WaterSense Releases Final Single-Family New Home Specification
-Statement from the Irrigation Association-
January 21, 2010
On December 10, 2009, the U.S. EPA released its final specification relating to the voluntary single-family new homes WaterSense labeling program. Over the past two years, the Irrigation Association has engaged the WaterSense program leadership, advocating for the development of a science-based new home specification that promotes the joint IA and WaterSense goal of increasing water-use efficiency in the marketplace.
The Irrigation Association welcomes and supports the positive changes made in the final specification. For example, the specification now includes a more realistic .65 distribution uniformity audit requirement (changed from .70), a requirement to have WaterSense certified professionals design or install and audit the irrigation system, and an allowance for turfgrass (in addition to other vegetation) on slopes in excess of four feet of horizontal run per one foot vertical rise. However, the IA still believes the prescriptive elements of the final specification, such as the 40 percent turf limitation, should be removed, as they are not based on sound science.
The Irrigation Association is committed to helping members who are WaterSense irrigation partners take advantage of the business opportunities associated with the WaterSense single-family new home program, including the development of programs to educate and assist the irrigation and homebuilding industries on the specifics for meeting the irrigation requirements of the specification. The IA also plans to work with WaterSense partners and the WaterSense program staff to promote the use of "Option 1," the water budget calculator, as the preferred approach to landscape design.
The Irrigation Association also remains committed to developing new tools, innovating new products and advancing best management practices relating to the promotion of efficient irrigation. The IA will continue a healthy dialogue with WaterSense program leadership to ensure that these efforts and developments are adopted by WaterSense during future iterations of the single-family new home specification.
Finally, the Irrigation Association appreciates the work of WaterSense staff and affected stakeholders that went into the final development of the specification and looks forward to promoting the use of efficient irrigation through all of the WaterSense labeling programs, including irrigation professionals, irrigation products and single-family new homes. The IA encourages feedback, both positive and negative experiences, from irrigation professionals participating in the WaterSense single-family new home program. Feedback can be sent to IA's Federal Affairs Director John Farner at [email protected].