Improving Water Efficiency
The WEP was established with the idea that water providers could maximize resources and customer services through collaboration. Partnerships, outreach and advertising programs, awards and other accomplishments are outlined below.
- Sacramento River Cats
- University of California (UC) Extension: Annual Harvest Day
- Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper (QWEL): Professional Landscape Training Program
- Rescape California: Professional Landscape Training Programs
- Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San): Rebates
- Save Our Water partner
- California Water Efficiency Partnership member
- Alliance for Water Efficiency member
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense partner
- Sacramento Tree Foundation outreach partner
Outreach and Advertising
WEP has developed several award-winning outreach and advertising programs. Most of these have focused on helping customers reduce water use outdoors, where most household water use occurs. Often funded by grants, outreach programs typically include (as budget allows) advertising on television, radio, billboards and online (Facebook and Google), outreach to customers at regional community events, partnerships with local sports teams such as the Sacramento River Cats, local nurseries, home improvement stores and others, give-aways that encourage water efficiency and outreach to news media.
The campaign provides a consistent message on how to save water outdoors across the Sacramento region. In response to California’s recent series of droughts, the campaign has expanded to include tips on saving water indoors including finding and fixing household leaks. The program also implements school education activities like the Water Spots Video Contest for high school and middle school students to develop public service announcements (PSAs) based on a unique annual theme.
- 2022, Silver Award for Best Garden Marketing Publication, Garden Comm (formally the national Garden Writers Association)
- 2021, Honored with the national 2021 WaterSense® Partner of the Year Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- 2020, Excellence in Public Information and Communication (EPIC) Award, Communications or Marketing Plans/Campaigns Consultant-Supported category, CAPIO for “Check the Soil and Save” campaign
- 2017, Merit Award in the Social Media Campaign category, Public Relations Society of American (PRSA), California Capital Chapter for “Drought Face” campaign
- 2017, Influence Award in the External/Community Relations Campaign category, Public Relations Society of American (PRSA), California Capital Chapter for “Rethink Your Yard” outreach program
- 2016, Honored with the national 2016 WaterSense® Excellence in Education and Outreach Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- 2015, Most Effective Social/New Media Category, Award of Distinction, California Association of Public Information Officials, “Show Us Your Drought Face!” Campaign
- 2014, Honored with a 2014 Influence Award for Continuing Public Relations Programs by the Public Relations Society of America California Capital Chapter, Regional Water Authority Water Efficiency Program–Do the Sprinkler!
- 2013, Short-term Public Relations Campaign Category, Silver CAPPIE Award, Sacramento Public Relations Association, Water Spots: RWA Student Video Contest.
- 2012, Continuing Public Relations Program Category, Gold CAPPIE Award, Sacramento Public Relations Association, “Blue Thumb” Campaign.
- 2012, New Media—Blog Category, Silver CAPPIE Award, Sacramento Public Relations Association, “Blue Thumb” Blog.
- 2012, Overall Communications Program Category, Crystal Award, International Association of Business Communicators, “Blue Thumb” Campaign.
- 2012, Social Media Category, Crystal Award, International Association of Business Communicators, “Blue Thumb” Campaign.
- 2012, Campaigns/Programs: Marketing/Communications Category, Award of Distinction, California Association of Public Information Officials, “Blue Thumb” Campaign.
The Water Efficiency Program (WEP) public outreach and school education accomplishments are summarized in the program’s annual reports below.
- Water Efficiency Program 2021 Year in Review
- Water Efficiency Program 2020 Year in Review
- Water Efficiency Program 2019 Year in Review
- Water Efficiency Program 2018 Year in Review
Additionally, WEP allows water provider members to leverage their investments in water efficiency and take advantage of grant funding available. Since 2003, the WEP has secured nearly $17 million to date from highly competitive grant programs. Grant awards include:
- $500,000 for disadvantaged community indoor fixture direct installation (Urban Community Drought Relief Grant)
- $250,000 for commercial and institutional landscape upgrades (Bonneville Environmental Foundation Grant)
- $2.4 million for customer rebates, indoor and outdoor savings studies, and public outreach (Prop 1)
- $2.5 million for commercial rebates, and direct installations (Water Energy Grant)
- $820,750 for leak detection and repair and advanced customer systems (Prop 84)
- $1 million for irrigation efficiencies (Prop 84)
- $1.9 million for drought assistance (Prop 50)
- $1.2 for large landscape improvements and upgrades (Prop 13)
- $1.1 million for toilet rebates (Prop 50)
- $395,000 for leak detection and repairs (Prop 13)
- $294,000 for weather-based controller rebates (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation CalFed)
- $1 million for large landscape improvements, irrigation efficiencies and direct installations (Prop 84)
- $20,000 CII Large Landscape Water Efficiency Pilot (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation)
- $35,000 CII Data Collection (California Department of Water Resources)
- $15,000 for School Education (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation)
- $1,978,230 SRCSD/RWA Water Conservation Program (SRCSD partnership)
- $37,000 for the expansion of the Green Gardener Training Program (EPA Climate Showcase Communities Grant)
- $300,000 for direct installations (U.S. Bureau of Reclamation/CalFed)