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Alliance for Water Efficiency presents Southern Nevada Water Authority with inaugural Member of the Year Award

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Recognizing its commitment to water efficiency and conservation, the Alliance for Water Efficiency presented the Southern Nevada Water Authority with its inaugural Member of the Year Award in ceremonies Oct. 6.

AWE President and CEO Ron Burke made the presentation during the 13th WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition at the South Point Hotel and Conference Center in Las Vegas. WSI Program Chairman and SNWA Conservation Manager Doug Bennett accepted the award on behalf of the SNWA.

“The Member of the Year Award recognizes SNWA’s leadership in creating and managing WSI since it began in 2008,” said Burke. “WSI continues to be the nation’s preeminent water efficiency conference thanks to SNWA’s dedication and vision.”

To be eligible for the award, organizations had to have at least five years membership in AWE, provided support and resources to AWE beyond membership dues, and demonstrated consistent commitment to and support for the work of AWE and its mission.

“The Southern Nevada Water Authority is honored by this recognition,” said Bennett. “As a founding member of AWE, the Authority has always subscribed to the philosophy that everyone benefits from widely sharing information about sound program design, product innovation and policymaking.”

“Although we’re honored to be recognized, these accomplishments are those of an entire community of water efficiency professionals,” he said.

Burke said SNWA is a long-standing AWE member and representative on its Board of Directors and noted the Authority’s standing as a national leader in the realm of water efficiency. The SNWA has developed and implemented numerous water-conservation programs and policies in the last 20 years, including the phenomenally successful Water Smart Landscapes Rebate program (WSL).

WSL provides cash incentives for residents and businesses to replace grass with water-efficient, drip irrigated landscaping. The program has helped the community save more than 152 billion gallons of water since its launch in 2000.

“This commitment also is exemplified by SNWA’s efforts to pass AB356 this year,” Burke said, “a first-of-its-kind state law to ban the watering of certain non-functional turf grass in order to reduce water use.”  

Signed into law last spring, AB356 essentially requires the removal and/or replacement of non-functional grass–defined as grass in streetscapes, medians, parking lots, traffic circles and other areas where it is utilized for aesthetics and not recreational purposes—throughout the Las Vegas Valley by the end of 2026.

The SNWA has identified approximately 4,000 total acres of non-functional grass in the Las Vegas Valley applicable to AB356. Replacing this grass will save about 9.5 billion gallons of water annually or about 10 percent of community’s total water supply from Lake Mead.  The SNWA presents WSI in partnership with the AWE, the American Water Works Association, the U.S. EPA’s WaterSense Program, and other forward-thinking public- and private-sector organizations. More information is available at WaterSmartInnovations.com.

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