10-year-old EPA program promoting water-efficient plumbing has saved more than 1.1 trillion gal of water
The Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition (PILC) marked the 10th anniversary of WaterSense with a call for the program's authorization due to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program's water efficiency and savings achievements.
In 10 years, WaterSense has helped U.S. consumers save more than 1.1 trillion gal of water—more than the amount of water used by all the households in Texas for a year, the program's website states. WaterSense has achieved this savings by working with organizations that have manufactured and promoted the use of more than 17,000 certified water-efficient products that bear its label, including many organizations represented by PILC. While saving water, WaterSense has helped reduce the amount of energy needed to heat, pump and treat water by 146 billion kWh and has eliminated 54 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions—the equivalent of planting almost 1.4 billion trees.
PILC was founded by G.P. Russ Chaney, CEO of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials; Barbara C. Higgens, CEO and executive director of Plumbing Manufacturers Intl. (PMI); and Billy Smith, CEO and executive director of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers, all of whom continue to serve as chairs of the coalition. They were among recent International Emerging Technology Symposium attendees who presented a cake celebrating the anniversary to Stephanie Tanner, WaterSense lead engineer, after her presentation, "WaterSense, The Next Decade." PILC also sent a letter to water policymakers, legislators and WaterSense staff congratulating the program on its 10th anniversary.
Amendments authorizing the WaterSense program are included in both energy bills (H.R. 8 and S.2012) passed by the House and Senate. The next steps are for Congress to reconcile the two bills and for the president to sign the final bill. WaterSense authorization would affirm the results of the past 10 years and signal a strong national commitment to water sustainability, which is threatened in some regions by drought and population.
While WaterSense has made great progress, there is still much room for improvement, according to PILC. PMI commissioned a study conducted by GMP research last year that showed that nationwide only 7% of the toilets, 25.4% of bathroom faucets, and 28.7% of showerheads are WaterSense certified.
WaterSense is a voluntary program that encourages partners to share resources toward the goal of consumer adoption of water-efficient behaviors and products. WaterSense also works closely with scientists and other experts in water systems to gain their input regarding product performance, thereby assuring customer satisfaction. Among the partners, which includes many PILC members, are manufacturers, trade associations, retailers and distributors, local and state governments, water districts and builders.