AWWA has collaborated on three letters to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt urging that funding be continued for the WaterSense conservation program. The WaterSense program, which creates voluntary water-saving standards for many water-consuming products and for irrigation, could be targeted for elimination of funding in fiscal year 2018, which begins in October.
Recognizing WaterSense-rated products form a vital part of many water utility conservation programs, AWWA collaborated with other groups on the letters. The president’s FY18 budget blueprint does not specifically mention WaterSense, and the program does not have congressional authorization, meaning that it is funded from EPA discretionary funds. Those funds are proposed to be substantially curtailed in the budget outline.
Because of proposed cuts to Energy Star and other voluntary programs, we believe that the budget’s intent is to eliminate funding for WaterSense. Although the president’s proposed budget is not expected to pass, it is the opening position in a series of negotiations.
One coalition letter was led by product manufacturers and was focused on the business benefits of WaterSense. The another coalition letter by the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) is focused on the water-saving and customer-cost savings of WaterSense products. AWE led a second coalition letter to urge continued funding for the successful WaterSense program, not only for fiscal year 2018, but for FY2019 as well.
Water Conservation Division Committees:
This utility management standard describes the critical elements of establishing, implementing, and evaluating an effective water conservation program. It encompasses utility activities to improve water use on the supply side through distribution system management and on the demand side through customer billing and education practices. A conservation program using this standard has the potential to impact all water users.
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