Since its 2006 launch, EPA’s WaterSense Program has been vital to water efficiency efforts across the country, providing significant economic value to ratepayers and water utilities as well as important environmental benefits. WaterSense-labeled fixtures have saved about 1.5 trillion gallons of water. With an annual federal budget of just $2 million, or about $20 million over its 10 years in operation, this program has saved taxpayers around $33 billion on their water and energy bills. This is a return on investment of $1,650 for every dollar spent.
Kudos to our friends at the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) for elevating this issue and delivering a robust letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt supporting the WaterSense Program to prevent this remarkably cost-effective initiative from being harmed by proposed EPA budget cuts. Because WaterSense has never been Congressionally authorized, it doesn’t have its own budget line and has instead been funded only at the discretion of the EPA Administrator. Now, with steep proposed cuts to the EPA’s over budget, this program could be at risk of losing its funding. AWE’s campaign is being supported by 187 manufacturers, businesses, water providers, academic institutions, and others. You can view the letter here.
WaterNow Alliance has been pleased to partner with WaterSense since 2014 as a Professional Certification Organization under the Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper program (QWEL). QWEL provides landscape professionals with education and training in water efficiency strategies and graywater installation. This is just one of the many local, effective programs that would be adversely affected by WaterSense funding cuts.
We’ll continue to monitor this situation and with the support of our partners and members will do our part to protect this vital water-saving program.
Lindsay Rogers is the Program Associate at WaterNow Alliance. She is also a QWEL certified landscaper.