Mar 08, 2011

WQA Opposes AWWA Suggestion on Changing WaterSense Goals

WQA executive director expressed views in letter to EPA

Water Quality Assn. (WQA) Executive Director Peter Censky responded to a suggestion by the American Water Works Assn. (AWWA) that the goals of the WaterSense program should be changed.

According to WQA, last month AWWA asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider significantly altering the objectives of the its WaterSense initiative. WQA and others have been working cooperatively with EPA on the WaterSense program for water softener labeling.

In a letter last week to EPA, Censky wrote that, in effect, “AWWA is asking EPA to go beyond voluntary consumer education about the water efficiency of water softeners by creating standards for dissimilar products.

“We see this as an attempt to significantly change the ultimate goal of the WaterSense program. Ion exchange water softeners are a significant water-using appliance in the marketplace. These devices are in demand because [of] the damage that hard water does to appliances and fixtures and because of the added energy costs of heating hard water in homes and businesses. This demand will not change, so the purpose of the WaterSense program is to drive increased water-use efficiency in this category of devices. To change this goal now would significantly undermine the critical progress being made.

“Voluntary consumer education promoted by EPA is a laudable goal. However, it would be inappropriate to change the objectives of this program long after its purposes have been clearly laid out. We are confident you will accept our position. For private/public cooperation to succeed, all sides need to understand and abide by the common goals they agree to.”