May 08, 2018
In a victory for the plumbing manufacturing industry, consumers, water utilities and water conservation advocates, the EPA’s WaterSense program will be funded at fiscal year 2017 levels until Sept. 30, 2018, as part of a $1.3 trillion government spending bill passed by Congress and signed today by President Donald Trump.
Reflecting a bipartisan approach to addressing the nation’s water issues, the bill also contains significant increases for clean water infrastructure investment.
$600 million for EPA State Revolving Funds (SRFs) – split equally between the Drinking Water SRF and the Clean Water SRF – for a total of $2.9 billion in funding – the most significant new money for these programs in many years. These federal-state partnerships provide low-cost financing for water quality infrastructure projects such as improving drinking water treatment; fixing leaky or old pipes; and replacing or constructing water storage tanks.
$63 million for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) – a significant increase in funding — exceeding the previously authorized fiscal year 2018 levels.
“Plumbing Manufacturers International and our members and partners have worked diligently for more than a year to preserve and maintain WaterSense,” said PMI’s CEO/Executive Director Kerry Stackpole. “Today is a victory for everyone who cares about assuring that water remains a sustainable resource in the United States. We look forward to working with Congress and the administration to keep WaterSense funding in the fiscal 2019 budget.”
In particular, PMI applauds the Interior/EPA Appropriations Subcommittee members, led by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) and Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), for taking a strong stance for the continued funding and operation of the WaterSense program.
In a letter to EPA head Scott Pruitt sent earlier this month, 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. ‘It is universally supported by manufacturers and the public and private agencies charged with supplying water to American households and businesses.”
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, WaterSense products have helped consumers save more than 2.1 trillion gallons of water and over $14.2 billion in water and energy bills.
PMI and its members have participated in the WaterSense program since its inception in 2006. As a result of the program, plumbing manufacturers have developed more than 20,000 models of WaterSense-labeled products for bathrooms (toilets, showerheads, faucets, and urinals) and commercial kitchens. Today, more than 1,700 WaterSense partners, including manufacturers, water utilities, building groups, retailers, associations, and communities, collaborate with the EPA on the program.
Plumbing Manufacturers International is the voluntary, not-for-profit international industry association of manufacturers of plumbing products, serving as the Voice of the Plumbing Industry. Member companies produce 90 percent of the United States’ plumbing products. As part of its mission, PMI advocates for plumbing product performance and innovation contributing to water efficiency and savings, sustainability, public health and safety, and consumer satisfaction. PMI members manufacture water-efficient toilets, urinals, faucets, showerheads and other products at more than 70 locations in 25 states and that are sold in home improvement stores, hardware stores and showrooms.
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