House Bill Would Offer Credits for Efficient Products

U.S. Rep Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) on April 13 announced a new legislative proposal to increase water conservation recently introduced in the Congress. The legislation, House Resolution 1908, The Water Accountability Tax Efficiency Reinvestment Act (W.A.T.E.R. Act), will promote water conservation by providing a tax credit to homeowners and businesses that purchase water efficiency-components that reduce water consumption.

“This legislation will help conserve one of our most precious resources by providing a tax incentive to reward water conservation. Water conservation must be a key component of an overall strategy for meeting the increased demands for water across our country,” said Coffman.

The congressman modeled his legislation after the Energy Star program currently administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Under the Energy Star program, energy-efficient products, that may cost more to purchase than standard models, will pay the consumer back in lower energy bills within a reasonable time frame irrespective of any benefit derived from the tax credit.

EPA has already devised an equivalent program for promoting water conservation by evaluating water-efficiency components and awarding them the WaterSense label much like energy efficient appliances and products receive the Energy Star label to alert consumers. However, the difference between the two programs is the Energy Star provides a tax credit while the WaterSense one does not.

Coffman’s legislation would provide a 30 percent tax credit, with a $1,500 cap, to individuals who voluntarily purchase water conserving hardware such as efficient faucets and toilets. Any components with the EPA’s WaterSense label will qualify for the tax credit under the proposed legislation. Products with the Water Sense label are generally 20 percent more efficient than the market average.

“Colorado will require an additional 630,000 acre feet of water by year 2030 to meet projected needs. The Water Conservation Act will help meet this demand by helping individuals and businesses conserve water,” he said.

EPA estimates that if a family of four installs WaterSense faucets and toilets, they could save 17,000 gallons of water each year.