Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership wins WaterSense Partner of the Year, Sustained Excellence awards 

October 05, 2023

The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership earned multiple awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its work promoting the EPA WaterSense program and water efficiency in 2022. 

The awards were presented at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada and included a Partner of the Year Award and a WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award for the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership, the organization’s second and seventh WaterSense awards, respectively. In total, nine Partner of the Year awards were presented at the conference, along with 13 Sustained Excellence awards. 

WaterSense, a voluntary partnership program sponsored by the EPA, is both a label for water-efficient products, programs, and homes and a resource for helping consumers learn ways to save water. More than 2,100 manufacturers, builders, retailers, utilities, government, and nonprofit organizations partner with WaterSense to promote water-efficient products, homes and programs. 

Some of the accomplishments recognized by the Partner of the Year Award for 2022 included how the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership participated in several WaterSense campaigns, including Fix a Leak Week, Sprinkler Spruce-Up, Smart Irrigation Month, and When in Drought with newspaper placements, social media, web banners and WaterSense materials. To reach a wider audience, the Partnership translated many of its educational materials into Spanish. 

Throughout the summer of 2022, the Partnership held pop-ups at home improvement stores, farmers markets, nurseries, summer concerts, and other community events. At an event in June, the Partnership partnered with five local hardware stores; staff educated customers about saving water and gave away WaterSense-labeled showerheads and faucet aerators.  

“We’re honored to be recognized,” said Mike Healy, who is a member of the Petaluma City Council and chairs the Partnership’s Water Advisory Committee. “The EPA WaterSense label makes it easy for our customers to choose water efficient products for their homes, and our water conservation staff rely on the WaterSense campaigns like Fix a Leak Week for timely messages to help us meet our savings goals, especially during drought.” 

The Sustained Excellence Award recognized the Partnership’s outstanding work as a professional certifying organization and its role as the lead agency for the Qualified Water Efficient Landscape Program which has been adopted by 19 organizations throughout the West. The Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper Program offered virtual, in person, and hybrid courses in 2022 for its Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper course and certified 766 professionals—200 more than were certified the previous year. In addition, over 1,400 professionals maintained their certifications in 2022 by meeting continuing education requirements. 

Sonoma-Marin continued to work with colleges in the area to promote Qualified Water Efficient Landscaping and outdoor water efficiency, including Santa Rosa Junior College, where they helped integrate Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper curriculum into the college’s landscape irrigation course. The Partnership also educated 25 students at the College of Marin about WaterSense labeled products and Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper. To promote WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers online, the Partnership created four YouTube videos in both English and Spanish.  

For more information about WaterSense, visit epa.gov/watersense