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Water Efficiency Networks: Regional Cooperation and Success on Water Conservation

Effective water conservation measures shouldn’t stop at jurisdictional boundaries such as city or county lines and knowledge shouldn’t either. This is the foundation of the Water Efficiency Networks in Central Texas and the Gulf Coast region.

What is a Water Efficiency Network?

A Water Efficiency Network (WEN) is a group of water providers and water conservation advocates that meet monthly with the purpose of learning about the latest conservation tools being used locally and globally and to openly and actively share information with peers about efficiency education, legislation, programs, and technologies.   The goal is to share information, learn from each other and to regionally have an impact on water supplies and use. At these meetings, there is a featured speaker, field trip or other water related activity followed by a group discussion to share conservation-related news, and projects successes and challenges.

The Water Efficiency Networks are much more than meetings; they are a platform to foster regional water conservation partnerships. In a recent survey of the Gulf Coast/Montgomery County Water Efficiency Network, the majority of members (95% of those surveyed) recognized collaborative public outreach to promote water efficiency as significant. For example, network members partnered to launch awareness campaigns to connect the impact of outdoor irrigation on drinking water supplies. By pledging to follow local community watering schedules, participants received a free ‘This Yard is helping to Conserve Our Water Supply’ yard sign from with the Central Texas or Gulf Coast Network. The yard signs served as a talking point between neighbors within communities, and helped to curb excess outdoor lawn irrigation.

The latest example of Water Efficiency Network collaboration in action is the upcoming SWIFT Funding Workshop: Focus on Water Conservation in Houston on January 7th.  Network participants identified a need for additional information on the Texas Water Development Board’s SWIFT funding process. The creation of this workshop was a collaborative effort of several entities that participate in the Gulf Coast/Montgomery County Water Efficiency Network.  This workshop isn’t just for network participants, anyone that is interested in the topic can participate.

Need 3 more reasons to join your local Network?

  1. If you’re working to launch a new water conservation program, or making improvements to an existing one, the Water Efficiency Network is a source for information. Based on a recent survey of the Gulf Coast WEN, 61% of respondents made improvements to their water conservation programs as a result of conversations at the Water Efficiency Networks.
  2. Conservation can help stretch existing water resources, which delays the need for expensive water supply projects and additionally preserves critical freshwater for other purposes such as preserving fish and wildlife habitat. Learn how other utilities are making the case for conservation in their communities.
  3. The Networks host annual Water Conservation Symposiums to discuss current water conservation topics such as water conservation in the regional water planning process, financing water conservation, to maximizing tools for communicating water conservation. The Central Texas symposium is scheduled for February 2, 2016 in Austin, TX, and the Gulf Coast symposium is scheduled for March 9, 2016 in Houston, TX.

Start your 2016 off right and join a Network today!

Collaboration and information sharing can help you and your utility implement effective water programs.  There is no cost to join the Network. Sign up to be added to the mailing list today and start receiving notifications for upcoming meetings. Water Efficiency Networks are established for the following regions:

  • Central Texas
    • Meeting date/time: 2nd Thursday of the Month – 10:00 – Noon
    • Location: Rotates around Central Texas locations (Austin, Georgetown, San Marcos, Round Rock, Cedar Park etc.)
    • Coordinator: Jessica Woods, Water Conservation Coordinator, City of Round Rock

Jennifer Walker

Water Resources Program Manager at Sierra Club - Lone Star Chapter
Jennifer has 15 years experience focusing on water policy issues in Texas with an emphasis on water planning, water conservation and bay and estuary protection issues. She and her family like to camp near rivers where they can listen to the frogs sing at night.

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