Inaugural SWAT award recipients announced

Smart Water Application Technologies (SWAT), a committee of the Irrigation Association, recently presented two inaugural awards during the WaterSmart Innovation Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas.

Fort Collins Utilities named recipient of Outstanding Public Engagement Award

Fort Collins Utilities of Fort Collins, Colorado, was the recipient of the inaugural Outstanding Public Engagement Award. This award recognizes a water provider with a successful program focused on public engagement and education on smart, efficient irrigation technologies and practices.

Fort Collins Utilities’ residential sprinkler audit program educates customers on efficient landscape watering through one-on-one engagement with their residents. The utility performs irrigation assessments and develops personalized audit reports with recommendations to help customers reduce inefficiencies in their sprinkler systems that lead to water waste.

“Fort Collins Utilities is a great example of sustained results from educating customers on water-efficient alternatives,” said IA CEO Deborah Hamlin, CAE, FASAE. “This program has shown that quality engagement empowers residents to make better, more informed choices around water use.”

Since the program began in 1999, Fort Collins Utilities has provided over 6,000 free residential sprinkler audits and saved the community over 68 million gallons of water. The program staff stays up to date on irrigation technology advancements, incorporating new products into the rebate and education components of the program.

“Fort Collins Utilities has done a great job of educating their customers on the water requirements of their landscapes and how to leverage smart technologies,” said Abby Owens, chair of the SWAT Promotions Working Group and public works compliance analyst for the City of Plano, Texas. “Ultimately, participants have gained greater confidence to manage their landscapes while watering more efficiently.”

Canadian regions named inaugural Outstanding Industry Partnership Award recipient

The Region of Peel and the Regional Municipality of York were named the recipient of the inaugural Outstanding Industry Partnership Award. This award recognizes a water provider that has successfully implemented a program focused on partnership building with landscape and irrigation professionals to promote outdoor water conservation.

The regions’ Water Smart Irrigation Professional Certification Program aims to reduce water waste and peak water demand in two of the fastest-growing regions of Canada. Program staff train irrigation professionals on best management practices, performing irrigation system assessments using a new and improved tool, and marketing and promotional techniques to drive water-efficient retrofits.

“I’m excited to honor a water provider that recognizes the importance of marketing and promoting water-efficient irrigation technologies to landscape irrigation professionals,” said Abby Owens, chair of the SWAT Promotions Working Group and public works compliance analyst for the City of Plano, Texas. “SWAT identified this early on as a key factor in driving market transformation to water-efficient alternatives.”

The program’s 82 certified contractors have performed over 600 assessments to date with confirmed savings of over 100 million gallons of water. In addition, the regions estimate a 31-ton reduction of carbon dioxide emissions attributed to treatment and distribution of the saved water.

“The Peel and York Regions have demonstrated real gains in outdoor water conservation,” said Hamlin. “I’m thrilled to recognize this program as an exemplary partnership between a water provider and the irrigation industry.”