, and water drop-shaped masks for children to decorate. They also helped a local hotel install WaterSense labeled toilets with a rebate.
- The City of Charlottesville (Virginia) kept pace with another Fix a Leak Family 5k race. The City also created a new Energy and Water Management Program that promotes WaterSense information on a dedicated internal website for City staff, which encourages WaterSense labeled products and promotes water-saving behaviors in the office.
- The City of Plano (Texas) created its first-ever Sprinkler Fair in response to residents’ desire for hands-on irrigation education. A total of 45 attendees rotated between five stations focused on various irrigation components that were led by the City of Plano and irrigation professionals, while a new mascot, “Owlbert,” helped teach children how to save water.
- Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District continued its successful Water Drop Dash 5k race; over 900 participants raced by water conservation messaging along the route and received water-saving giveaways. A new race T-shirt design competition has 30 designs submitted to showcase this water-saving event.
- Kohler developed three rain-style showerheads that earned the label based on recent WaterSenseshowerhead specification updates, while it continued to donate plumbing products to worthy causes. In total, Kohler earned the label on 26 tank-type toilets, 30 new faucets, 58 showerheads, one urinal, and one flushometer valve toilet in 2019 alone!
- Sonoma Marin (California) Saving Water Partnership’s (SMSWP) has issued nearly 1,000 irrigation professional certifications since the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) program began, thanks to its work with a number of other organizations that have adopted QWEL. SMSWP also issued 55 new certifications of its own in 2019.
- KB Home had 147 homes earn the WaterSense label, bringing the total of KB WaterSense labeled homes to nearly 2,000. What’s more, KB installs WaterSense labeled products in all of the homes they build. Overall, the company estimates it has installed 700,000 WaterSense labeled fixtures to date.
2020 Promotional Partners of the Year
- Big Bear Lake (California) Department of Water and Power rebated nearly 200 water-efficient toilets for residents, most of which were WaterSense labeled, and gave away more than 150 WaterSense labeled showerheads and nearly 400 bathroom and kitchen faucet aerators to residents.
- Irvine Ranch (California) Water District partnered with local energy utilities, Southern California Edison and SoCalGas, on the Get Smart Program. This direct-install effort provided over 300 WaterSense labeled weather-based irrigation controllers in 2019.
- City of Sacramento (California) Department of Utilities hosted its first Sacramento Water Conservation Showcase; more than 120 homewoners learned about WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers from Rachio, Rain Bird, and Hunter, along with ideas for water-wise plants and landscape designs.
- Upper San Gabriel Valley (California) Municipal Water District offered educational materials in Mandarin, as well as Spanish and English. For Fix a Leak Week, the agency hosted leak detection workshops, including one presented in Mandarin cohosted with the City of Arcadia, California.
- Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District hosted a Conservation Garden Fair for 400 regional water users to sign up for water audits, learn about WaterSense labeled product rebates, and exchange old showerheads for WaterSense labeled models.
- Orange County (Florida) Utilities’ Blue Thumb Jr. Detective program provided water conservation presentations to over 1,400 students. Orange County also held its Water Conservation Drop Savers Calendar Contest; more than 4,400 students submitted artwork about saving water.
Professional Certifying Organization Partner of the Year
- The City of Aspen (Colorado) offered free QWEL trainings to local landscape professionals to ensure that they have a strong cohort of local experts who are able to perform these audits and are trianed to practice water-efficient irrigation methods. They also offered a free lunch-and-learn to professionals and even opened training to residents who are interested in water-efficient gardening.
Builder Partner of the Year
- Fulton Homes installed WaterSense labeled products in nearly 900 homes; 30 of these homes earned the WaterSense label. Fulton is also working on developments where all the new homes will be WaterSense labeled, ENERGY STAR certified, and Indoor AirPLUS certified.
WaterSense also recognizes partners that excelled in a particular aspect of the program, and here are this year’s winners:
2020 Excellence Award Winners
- The City of Allen (Texas), Hilton Head (South Carolina) Public Service District, and Placer County (California) Water Agency were honored for Excellence in Education and Outreach.
- City of Durham (North Carolina) Water Management and Cobb County (Georgia) Water Systemreceived awards for Excellence in Outreach and Promoting Labeled Products.
- The Toro Company won for Excellence in Outreach and Training.
- City of Flagstaff (Arizona) Water Conservation Program, Municipal Water District of Orange County (California), Sonoma-Marin (California) Saving Water Partnership, and SUEZ North America — New York were honored for Excellence in Promoting Labeled Products.
- Santa Clarita Valley (California) Water Agency was recognized for Excellence in Multifamily Outreach and Water Score Improvement.
- G3, Green Gardens Group of Los Angeles was recognized for Excellence in Certification Program Growth.
- Energy Inspectors Corporation was honored for Excellence in Builder Support.
Learn more about this year’s winners by visiting the WaterSense website.