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NEWS RELEASE Contact: Jonathan Volzke (714) 593-5029 (office) (949) 291-8098 (cell)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (October 8, 2015) – A comprehensive approach to encouraging residents and businesses to be more water efficient earned the Municipal Water District of Orange County the prestigious “WaterSense Excellence Award” given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

MWDOC Water Use Efficiency Director Joe Berg and Water Use Efficiency Programs Specialist Melissa Baum- Haley, Ph.D received the award Thursday at the WaterSmart Innovation Conference in Las Vegas.

MWDOC worked with water retailers throughout Orange County, as well as other public agencies to develop the program, which included businesses and homes. The effort that drew the attention of the EPA, however, was the “Sprinkler Spruce Up” program.

WaterSense is an EPA program designed to encourage water efficiency in the United States through the use of a special label on consumer products. It was launched in June 2006.

In spring and fall 2014, MWDOC used the Orange County Garden Friendly Program (OCGF) as a platform to co- promote WaterSense’s Sprinkler Spruce-Up campaign.

MWDOC teamed up with the Orange County Stormwater Program and University of California Cooperative Extension to host six events – three at Home Depot stores during spring and three at other local garden centers throughout Orange County.

Outreach for these events resulted in more than 8 million marketing impressions. More than 700 retail customers learned about WaterSense-labeled weather-based irrigation controllers and the importance of “sprucing up” irrigation systems.

Two of the events, which coincided with the WaterSense “Sprinkler Spruce Up” weekend, capitalized on MWDOC’s WaterSense partnership by hosting Flo, EPA’s “spokesgallon” character. As a result, WaterSense-labeled controller sales at the three Home Depot stores increased by more than 225 percent compared to average daily sales activity. Assuming the 106 weather based controllers, for which consumers received rebates, replaced standard clock timers, MWDOC estimates its efforts will yield nearly 1.6 million gallons of annual water savings.

Additionally, through the Orange County Garden Friendly Program, MWDOC distributed approximately 25,000 fliers (roughly 1,000 to each Home Depot within Orange County) promoting rebate-eligible WaterSense labeled devices.

The Municipal Water District of Orange County is a wholesale water supplier and resource planning agency. MWDOC’s service area covers all of Orange County, with the exception of the cities of Anaheim, Fullerton and Santa Ana. We serve Orange County through 28 retail water agencies. # # # Street Address: 18700 Ward Street, Fountain Valley CA 92708 Phone Number: (714) 963-3058 Website: Twitter: @MWDOC

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