PMI calls for more consumer choice on water efficiency

The Plumbing Manufacturers Institute has adopted a new position statement advocating the efficient use of water while also maximizing consumer choice on water-saving products.

Rolling Meadows, Ill. — The Plumbing Manufacturers Institute has adopted a new position statement advocating the efficient use of water while also maximizing consumer choice on water-saving products. The new statement noted, “We believe that these two objectives are not mutually exclusive and can be achieved simultaneously.”

PMI Executive Director Barbara C. Higgens said PMI believes that responsible water use begins with awareness and education, which put consumers in a better position to make personal decisions and trade-offs.

Higgens said PMI believes that consumers should be allowed to make their own decisions on how to use water rather than banning or restricting certain types of plumbing fittings and fixtures. The result would be a whole-building approach to water use that would allow occupants to decide how they could meet a water budget. What exactly that water budget would be for a structure is undetermined. PMI has been discussing the issue with the Chicago-based Alliance for Water Efficiency.

“Water efficiency is best achieved by pursuing the overall goal of water savings as a society, but not by dictating how the savings are to be achieved,” Higgens remarked. “Every circumstance is different, and PMI believes that providing end users with flexibility to make their own decisions is the best way to move the marketplace towards true water savings.”

Higgens added that allowing manufacturers and designers the freedom to innovate “in both form and function” results in better solutions that do not require great sacrifice to save water.

“It was the freedom to innovate that led to the current generation of top-performing toilets that actually exceed the federal standard of 1.6-gpf, saving 20% or more on water use without sacrificing performance,” Higgens noted.

These new high-efficiency toilets work so well at saving water and meeting consumer performance standards that PMI successfully led the effort to pass legislation in California and Texas, calling for all newly installed toilets to be HETs.

“Just as PMI believes in its members' abilities to innovate our way to water-savings, we also believe that the American consumer can be our strategic partner in this efficiency effort,” Higgens commented. “Educate consumers on our society's water predicament. Then give them an array of options, backed by a pricing system that reflects water's true market value. Do all these things in a proper and above-board manner, and we at PMI have faith that most American consumers will make the right choices to save enough water to make a difference everywhere without lessening our quality of life.”

The full text of the position paper is available at www.SafePlumbing.org.

The Plumbing Manufacturers Institute is the voluntary, not-for-profit international trade association of manufacturers of plumbing products, serving as the “Voice of the Plumbing Industry.” Member-companies produce a substantial quantity of the nation's plumbing products.

Additional information is available at www.pmihome.org.