Having recently returned from the American Water Works Association's ACE06 in San Antonio this past June, I started reviewing my notes from the show. Rather than take you step by step through each day of the show—trust me, you don’t want to know what happens at a 7 a.m. breakfast meeting—I opted to offer only the highlights.
- The U.S. EPA introduced WaterSense, a new water conservation program geared to educate American consumers on making smart water choices in order to save money while maintaining high environmental standards without compromising performance. Stephen L. Johnson, EPA administrator, told those gathered at a press conference, "Americans today are embracing products that are fuel-efficient, are energy-efficient, and now there will be products that are water-efficient." Essentially, water products and services that are at least 20% more efficient than their counterparts will be labeled with the program’s WaterSense logo. The labels will appear in early 2007, with lawn sprinklers among the first products eligible following independent testing to ensure EPA specifications have been met. The goal is to have households adopt water efficiency products to annually save approximately 30,000 gal per household, enough to supply a year of drinking water for 150 other households.
- Another item of note from ACE06 was ITT's acquisition of F.B. Leopold Co., Inc. According to ITT, the acquisition expands the company's ability to provide pretreatment filtration technology for surface water, reuse and desalination, which are essential for clean water and to meet current and future regulatory requirements. Gary Aicher, president of ITT Water Treatment, said, "This acquisition is part of our strategy of transforming ITT from a provider of products to delivering total treatment solutions to the water and wastewater industry."
- At the AWWA Gavel-Passing Ceremony, Terry Rolan, director of the Durham, N.C., Department of Water Management, was named the association's newest president, taking over for Andy Richardson, a Greeley & Hansen principal and Water & Wastes Digest Editorial Advisory Board member. Rolan’s priorities for next year include communicating the value of water to consumers and decision makers; highlighting the value of AWWA membership to a new generation of members; and communicating the value of involvement in the association to all members.
- Stressing the importance of clean water and sanitation as well as the importance of well-operated water treatment plants, Vice-Adm. Richard Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General, said during a morning plenary session, "If I could pick one thing that would dramatically and economically change health disparity, it would be clean water and sanitation."
- Echoing the comments of Carmona was EPA’s Johnson, who said during his keynote speech, “Water is parallel with the quality of our lives.” Sustainability and security made up the theme of Johnson’s speech, in which he mentioned the importance of better management practices, full-cost pricing, and watershed approaches as key to sustaining water and meeting needs of the waterand wastewater infrastructure. Additionally, Johnson said that President Bush’s FY2007 budget contains $47 million for water security, and includes the WaterSentinel security program.