BY: Warren Tenney

Conservation Pros Sharpen Skills To Help Businesses

Published Nov 06, 2017

The AMWUA cities’ conservation pros have worked together for nearly four decades to lead their municipalities toward a culture of conservation. There's very little these professionals don’t know about water-efficient homes or water-efficient residential and commercial landscapes. Together and individually, they have created rebate  and auditing programs, classes and demonstration gardens , websites, videos and publications that help people save water inside and outside their homes. They’ve had an impact because they've never stopped teaching – or learning.  

These water-efficiency experts meet at least monthly as the AMWUA Regional Conservation Committee. About 18 months ago, members decided they needed to sharpen their skills to help commercial properties - resorts, grocery stores, schools and office buildings - save water. They needed to know more about saving water when managing large commercial kitchens, on-site laundries and cooling towers. As usual, they went to work. 

For more than a year members brought in professionals to teach them specific knowledge, such as cooling tower management, and more general knowledge, such as how to develop a working relationship with property owners and facility managers. Committee members listened intently and peppered these visitors with questions, wringing out details as they each began to create the type of commercial water auditing program that would benefit their city. After more than a year of monthly meetings, the hands-on work began with help from Salt River Project (SRP) and AMWUA.

In September, SRP paid for the conservation professionals to be trained by Maddaus Water Management, Inc. of California, a national leader in commercial water audits. The training included webinars and three days of intense fieldwork with two members of the company. SRP connected the Conservation Committee members to three resorts that opened their doors to the trainers and trainees - Arizona Grand Resort and Spa and the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in the City of Phoenix and the Renaissance Phoenix Glendale Hotel and Spa in the City of Glendale. The trainers and 15 conservation pros had many things they needed at these properties to study water efficiency, commercial bathrooms and showers, kitchens, pools, laundries and cooling towers. 

The group spent one full day at each resort. Trainees and trainers gathered in a conference room for a lesson about how to audit a commercial kitchen and then off they went to examine the resort’s kitchens. They looked at appliances such as steamer ovens, pre-rinse sprayers and dishwashers. The students took photos and notes before re-grouping, debriefing, and learning more about the next site to audit, perhaps a pool or commercial laundry.  The training sessions also included learning a new software program that generates auditing reports within hours instead of days. Each resort will receive a follow-up visit and a report with recommendations about ways to save water and money.

It’s not over. This spring AMWUA will pay to bring back Maddaus Water Management for another three days of training. This time the cities’ conservation professionals will lead the audits, with the trainers as their guides. The group will audit three different types of non-residential settings, including a grocery store and a high school campus. 

Each city will use the training to its best advantage. The commercial water-auditing program each city develops will depend on its size, its commercial properties and businesses, and its resources. The work of the AMWUA Conservation Committee is a good example of how cities use the power of collaboration to help Arizona save water and money.

For 48 years, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has worked to protect our member cities’ ability to provide assured, safe and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more water information visit