Water sector to Pruitt: Continue funding for WaterSense

WaterSense_labelIn April, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) cosigned two separate letters addressed to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, asking that he continue funding for the agency’s WaterSense program.

The first letter is under the banner of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, and is signed by 187 organizations, while the second letter , delivered on behalf of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and 62 other organizations. Both letters call for continuing funding for WaterSense, both in any Fiscal Year 2017 spending bills, as well as in any full year Fiscal Year 2018 spending bills.

RELATED: EPA says WaterSense has saved more than 1.5 trillion gallons of water

According to EPA, more than 1,700 utilities, local governments, manufacturers, retailers, distributors, builders, and other organizations have partnered with EPA to produce and promote water-efficient products, programs, and homes in the past decade.

WaterSense is a voluntary product efficiency labeling program that identifies efficient and high-performing water-consuming products. While EPA spends approximately $3 million a year to administer the program, it has saved consumers more than $33 billion in water and energy bills since the program’s inception in 2006. The program is widely supported across the building industry and has enjoyed bipartisan support on Capitol Hill throughout its existence.

WaterSense-labeled products, which are independently certified to use at least 20 percent less water and perform as well or better than standard models, have been on the market since 2007 when toilets first earned the label. Since then, the number of labeled models has grown to more than 16,000, including products found in residential and commercial bathrooms, commercial kitchens and for outdoor irrigation.

In addition to saving water, WaterSense labeled products save the energy associated with treating, pumping, and heating water. Since 2006 WaterSense labeled products saved the energy equal to the amount used to power 19.4 million homes for a year while preventing 78 million metric tons of associated greenhouse gas emissions.

EPA’s WaterSense program also certifies homes with WaterSense labeled fixtures and features. Compared to a typical home, a WaterSense labeled home can save a family an estimated 50,000 gallons of water a year, which is enough water to wash 2,000 loads of laundry and could curb utility bills up to $600. To date more than 700 homes have earned the WaterSense label.

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