The Alliance for Water Efficiency delivered a letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt today to urge continued funding for the successful EPA WaterSense labeling program, recently proposed for elimination in the Trump Administration’s budget, and committed to defending the program. The letter outlines the numerous benefits of WaterSense and represents the support of 185 manufacturers, businesses, water providers, academic institutions, and efficiency advocates.
“The WaterSense program is a cornerstone of our nation’s water sustainability strategy, and has become vital to American communities, manufacturers, and service providers,” said Mary Ann Dickinson, president and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency. “The Administration’s budget undervalues the contribution water efficiency makes to economic growth and the benefits of efficiency for US-based manufacturing. Defunding the program will be harmful to US businesses and families, and we are committed to taking all steps necessary to preserve this program.”
The Trump Administration’s budget proposes cuts to the EPA’s energy and water programs, eliminating the highly successful ENERGY STAR Program and its companion water-focused labeling program, WaterSense. The WaterSense program helps people save water with a label that indicates products bearing the label use at least 20 percent less water and work as well as or better than standard models required by law. WaterSense has never been congressionally authorized and has been funded at the discretion of the EPA administrator.
The Alliance for Water Efficiency letter calls on Administrator Pruitt and Congress to maintain the $2 million budget for WaterSense. It is supported by leading American companies and organizations such as LIXIL Corporation/American Standard Brands, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Kohler Co., the American Water Works Association, the Irrigation Association, and more than 175 other organizations, including water providers from around the country. The WaterSense program has more than 1,700 partner organizations that rely on the program to support their businesses or their water efficiency strategies. The WaterSense standards are also the basis for legislation in four states and other local plumbing codes that reference it.
“Eliminating WaterSense would destabilize the marketplace for manufacturers that rely on WaterSense-driven sales, start-ups bringing new products to market, and irrigation professionals that market their WaterSense certification,” said Pete DeMarco, AWE board chair and executive vice president of advocacy & research at the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. “This is a cost-effective voluntary program that works. Our letter demonstrates that diverse organizations – from government agencies to Fortune 1000 companies – see significant value from this low-cost initiative.”
The WaterSense program has saved American taxpayers more than $32 billion (2015 dollars) on their water and energy bills in the last ten years. It has saved 1.5 trillion gallons of water to date, providing greater water security given that 40 out of 50 states are anticipating water shortages in the years to come, according to a 2013 Government Accountability Report. It also helps consumers manage their water costs and can help American families reduce their water bills by up to $350 per year
“We need to congressionally authorize and permanently fund this program,” Dickinson continued. “Eliminating it would not only harm American businesses and invite foreign competition; it would also create hardship for communities dealing with water shortages and rising water rates. We invite all organizations with a stake in our water resources to join us in this effort.”
In addition, AWE is working closely with other important partners including the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, Plumbing Manufacturers International, American Water Works Association, and the High-Performance Buildings Coalition, to preserve this important program.