Plumbing Manufacturers International staff headed to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit in August to build vital relationships with state policymakers while sharing expertise on water-efficient measures and plumbing products.
“This is one of many opportunities where PMI proactively engaged with policymakers and legislators to show how we’re part of the water-efficiency solution. We want them to know how innovative and forward-thinking our industry and members are – and how we can help them understand reasonable and responsible ways to save water while making things better for their citizens,” said PMI CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole.
Taking a proactive approach on legislation affecting plumbing products and water efficiency has been a key part of PMI’s strategy. The PMI team met with legislators and their staffs to discuss how states can best address water efficiency and find ways to help citizens make good choices when replacing legacy plumbing fixtures with WaterSense products, Stackpole added.
Described as the nation’s largest bipartisan gathering of state legislators and staff, the NCSL summit allows for policy experts, business leaders, and various industry leaders to engage in conversations covering policy priorities and the legislative landscape. “One of our goals is to educate legislators and policymakers about how PMI and its members can be trusted advisers on the complex issues associated with plumbing systems and water,” Stackpole said.
Establishing PMI as water-efficiency expert, first stop on legislative trail
This is the first year PMI hosted a booth on the NCSL exhibit floor. PMI exhibited with about 200 other associations, businesses and organizations, including PMI member IAPMO, the Water Quality Association, the Design-Build Institute of America, Amazon and Google.
Stackpole, PMI Director of Programs and Administration Jodi Stuhrberg and PMI California Government Affairs Consultant Jerry Desmond shared practical ways to save water and handed out five-minute shower timers and PMI handouts titled “Three Ways You Can Save Water in Your District” and “WaterSense is Common Sense.” Water saving ideas in these handouts include offering rebates, grants, giveaways and tax-free holidays for WaterSense products.
“We illustrated some of the simple, practical ways to save water that don’t require redesigning plumbing fixtures,” Stackpole said. The five-minute shower timer provides a simple, strong example of how people can save about 12 gallons of water per shower while also saving energy to heat the water.
Stackpole noted that the team discussed more sophisticated water-efficiency methods, such as mandating WaterSense fixtures for new construction; offering citizens rebates for WaterSense toilets, faucets and showerheads; and granting tax breaks for purchasing water-efficient products. They also shared information on the many future-focused innovations PMI members offer, such as smart faucets that allow users to ask for a set amount of water heated to a particular temperature, advanced leak detectors, and other products.
PMI Technical Director Kyle Thompson said he attended educational sessions that helped him learn more about the legislative process. Other sessions provided him with useful information about infrastructure funding and the United States economic outlook.
“It was exciting to meet with legislators, policymakers and their teams to start forming long-lasting relationships,” Thompson said. “It’s challenging to be involved with all 50 states as they create water-efficiency bills. We want them to recognize that PMI is the organization they should call first to provide water-efficiency expertise on plumbing products and flow rates. We want to be included at the start of the legislative process – not after the fact.”
Thompson and Stackpole said they were pleased to meet representatives from states with water challenges, such as those in the Southwest, and states that have tried to pass legislation to reduce flow rates below WaterSense levels.
For more information about the NCSL Legislative Summit, visit the NCSL website at tinyurl.com/2p826ah4.