Smart Water Application Technologies (SWAT), a committee of the Irrigation Association, named the Region of Peel and the Regional Municipality of York as 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 the public,” 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 IA CEO Deborah Hamlin, CAE, FASAE. “I’m thrilled to recognize this program as an exemplary partnership between a water provider and the irrigation industry.”

Reducing outdoor water use has become a top priority in communities across North America. More frequent droughts and outdated water infrastructure are placing constraints on providers managing increasing water demand in high population growth areas. As much as half of water used for landscape irrigation is lost due to improper irrigation system design, installation and maintenance, making this an area ripe for transformation.

The 2019 Outstanding Industry Partnership Award was presented at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 2.