| WaterSmart Innovations conference attendees focus on efficiency in changing climate
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WaterSmart Innovations conference attendees focus on efficiency in changing climate

More than 700 people are gathered in the water-challenged city of Las Vegas this week to share new ideas and cutting-edge technologies that promote more efficient urban water use during the 2022 WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition.

The conference, in its 14th year, brings together leading experts in water conservation and efficiency from both water systems and the many entities that use treated water. The exposition hall at the South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa featured exhibitors from irrigation companies, faucet manufacturers, utilities, researchers and many other organizations.

Speaking before the opening general session crowd, American Water Works Association (AWWA) CEO David LaFrance thanked Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) General Manager John Entsminger for his organization’s vision in creating WaterSmart Innovations 14 years ago. AWWA, the largest organization of water professionals in the world, is assuming operations of the conference for the first time in 2022. LaFrance said AWWA is committed to continuing the success and honoring the legacy of the event.

In a keynote address examining the drought impacting the Colorado River basin, Bret Birdsong, a professor from the Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, pointed out that the Colorado River Compact was created 100 years ago, during a period when water was more abundant. “If there’s one thing to remember about the Colorado River, [it’s that] we are facing a structural deficit,” he said. “We are using more of the basin than the river supplies.”

Natasha Rankin, CEO of the Irrigation Association, presented the Outstanding Industry Partnership Award to Inland Empire Utilities Agency for its Residential Small Site Controller Upgrade Program and the Outstanding Public Engagement Award to Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership for its Water Smart Landscape Design Template Project.

Doug Bennett, water conservation manager for SNWA and one of the historic creators of WaterSmart Innovations, said the conference is like no other in the sector. “What’s most exciting is the peer-to-peer engagement,” he said. “It’s a community and culture of water efficiency.”

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Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. With approximately 50,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life.