For those of you who don’t know, this week kicks off with World Water Day, an international day of observance designed to ready awareness of the world’s water crisis and to focus on the water quality, supply, and demand solutions that are available locally and around the world. As we’ve discussed many times before, for many developed countries, it’s water use (and misuse) that poses the biggest threat to our water resources.
These challenges manifest themselves in a variety of ways, including aging infrastructure, depleted groundwater supplies, and inefficient water resource management and unaccounted for water. California and Texas have taken the lead by enacting high-efficiency plumbing standards, including the requirement that all toilets sold or installed be high-efficiency fixtures (1.28 gallons or less) that comply with the EPA’s WaterSense program.
Last week, Georgia became the third state to enact a set of water efficiency standards. The law, which goes beyond the mere high-efficiency toilet, requires that high-efficiency standards be enacted (and enforced) for toilets, faucets, urinals, and cooling towers, as well as “standardized water loss reporting by public water utilities, metering of multi-family, commercial and industrial construction, and a statewide outdoor watering schedule.” In another bold move, Georgia’s law requires compliance two years earlier than California and Texas, with a due date of July 2012 for all components of the bill. Finally, by enacting this new water efficiency bill, Georgia had become the first state to require submetering of multi-unit residential, commercial, and industrial buildings.
So what do you think? Is it only a matter of time before other utilities follow suit? By including the WaterSense standards into the language of these bills, has the EPA’s program begun to establish itself as an industry standard? And how easy will it be to garner public support for these requirements while at the same developing a feasible enforcement procedure?