May 9, 2019
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense program is a voluntary public-private partnership that develops specifications for water-saving plumbing products. It serves both as a label for water-efficient products and a resource for helping save water. Plumbing products bearing the WaterSense label are 20% more water-efficient than standard products; provide measurable water savings results and are performance-based; and require independent, third-party certification.
Unfortunately, the program has been targeted for elimination in the President’s latest Fiscal Year 2020 budget request to Congress. Plumbing Manufacturer International (PMI) urges Congress to continue to support the EPA WaterSense Program for the following reasons:
- The program has helped Americans save more than 3 trillion gallons of water and more than $65 billion in water and energy expenses, since its inception in 2006.
- Today, the program has grown to over 25,000 WaterSense-labeled product models including a wide variety of showerheads, toilets, faucets, faucet accessories, flushing urinals, pre-rinse spray valves and flushometer-valves.
- There are more than 2,000 WaterSense partners, including all major U.S. plumbing manufacturers, water utilities, builders, retailers, distributors, consumer groups, water efficiency advocates, and communities, which collaborate with EPA to make this program successful.
- The program has created a new water efficiency benchmark for plumbing products that has allowed PMI members to confidently invest millions of dollars in product development and marketing initiatives.
- It takes about $3 million to operate WaterSense at EPA, a small investment that is vital to conserving billions of dollars in water and energy savings.
- It is not duplicated by any other organization, private or public.
- Public and private utilities in all 50 states tailor successful water conservation programs around consumer use of WaterSense-labeled products.
- Congress recognized the success and importance of WaterSense last year by authorizing the program as part of America’s Water Infrastructure and Improvement Act.
Message to Congress
The FY2020 President’s budget recommends again that WaterSense funding be eliminated. The $3 million WaterSense program is part of the EPA Administrator’s budget. However, Congress has included specific instructions to EPA in the 2018 and 2019 fiscal year budgets NOT to cut the WaterSense program.
- Urge the Interior-EPA Appropriations Committees to once again support report language to preserve the WaterSense program at the current FY2019 level as part of this year’s budget.
- Contact Interior-EPA Committee Leadership: Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Tom Udall (D-NM); and, Reps. Betty McCollum (D-MN) and David Joyce (R-OH) and request they include language to preserve the WaterSense program, which serves as a responsible water stewardship.
Stephanie Salmon, PMI Federal Government Affairs