W.A.T.E.R. Act Coalition Meets at the White House

In December, a letter signed by ASA and 15 other corporations, associations and coalitions with active participation in the EPA’s WaterSense program was sent to President Obama urging him to “propose to Congress the inclusion of plumbing and irrigation efficiency retrofits in legislation to create green jobs and boost the economy.”

As a direct result of this appeal, on January 5, 2010, ASA Chairman Joe Poehling of First Supply in LaCrosse, WI and other members of the ASA-led W.A.T.E.R. Act Coalition met at the White House with Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, President Obama’s “Climate Czar” at the White House. The meeting included representatives from Kohler, Moen, Plumbing Manufacturers Institute, PHCC National Association, American Rivers and the Alliance for Water Efficiency. 

At the request of the White House, on January 15, the Coalition submitted a legislative proposal to Carol Browner recommending a $500 million rebate program for the purchase and installation of plumbing fixtures certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that carry the WaterSense label. ASA and its partners estimate that the proposed rebate program has the potential to boost employment by 9,000 jobs.

“The work done by the W.A.T.E.R. Act Coalition to create a concept to present to President Obama and the resulting invitation to the White House to speak directly with this administration’s ‘Climate Czar’ is an excellent example of ASA’s increased activity and visibility in promoting legislation that will have a positive impact on the PHCP/PVF industry,” said Mike Adelizzi, ASA’s executive vice president. “The proposal included in the letter to President Obama was also sent in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. This issue is of vital interest to ASA members and our industry’s immediate future and we will pursue it intensely until it comes to fruition.”

The letter emphasizes that not only will water-efficient retrofits create near-term jobs in the plumbing industry, but installation of WaterSense products will save consumers money, save billions of gallons of water, reduce energy consumption, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The proposal calls for any jobs bill to include federal procurement of WaterSense products for new buildings and major renovations.

Other important facts about the WaterSense program and the W.A.T.E.R. Act:

Incentives for WaterSense Create Jobs:
WaterSense incentives will spur hiring by manufacturers that produce the products, wholesalers and retailers who sell the products and the local contractors and construction workers who install these plumbing and irrigation products.

The jobs potential for investment in replacing plumbing fixtures is on the order of 18 jobs per million dollars of direct investment.  For example, a $500 million investment in WaterSense incentives has the potential to boost employment by 9,000 jobs with commensurate growth in US GDP.

Employment in construction-related jobs, including plumbing, fell to 7.2 million in 2008 from 8 million in 2006, and the trend has not improved. WaterSense incentives will help reverse this trend.

In just the wholesale-distribution sector of the plumbing industry, WaterSense incentives will create or retain 1,250 jobs for every $500 million invested.

The supply chain in the plumbing industry is poised to respond almost immediately to the increased consumer demand for WaterSense products.

WaterSense Saves Water and Energy and Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
In 2008, WaterSense demonstrated that it saves water and energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

To read the letter in its entirety, please visitwww.asa.net. For more information on the W.A.T.E.R. Act Coalition and ASA’s other advocacy efforts, please contact Mike Adelizzi atmadelizzi@asa.netor 312.464.0090 ext. 201.