NACWA joined with a coalition of water groups last week to send letters to Congress supporting authorization for EPA’s WaterSense program while also ensuring water quality is protected. WaterSense is a voluntary program which encourages the use of water efficient products, such as faucets, showerheads, and other items. According to a recent report released by the EPA, the program has “saved over 1.5 trillion gallons of water” since its inception in 2006.
However, NACWA members have raised concerns that certain products aimed at reducing water consumption may also impact water quality, and a WaterSense label for such products would encourage their use. For example, self-regenerating water softeners, once under consideration for WaterSense, discharge a salty brine which interferes with the wastewater treatment process.
As described in letters to Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), it is important to include language in any WaterSense authorization specifying that WaterSense products should minimize unintended or negative impacts to wastewater treatment works, recycled water quality, or water quality in receiving waters. The associations signing onto these letters have worked with these offices on language to this effect, and the preferred language was included in WaterSense reauthorization introduced this Congress by Senators Murkowski and Udall. But another bill this Congress that includes WaterSense reauthorization, the Clean Safe Reliable Water Infrastructure Act (S. 1137), does not include this language and so a separate coalition letter requests that amendment.
NACWA will continue working with Congress toward ensuring that any WaterSense authorization that advances this Congress protects water quality. If you have any questions, please contact NACWA’s Legislative Director, Kristina Surfus.