WaterSense program gets reprieve

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When Donald Trump was elected U.S. president he vowed to do away with what he considered nuisance environmental programs. One of those that came under fire was the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense program, which is used across North America to rate the water efficiency of plumbing products.

On March 23 the industry won a temporary victory when Trump signed a $1.3 trillion government spending bill that, among many other things, funds the WaterSense program at 2017 levels until Sept. 30.

“Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) and our members and partners have worked diligently for more than a year to preserve and maintain WaterSense,” said PMI CEO and executive director Kerry Stackpole. “Today is a victory for everyone who cares about assuring that water remains a sustainable resource…” The group is already working with the U.S. government on WaterSense funding in 2019.

In a letter to EPA head Scott Pruitt sent earlier in March, Stackpole put forth a compelling case why the federal agency should continue to preserve and fund WaterSense, which has provided valuable water- and cost-saving benefits over the past 10 years.

“EPA’s WaterSense program is an example of an effective collaboration between industry and the government in determining voluntary water efficient performance measures that can be used by consumers, industry, as well as states and local governments,” Stackpole wrote.

Plumbing products bearing the WaterSense label are at least 20 percent more water efficient than standard products. To earn the WaterSense label, products must also meet high performance standards and meet third-party certification criteria.

Over the past decade in the U.S., WaterSense products have helped consumers save more than 2.1 trillion gallons of water and over $14.2 billion in water and energy bills, added Stackpole.

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