WATERSENSE in Jeopardy
The Alliance for Water Efficiency has been closely following the federal budget discussions in Washington, and it appears that the WaterSense labelling program is in grave danger of losing its funding. The President’s Budget for FY18 lists 50 programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that should be eliminated, and this list includes valuable programs such as Energy Star. Because the WaterSense program has never been Congressionally authorized, it does not have its own budget line item, and for the past ten years it has been funded only at the discretion of the EPA Administrator. WaterSense issues a recent release confirming that the program is likely to be included in these program cuts.
The WaterSense program is vital to the water efficiency community, and it has been a cornerstone of our efforts for a decade. It is critical that we step up to defend it and to request that it continue to be funded. For an annual federal investment of only $2 million, it provides significant economic value to the country and to water utilities and their customers in particular. It is valuable to the plumbing manufacturing community, and it helps create jobs. It has saved an estimated 1.5 trillion gallons of water.
In January 2011, Environment Canada signed a Promotional Partnership Agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency that identifies the roles and responsibilities of each jurisdiction in promoting WaterSense in Canada. The agreement opens the door for other levels of government in Canada (provincial, territorial and municipal) and other Canadian organizations (trade associations and non-governmental organizations) to secure individual partnership agreements with the Agency in order to promote WaterSense in their jurisdictions and to their clients. Our government did not commit any funding to support the program in Canada.
AWE has a support page, where they outline several things interested individuals and organizations can do to help support their lobbying efforts. CWWA’s Water Efficiency Committee will also be discussing the issue in our upcoming meeting.