By Mary Ann Dickinson, Alliance for Water Efficiency President and CEO
The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) has helped communities, businesses and people save water for nearly a decade. At our core, we serve as a North American advocate for water efficient products and programs and believe that water efficiency is the key to a sustainable future. The result of our efforts to date: indoor per capita water use has declined by 22% since 1999 and citizens have become more conscious water users.
While we have a strong – and growing – network of cities, businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions and citizens dedicated to the sustainable and efficient use of water, 40 out of 50 states are still expected to face water shortages in the next 10 years. Water efficiency is a national issue requiring a national commitment. Our water challenges are also constantly changing, and conquering outdoor water use is our new frontier. While we’ve made great strides reducing indoor use, outdoor irrigation is often the largest single use of water in the home, and is still poorly understood, largely unregulated, and ripe for improvement.
That’s why we’re pleased to partner with ScottsMiracle-Gro as part of the Water Positive National Partner Network. Through their products and services, Scotts is in a unique position to help homeowners practice responsible lawn and garden care, and create an outdoor space that satisfies aesthetic, environmental and financial goals. We are pleased to lend our expertise in water efficiency to help them pursue this important goal. The Network also aligns with our mission to convene and collaborate, leveraging leading water experts’ strengths, knowledge and tools across the country to streamline efforts in finding long-term solutions to achieve water efficiency.
Together as one national, authoritative voice, we will work to develop consumer education programs grounded in collaborative research and data through the Sustainable Landscapes Program. The Program is aimed at developing sustainable landscape designs that achieve greater water-use efficiency, stormwater management, groundwater recharge, green waste reduction and embedded energy savings.
At the same time, our partnership will help identify the research gaps through our comprehensive and independent Outdoor Water Savings Research Initiative – a program aimed at developing actionable information and data on the savings potential and actual water savings from a variety of outdoor conservation measures. The goal of this research is to provide information on water savings and costs from different outdoor measures and programs, regional differences and evaluation methods. This is where the research Scotts has conducted on the relationship between water, grass type and climates will be invaluable.
Our research has found that an investment of $10 billion in water efficiency can boost U.S. GDP by $13 to $15 billion and can create up to 220,000 jobs. By helping to spur investments in water efficiency, the National Partner Network will not only help protect our water resources, but will also contribute to advancing the country’s economic growth.
The Water Positive National Partner Network is an opportunity to achieve far-reaching outdoor water conservation and quality results beyond what individual organizations may achieve alone. We look forward to exploring how we can work together to make outdoor water use just as smart as indoor water use.