The U.S. EPA has announced the winners of a new awards program aimed at recognizing outstanding leadership and innovation in water efficiency. Winners of the first Water Efficiency Leader (WEL) Awards were chosen by a panel of national water experts and based on three criteria: leadership, innovation and water saved.
“These water efficiency stars are shining examples of cooperative conservation and innovative technology,” said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water. “EPA salutes these leaders for helping America save water, money, and energy for families and communities.”
While population has nearly doubled over the past 50 years, water use has more than tripled. Due to demographic shifts, increased demand and aging water infrastructure, there is a national need for more efficient use of our water resources. EPA recognizes this need and has developed the WEL Awards in addition to a variety of other initiatives such as a product labeling program and a national organization to foster water efficiency.
Winners of the first WEL Awards are:
- TOTO USA (Atlanta, Ga.) - Large Corporation/Industry - TOTO demonstrates leadership and innovation in water efficiency through its plumbing product development, manufacturing processes and advocacy.
- Advanced Mobile, LLC (Seattle, Wash.) - Small Corporation/Industry -This mobile carwash company relies exclusively on sustainable and water-efficient practices.
- New York State Funeral Directors Association (Albany, N.Y.) - Organization/Teams/ Associations - This group promotes an innovative technology to reduce the volume of water used in embalming from 120 to 5 gal.
- Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Water Smart Program (Las Vegas, Nev.) - Utilities/Water Districts - The program is a collection of strategic initiatives in conservation programming, including progressive policies, aggressive education and substantial incentive programs.
- Bill Sartor of the San Antonio (Texas) Water System - Individual - Sartor has consistently demonstrated leadership and innovation in reducing water usage in his area of the country.
- State of Florida’s Water Reuse Program - Government/Military -This state program is a model for efficient use of water on a statewide level.
The WEL Awards seek to foster a nationwide ethic of water efficiency, as well as to inspire, motivate and recognize efforts that save water. The program allows EPA to document best practices, share information and create a network of water efficiency leaders. Award recipients gain national recognition for their accomplishments, the opportunity to learn from other leaders and the right to market themselves as recipients of this award.