Plumbing Manufacturers International is urging the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration to preserve and maintain the WaterSense program, which has provided valuable water- and cost-saving benefits over the past 10 years.
In a letter sent April 17 to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, PMI stressed how the voluntary, public-private WaterSense partnership encourages voluntary reduction of water consumption by consumers and businesses. WaterSense has had widespread support from the plumbing manufacturing industry for a decade, and WaterSense products have saved an estimated 1.5 trillion gallons of water since the program's inception in 2006.
PMI CEO/Executive Director Barbara C. Higgens wrote to Pruitt, explaining: “Plumbing manufacturers are proud to partner with EPA’s WaterSense program. The WaterSense label is the most widely recognized symbol for water-efficient plumbing products that meet high performance standards. Through strong brand recognition and positive publicity, the WaterSense program has provided the catalyst for many consumers, homeowners, businesses, and state and local governments to invest in water-efficient plumbing products.”
PMI requested Pruitt meet with the association to hear how important this program is to plumbing manufacturers, water utilities, retailers and consumers. Higgens noted that the program has resulted in many plumbing manufacturers together developing more than 16,000 models of WaterSense products for bathrooms (toilets, showerheads, faucets and urinals), commercial kitchens and other applications.
WaterSense is one of the programs slated for elimination under EPA's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018. This program costs the EPA approximately $3 million a year to administer and has delivered more than $33 billion to consumers in water and energy bill savings, according to the EPA WaterSense website. WaterSense products use 20 percent less water than plumbing products meeting the required federal standards.
PMI has reached out to more than 50 key congressional offices during recent weeks to discuss the value of maintaining the WaterSense program, and will continue doing so. In addition, PMI is working closely with other important partners including the Alliance for Water Efficiency, American Water Works Association, High-Performance Buildings Coalition, and National Association of Home Builders to save this vital program.
WaterSense serves broad constituencies across every state in the country, working with more than 1,700 partners, including PMI and its member companies.
“It is truly an example of an effective collaboration between industry and the government on determining voluntary water efficient performance measures that can be used by consumers, industry, and state and local governments,” Higgens said.