The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Assistant Administrator for Water, G. Tracy Mehan, III, announced today that the agency is planning a national program to promote water-efficient products to consumers.
"Water is one of our nation's most precious national resources wise water use is something all Americans can put into practice to help protect the quality and quantity of our country's water supply," said Mehan. "Together with our partners in the public and private sectors we will strive to build a national voluntary market-based program for promoting water efficient products."
Water-efficient products meeting current standards can reduce home water use up to 30 percent and many products on the market today exceed those standards. Water-efficient products for commercial use can save up to 20 percent, and opportunities exist in the industrial sector as well.
However, there is not a national, easy-to-use guide to how consumers can locate and purchase these water-efficient products. EPA is evaluating various public information tools to help raise awareness of the importance of water conservation and the growing demands placed on America's water supplies and water infrastructure systems.
One of the tools under consideration is a water-efficient product labeling program based on EPA's successful Energy Star program a government-backed program to protect the environment through maximum energy efficiency.
There is significant support for product labeling from a broad range of stakeholders including water systems, manufacturers, retailers, municipalities, states, water industry organizations and environmental groups.
EPA plans to hold a series of stakeholder meetings, the first one tentatively scheduled for Oct. 9, 2003 in Washington, D.C., to work toward possible approaches and partnership opportunities to promote water efficiency in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.
After gaining stakeholder involvement, EPA will evaluate the best available information to choose and develop the most cost-effective way to achieve the agency's goals of saving water, as well as reducing water and wastewater infrastructure needs nationwide.
Water use has gained national attention with more than 36 states expecting to experience water shortages over the next ten years even without drought conditions.
Efficient water use can have major environmental, public health and economic benefits by helping to improve water quality, maintaining ecosystems and protecting drinking water resources.
If wise water use is put into practice it can help to mitigate the effects of drought and save homeowners money on water and energy bills without compromising convenience or performance.