Urgent Legislative Update

Senate Bill Provides Important Funding Mechanism for Water Conservation Efforts Nationwide

2010-07-29

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, has rolled out the Senate's Energy Bill, the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Accountability Act of 2010. Division C of the bill, the Clean Energy Jobs and Consumer Savings Act, establishes the Home Star Retrofit Act to both improve residential energy and water efficiency and create jobs.  The bill provides an all important funding mechanism for water conservation efforts nationwide and, for the first time in history, prominently places water efficiency incentives side-by-side with energy efficiency incentives in legislation.

Home Star, co-sponsored by Senators Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, and Lindsey Graham, R-SC, now moves to the Senate floor for consideration as part of the Energy Bill with a WaterSense retrofit rebate program included thanks to the efforts of Senators Harry Reid, D-NV, Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, Ron Wyden, D-OR, and Mark Udall, D-CO.

A sampling of current water efficiency provisions in the Home Star bill include:

  Silver Star Section

  • Homeowners that purchase at least $300 in WaterSense products can receive a $150 rebate
  • Eligible products and services include: showerheads, toilets, faucets, and outdoor irrigation retrofit services

  Gold Star Section

  • Homeowners receive a $500 rebate for a 20% reduction in potable water use
  • DOE develops a methodology to measure whole-home water savings within 6 months

  Financing

  • Grants to states and municipalities can also be used towards local water programs

  Authorization of Funds

  • Total authorization $5 billion
  • No cap on the amount of money that goes to WaterSense rebates

Links to both the bill and a section-by-section summary are below.  Please refer to Division C of the bill for the Home Star language.      

Contact your Senators TODAY to recommend their support of the Home Star language containing WaterSense retrofit incentives as part of the Senate Energy Bill.  Letters to your Senators supporting this measure are urgently needed now.  Call on Congress to pass this bill.