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PMI’s 2017 Advocacy Focuses on Water Efficiency, Water Infrastructure and Safe Water


March 8, 2017

Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI) is focusing its 2017 advocacy on a series of efforts intended to educate policymakers about the untapped water-saving potential of water-efficient plumbing products, potential threats to safe drinking water, and the need for a restored national water infrastructure.

While communications between PMI and policymakers about these issues are ongoing, CEOs and other top executives from PMI member companies will meet with legislative leaders during PMI’s Executive Forums and Fly-Ins planned for June 13-14 in Sacramento, Calif., and late summer or fall in Washington, D.C. In addition, PMI CEO/Executive Director Barbara C. Higgens is available for background or comment on any of the following issues:

Untapped water-saving potential of water-efficient plumbing products

PMI and the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) have a study in progress to determine potential water savings that could be achieved by replacing older, inefficient toilets with water-efficient models. With results due in spring 2017, the “Saturation Study of Non-Efficient Water Closets in Key States” is focused on Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia and Texas – all states that have experienced serious water shortages. This research follows up a 2015 PMI/GMP Research, Inc., study of water-efficient toilets, showerheads and faucets installed nationwide.

Potential threats to safe drinking water

Another PMI study, now in progress under the direction of Dr. Paul Sturman of Montana State University, will test the hypothesis that low flow rates yield a greater proliferation of opportunistic waterborne pathogens, such as legionella, in potable water and create unsafe conditions. The results of this study also are expected this spring.

PMI is also awaiting with interest the results of a Virginia Tech study under the direction of Drs. Amy Pruden and Marc Edwards that is exploring the relative abundance and diversity of antibiotic-resistant genes and pathogens in reclaimed (recycled) versus potable water distribution systems. With results due in spring 2017, this study is particularly relevant given plans in California to expand the installation of recycled water systems that use non-potable water in toilets and urinals and with personal hygiene devices (bidet seats) installed by consumers after construction. Virginia Tech researchers also recently released the results of a study concluding that interrupted corrosion control caused the Flint water crisis.

Need for a restored national water infrastructure

With an aging underground water infrastructure having been identified as a contributor to lead-in-water crises in Flint, Mich. and other locations, Congressional leaders from both parties have expressed interest in developing job-creating legislation that would restore American infrastructure. PMI will be urging Congress to address water infrastructural concerns through this legislation. Last summer, PMI introduced its water infrastructure advocacy through a position paper and infographic.