FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA (Sept. 16, 2016) — Congress is now one step closer to authorizing the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program. The Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 in a 94 – 3 vote Thursday. This measure includes language to authorize WaterSense as a voluntary program that encourages consumers to use water-efficient services and products, including efficient irrigation technologies. The House is now looking to bring their version of WRDA to the floor next week, and is expected to include WaterSense authorization language in this bill.
WRDA is the second piece of moving legislation to authorize WaterSense this year. Congressional authorization is also included in each chamber’s respective energy modernization bills. With a 31-member House-Senate conference committee currently working on finalizing an energy reform bill and with the movement of WRDA, this could finally be the year for Congress to authorize the WaterSense program.
“The Irrigation Association is pleased to see the inclusion of WaterSense authorization in another piece of legislation,” said IA Government and Public Affairs Director John Farner. “As a long-time WaterSense partner, we have seen firsthand how effectively the program raises awareness about the importance of water efficiency and increases the adoption of water-efficient technologies and practices.”
IA has long championed congressional authorization of WaterSense. The program currently receives operating funds through the EPA’s discretionary budget. Authorization would allow for greater permanency of the already successful program and the possibility of a direct funding stream in the future.
About the Irrigation Association
The Irrigation Association is the leading membership organization for irrigation companies and professionals. The IA is committed to promoting efficient irrigation and to long-term sustainability of water resources for future generations. IA works to improve industry proficiency, advocate sound water management and grow demand for water-efficient products and services. For more information, visit www.irrigation.org.
WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeks to protect the future of the nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes and services. Since the program’s inception in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save 1.5 trillion gallons of water and $32.6 billion in water and energy bills. For more information, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.