Soon, you will be seeing new labels to on sink faucets that designate them as water-efficient. The Environmental Protection Agency
announced on Monday its new WaterSense program for bathroom sink fixtures. Faucets that will be eligible for the stickers have to use 30 percent less water than conventional faucets. The WaterSense program has already been in use for water-efficient toilets.
Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin Grumbles said in the press release that the “EPA’s WaterSense program just made it easier for consumers and communities to save money, energy, and water one tap at a time. Water efficiency is the wave of the future and WaterSense bathroom faucets will turn a trickle into a stream of savings without sacrificing performance.” Faucets will be tested and certified by an independent group in order to be able to use the WaterSense label. In order to be labeled, the faucet must meet certain criteria. The faucet must not flow at a rate of more than one and a half gallons per minute (gpm) and no less than 0.8 gpm. Faucet accessories such as aerators can also qualify for the new label. The EPA determined that the 1.5 to0.8 gpm rate is low enough to save water without sacrificing quality of water flow.
In addition to saving water, the WaterSense flow rates will also save energy that is needed to treat, pump and heat the water used in homes. Bathrooms are the largest use of water in American homes, accounting for half of all indoor water use. Installing a WaterSense toilet and faucet will mean a household can save 11,000 gallons a year.
The EPA launched the WaterSense program in 2006. In addition to toilets, the program also certifies Irrigation Designers, Irrigation Contractors, Golf Irrigation Auditors, and Landscape Irrigation Auditors. The EPA is currently developing guidelines in order to extend the WaterSense program to showerheads as well. Programs such as WaterSense are necessary to ensure that the US will have an adequate water supply, especially in states such as Nevada and Arizona where the population is expected to increase further pushing up the need for water in the mostly-desert states.
WaterSense was developed in partnership with manufacturers, distributors and retailers, as well as public utilities to develop brand recognition and offer consumers and builders the option to purchase and install more efficient fixtures. The EPA estimates that the average American home spends over $500 a year in water and sewage services, and that by installing high-performance, water-efficient fixtures could mean a savings of $170 a year on those bills. Using less water will also help maintain underground water levels, which can prevent contamination in ground water sources.