Rebates for water-efficient plumbing will save significant water in California, PMI says

Rolling Meadows, Ill. –Recognizing the severity of the California drought and the call to action it demands, Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) announced today its support of Governor Jerry Brown’s call for a statewide rebate program encouraging the purchase of water-efficient plumbing products, such as toilets, showerheads and faucets, to replace older ones.

“In California, the future is now – a time when steps to sustain an ever-precious resource must be taken,” said PMI Executive Director and CEO Barbara C. Higgens, who will be a part of a panel presentation on “The Future of Water” at an April 13 Water Week event in Washington, D.C. “As good stewards of the environment, PMI wants the public to know that using water-efficient plumbing products is an immediate action that can be taken to save water.

There have been tremendous advancements in the technology and efficacy of plumbing products. Just as you wouldn’t use a 25-year-old cell phone, it doesn’t make sense to use 25-year-old plumbing technology.” PMI has long encouraged the replacement, or retrofitting, of older fixtures with WaterSense toilets, showerheads and faucets meeting Environmental Protection Agency criteria. Widely available in stores throughout California and the nation, WaterSense products can save up to 360 million gallons of water per day in California alone, according to a PMI estimate. PMI and its member companies – which produce most of the plumbing products in the United States – participate as partners in the WaterSense program.

“Using WaterSense products is common sense,” Higgens said. To earn the WaterSense label, plumbing products are independently tested and certified as using at least 20 percent less water than federal requirements while meeting performance standards. Available at a wide variety of price points and in a broad range of styles, these water-efficient products are now required by the California Building Code in new construction and renovations. “A statewide rebate program will further water savings by encouraging comprehensive and timely retrofitting of older products in existing buildings,” Higgens said.

She said her organization looks forward to working with the Governor’s Office, the California Energy Commission and elected and regulatory officials to accomplish further water conservation while assuring public health and safety, product performance and consumer satisfaction. PMI has a history of active engagement and support for California legislative and regulatory efforts to accomplish increased water efficiencies: PMI was instrumental in the creation and promulgation of the provisions within AB 715 (Laird, Chapter 499, Statutes of 2007) to reduce water consumption of high-efficiency toilets (HET) to 1.28 gallon per flush (gpf) and high efficiency urinals (HEU) to 0.5 gpf. This law set levels of sales for high-efficiency water closets and urinals starting in 2010 and went into full effect for all sales of these products on January 1, 2014. All HETs and HEUs sold in California are required to meet these levels. 


PMI also supported the promulgation of SB 407 (Padilla, Chapter 587, Statutes of 2009), which will require the replacement of plumbing fixtures installed prior to 1994 when new fixtures are installed during new construction or remodeling projects. The older fixtures must be replaced with water-conserving fixtures in single family residences by 2017 and in commercial and multi-family properties by 2019. PMI also worked closely with the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the Building Standards Commission (BSC) to establish water efficiency levels for the 2013 CALGreen section of the California Building Code, which went into effect on January 1, 2014.

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