April 29, 2015

Udall Water and Energy Conservation Bill to Receive Committee Hearing

The Smart Energy and Water Efficiency Act helps save money, water and energy

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall announced that legislation he has introduced to promote water and energy conservation will receive a hearing in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources tomorrow, Thursday April 30 at 10 a.m. ET. Udall's Smart Energy and Water Efficiency Act would fund smart water system pilot projects to help develop innovative strategies to manage water use and increase efficiency.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports there are 880,000 miles of drinking water pipes in the United States, many of which are decades old and prone to leaks. An estimated 2.1 trillion gallons of treated clean drinking water are lost to leaks each year, which also wastes the energy used to treat and pump those lost water volumes. Udall's bill would encourage innovative solutions to this problem by supporting smart water system pilot projects in three to five cities across the country. Communities would compete for grant funding to develop demonstration projects and to create a "smart-grid" for water — detecting leaks as soon as they happen, or even before they happen — to save both water and the energy needed to provide and clean it. The pilots would serve as models for other communities to replicate and build on.

"Westerners are all too familiar with the impact of limited water resources on our way of life and our economy, but few of us realize how much clean water we lose because of leaks and other inefficiencies, and the amount of energy wasted in the process," Udall said. "Leaks cost us more than two trillion gallons of clean drinking water each year — every drop really does count. Plugging these holes will take innovation and collaboration, and that's what I'm encouraging with this bill. Upgrading our water infrastructure will help New Mexico communities make the most of every drop and every kilowatt."

The bill is based on recommendations made during the water conference Udall co-hosted with New Mexico State University in Las Cruces in 2012. Udall brought together farmers, industry, communities and individuals to talk about New Mexico's shared water needs. Afterward, he issued a report containing 40 proposed actions developed from the conference and related discussions. Udall has worked to advance the recommendations in Congress by introducing water efficiency legislation and fighting for funding for New Mexico as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Smart Energy and Water Efficiency Act is endorsed by a number of organizations that promote water efficiency and sustainability, including Alliance for Water Efficiency, American Rivers, American Standard, Amy Vickers & Associates Inc., Cahaba River Society, Center for Water-Efficient Landscaping, Ecoblue, Econics, Falcon Waterfree Technologies, Global Water Policy Project, IAPMO, Kohler Co., KWC America, Marin Municipal Water District, National Association of Water Companies, Neponset River Watershed Association, New York City Environmental Protection, the City of Round Rock, Texas Water Foundation, Toto USA, WasteWater Education, Water Demand Management, Waterless Co., Western Resource Advocates, and Woodcock & Associates Inc.