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Cal-Nev AWWA Responds To Drought Declaration

On Jan. 17 Governor Jerry Brown officially declared that California is in a state of emergency, facing water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history. Governor Brown also urged officials to take necessary actions to prepare for drought conditions. In response, the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association called on its members in the drinking water community to take all necessary actions to protect public health and safety.

“Governor Brown made the right decision,” said Bruce Macler, the AWWA section’s board chair. “These record dry condition represents a threat to public health, as well as the possibility of tremendous economic losses,” Macler said. “We understand the vulnerability of the small communities’ dependent on wells, springs, and streams that are going dry.”Citing the long and cooperative relationship AWWA members have with the state’s drinking program, Macler pledged his organization’s technical and professional assistance to any communities that face severe water shortage. “It will begin with conservation,” he said. Macler also emphasized the value of water agencies’ participation in the California Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network, where advanced preparations for mutual aid in emergency situations greatly improves their resilience.

CA-NA AWWA Executive Director Tim Worley offered several suggestions for cities and water districts looking for information and resources during the drought. “I would hope that every water provider has dusted off the AWWA ‘M-60’ Manual of Practice on drought preparedness and response. If they have taken the manual to heart, they will be far better off during this emergency,” Worley said. IN addition, AWWA’s drought resource community includes tools, articles, and links that will be hugely beneficial to utilities responding to severe drought conditions.
Worley also called on water conservation professionals trained and certified by the CA-NV AWWA to help their customers meet Governor Brown’s call for 20% water savings. “This is the moment for our certified Water Use Efficiency Practitioners – over 400 throughout the state – to step forward and lead the way,” he said.

Macler noted the association is asking Governor Brown to address the approximately 1,200 people expected to attend its Spring Conference Mar. 25 in Anaheim. “The last serious multi-year drought broke in 1992 with the ‘March miracle’ rains, but we’re not counting on another miracle,” he said. “We’d like the Governor to update the professional water community on what we can do, and discuss the policy actions that are needed to deal with recurring water shortages.”

Niagara Conservation Expands HE Toilet Line
In an effort to more wholly focus and invest on its fastest growing areas, Niagara Conservation recently divested a portion of its business to AM Conservation Group, Inc., a Charleston-based supplier of weatherization, energy and water conservation products. Among the acquired products are Niagara Conservation’s showerheads, aerators, lighting and weatherization products, which all will continue to be sold under the Niagara brand name – Niagara will retain its toilet and program-related business.

Niagara Conservation plans to expand its successful line of ultra-high-efficiency toilets and pioneering utility programs by investing in a new toilet manufacturing plant in Kokomo, IN, and increasing the size and scope of its Niagara Green City™ program. By 2015, the majority of Niagara’s ultra-high-efficiency toilets will be “Made in the U.S.A.” and manufactured at the newly refurbished Kokomo plant.

At the new Kokomo plant, Niagara Conservation plans to manufacture a wide range of toilets, such as the company’s Stealth® line. The Stealth is the world’s lowest single flush toilet at 0.8 gallons per flush (GPF), while the Stealth Dual Flush offers the option of a flush utilizing half the normal amount of water at 0.5 GPF or a full flush at 0.95 GPF.

Both toilets meets EPA WaterSense criteria and can save an average of 40,000 gallons of water annually when retrofitted with other bathroom fixtures. Also being produced at the new facility will be Niagara’s EcoLogic Flapperless toilet, which saves water and eliminates the need to replace flappers, chains and levers making this toilet virtually maintenance free.

Furthermore, Niagara plans to expand its new Green City program, introducing new markets and partners in 2014 and beyond. Niagara Green City is a turnkey program for utilities, multi-family dwellings, hotels and single family homeowners, where they are provided with the opportunity to upgrade their homes and/or businesses with Niagara’s UHET Water-Savings Kit without burden of upfront costs.

Designed to reduced water usage and utility bills, the UHET Water-Savings Kit is composed of the Stealth toilet, a high-efficiency showerhead, and three low-flow faucet aerators. If 25,000 homes were retrofitted with Niagara Conservation’s UHET Water-Savings Kit, the estimated savings would be more than one billion gallons of water per year.