Over the course of two days I received an email from the same source telling me two very different, yet interconnected, stories.
On April 18, Plumbing Manufacturers International sent out a press release documenting the research the organization did with the Alliance for Water Efficiency. The “Saturation Study of Non-Efficient Water Closets in Key States” touts that water-efficient toilets could potentially save up to 170 billion gallons of potable water per year in five states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia and Texas) facing water scarcity issues.
Think about this: 465 million gallons of water per day could be saved by simply replacing non-efficient toilets in residential properties with water-efficient units. I can’t help but to wonder what the number would be if the study included nonresidential facilities still operating with non-efficient units?
When I think about water-efficient units my first thought goes to WaterSense. The public-private federal program recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Back in pme’s November 2016 issue, I wrote a WaterSense story and noted the program had saved a cumulative 1.5 trillion gallons of water and more than $32.6 billion in water and energy bills.
Now let’s skip ahead to April 20.
PMI sent out a message urging the Environmental Protection Agency to preserve and maintain the WaterSense program (IAPMO followed suit with its own message on April 24th). Under the EPA’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year, WaterSense is on the chopping block. According to PMI, the program costs $3 million per year to operate and has delivered more than $33 billion to consumers.
WaterSense has cost $33 million to run so far and saved $33 billion. That's an incredible ROI! Why is this program on the chopping block?
To save all those resources in just five states where water resources are at a premium would require engineers to specify and contractors to install WaterSense-certified toilets.
In terms of the federal budget, $3 million is peanuts. WaterSense delivers on the bottom line and helps water-stricken regions.
Trust me, I want to keep politics out of these pages as much as possible. However, as the Trump Administration continues trying to reshape the U.S. government, its vision will contain proposals and decisions that affect this industry.
Just this month in pme, we have articles on how the EPA is considering changes to the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act and from the American Supply Association’s Director of Government Affairs Dan Hilton on potential changes to the Affordable Care Act, which affects companies with less than 50 full-time employees.
pme Columnist Julius Ballanco also had to weigh in with his support of WaterSense in his monthly column.
Our industry does not move at the same pace of a new administration in Washington — especially one as radical as the new Trump administration. Programs such as WaterSense have proven to be successful over a long period of time and need to stay active as the fight to save resources marches on.
Call your elected officials and get your beliefs on the record. WaterSense and water resources are worth the fight.