New EPA Program Seeks To Help Consumers Make Water Efficient Choices

On June 12, EPA launched a new program that seeks to raise awareness about the importance of water efficiency, ensure the performance of water-efficient products and provide good consumer information. WaterSense will educate American consumers on making smart water choices that save money and maintain high environmental standards without compromising performance, agency officials said.

"Efficient products and informed consumers lead to smart water use. EPA's WaterSense program will provide water solutions that are a win-win for our wallets and our environment. WaterSense just makes sense," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.

Easily corrected household water leaks frequently rob consumers of 8 percent of their water bill. At least 30 percent of water used by household irrigation systems is lost through wind evaporation and improper design, installation or maintenance. The average household adopting water efficient products and practices can save 30,000 gallons per year -- enough to supply a year of drinking water for 150 of their neighbors.

Manufacturers can certify these products meet EPA criteria for water efficiency and performance by following testing protocols specific to each product category. In addition, products will be independently tested to ensure EPA specifications are met. These products will be available to families and businesses early next year.

"Water shortages have become commonplace in many parts of the country, and local water agencies have been encouraging consumers to save water where possible," said Diane VanDe Hei, executive director of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies. "WaterSense will provide a way for Americans to reduce water consumption without giving up product performance."

On the WaterSense Web site (http://www.epa.gov/watersense), EPA announced draft specifications are available for review in the following areas:

Certification programs for irrigation professionals: EPA is establishing criteria to recognize certification programs for irrigation professionals in three areas: system design, installation and maintenance, and system auditing. Any certification program that meets the criteria for one of these areas will be eligible for the WaterSense label. Comments are due by June 23. More information can be found at http://www.epa.gov/watersense/specs/cert.htm.

High-efficiency toilets (HET): All HETs that meet WaterSense criteria for performance will be eligible to receive a label once EPA finalizes the specifications. Comments are due by June 23. Additional information can be found at http://www.epa.gov/watersense/specs/het.htm.

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