As stated in its November/ December 2003 newsletter, Plumbing Manufacturers Institute (PMI) Technical Director David Viola reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began a series of stakeholder meetings to research the possibility of a national program to increase water efficiency.

At its first meeting in October, a program was suggested that models the EnergyStar® Program, which may include a product marking scheme to provide consumers with means to identify performance levels of water-saving products.

However, Kathleen Hogan, director of Climate Protection Partnerships Division, who handles the EnergyStar Program for the EPA, cautioned that a national program with a “brand name” could turn away some customers who have had a negative experience with a labeled product.

To avoid possible drawbacks of the initial phase of such a program, EPA staff indicated they would not immediately include residential plumbing products covered by the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

In order to ensure a proper program, Viola encourages stakeholder involvement by attending the scheduled EPA meetings (Jan. 15 in Austin, Texas; mid-February, Phoenix, Ariz.; and mid-March, Seattle, Wash.).

“If done properly, a single national program could serve to consolidate and harmonize the increasing number of conflicting state and local water conservation regulations and initiatives,” Viola reported.