08.21.17

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Water Efficiency

Since 2007, the EPA’s WaterSense program has saved 2.1 trillion gallons of water

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin helped introduce bipartisan legislation, led by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), to increase water efficiency in homes and improve water conservation efforts. The Water Efficiency Improvement Act of 2017 authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense program, a voluntary public-private partnership that has helped transform the market place for water-efficient products and services. Products earn the WaterSense label they use at least 20% less water than standard models.

“WaterSense is a successful, voluntary program has saved consumers millions of dollars and trillions of gallons of water,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our bipartisan legislation would ensure that this program will remain active and continue to benefit consumers. I’m proud to support this effort and Wisconsin’s innovative water technology economy.”    

“Kohler Co. is a strong supporter of the WaterSense program and, since the program was launched a decade ago, has partnered with the EPA to encourage consumers to use more innovative, efficient WaterSense products,” said James (Buddy) Robinson, Senior Vice President-General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Business Development of Kohler Co. “Kohler Co. and our associates in Wisconsin have dedicated many hours and resources to developing the technology required to reduce water and energy consumption of products that have qualified for the WaterSense label. Since Kohler introduced its first WaterSense-labeled products, those products have empowered consumers to reduce water use by more than 110 billion gallons and save more than $1.3 billion in water, sewer and energy costs. The labels make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase products that save water while maintaining the performance excellence and sophisticated design for which Kohler has long been renowned. We have received significant bipartisan support for WaterSense authorization legislation in Congress, including from Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). WaterSense has proven to be a very effective voluntary, private-public partnership, and we believe it should be preserved through a law to ensure the program continues to strengthen the economy, protect water for communities, and help families maximize their budgets, in Wisconsin and throughout the United States.”

“The Green Bay Water Utility, the state’s third largest water utility, is a consistent user of the WaterSense program offered through the Environmental Protection Agency,” said Nancy Quirk, General Manager of Green Bay Water Utility. “We have found WaterSense to be a valuable resource, as the program compiles, vets and shares research and products in the water efficiency field for the benefit of utilities and their customers. We can then relay that reputable information to our customers as part of our effort to educate both wholesale and retail customers on efficient water use. The program provides short-term benefits in water savings but also plays an integral role in establishing consumer behaviors that are integral to long-term sustainability and reduced water consumption in the future.”

The WaterSense program launched in 2006. Since 2007, WaterSense has labeled more than 21,000 home water products models, such as showerheads and flushing toilets. These WaterSense-approved products have helped save 2.1 trillion gallons of water.

In addition to Baldwin, the legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Al Franken (D-MN), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Gary Peters (D-MI), (Rob Portman (R-OH), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The Water Efficiency Improvement Act of 2017 has gained support from businesses and organizations in Wisconsin and across the country including Kohler Co.; Bradley Corp; InSinkErator; LaVelle Industries; Similor AG- SaniMatic; Plumbing Manufacturers International; the Irrigation Association; Alliance for Water Efficiency; U.S. Green Building Council; American Rivers; Clean Water Action; Environment America; Environmental Working Group; League of Conservation Voters; Sierra Club; and Waterkeeper Alliance.