Los Angeles, California — June 10, 2022 — A Pacific Institute-led water efficiency project that uses remote sensors to detect toilet leaks in low-income housing has been awarded the Water Industry Leader Award by the Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge (LABBC). The LABBC’s “Best Buildings” Innovation Awards program identifies organizations demonstrating exceptional ingenuity in energy and water efficiency. The water prize was one of six LABBC prizes awarded this week.
The Pacific Institute project, entitled “Advancing Water Efficiency through Leak Detection for Low-Income Housing in Southern California,” was highlighted as an urban water efficiency best practice for conserving water during historic drought in the US West. The 2021 multi-sector initiative installed 1,200 remote sensors to detect toilet leaks and send alerts in real time. Since installation, one low-income senior housing community west of downtown Los Angeles has saved more than 1 million gallons of water, reduced water use by more than 25%, and saved an estimated $10,000 in water bills. The water prize was formally awarded to the Retirement Housing Foundation, which owns and operates the 183-unit MacArthur Park Tower site.
“Collaboration across sectors is critical to advance solutions at the pace and scale needed to meet the current water crisis,” said project lead Cora Kammeyer, Senior Researcher at the Pacific Institute. “This project is a great example of how bringing together diverse sectors adds up in terms of impact.”
The project is a collaboration between the Pacific Institute, Sensor Industries, and Bonneville Environmental Foundation, with support from members of the California Water Action Collaborative, a network of stakeholders pursuing collective action projects to improve water security in California.
In 2022, the project will be replicated throughout California with additional leak detection installations and expanded water efficiency solutions. The project is also pursuing scaling opportunities through public policies and programs, such as California’s state-funded low-income weatherization programs.
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Founded in 1987, the Pacific Institute is a global nonpartisan water think tank that combines science-based thought leadership with active outreach to influence local, national, and international efforts in developing sustainable water policies. Its mission is to create and advance solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges.