The WaterSense Logo will help consumers identify water-efficient products.
On June 12, 2006, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen Johnson announced the launch of WaterSense, EPA’s new water efficiency program, noting that the program’s aim is “spreading the ethic of water efficiency and promoting the tools to make wise water choices.” Like EPA’s successful Energy Star™ program for energy-efficient devices, WaterSense seeks to educate consumers through an easily identifiable label. The program also features a website that contains information about water conservation as well as about specific products that meet WaterSense standards. According to a recent EPA press release, the average American household could save 30,000 gallons (110,000 l) of water annually by adopting water-efficient practices and products.
In order to obtain a WaterSense label, a product must be independently tested to ensure that it meets EPA standards, which are currently being drafted. A preliminary version of the EPA standards for toilets is available on the website. These standards, based largely on the Uniform North American Requirements (UNAR) for Toilet Fixtures (see
Vol. 15, No. 2
), specify a maximum water use of 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf; 4.8 lpf) and the ability to successfully flush at least 350 grams of test media. The testing will be performed at laboratories certified by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and will follow the Maximum Performance (MaP™) test protocol created by a collaboration of American and Canadian water utilities. According to EPA, 8.8% of toilet models currently on the market meet the WaterSense standards, and many of those fall in the lower to middle price range.