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Happy Birthday, WaterSense!

2011 June 17

By Stephanie Thornton & Virginia D. Lee

It’s hard to believe, but it was five years ago—June 12, 2006—that we stood with our colleagues along the San Antonio River Walk in the sweltering Texas heat to watch the EPA Administrator announce the creation of WaterSense. With water shortages becoming increasingly common nationwide, the program was initiated with one simple goal in mind: to help Americans save water.

That day’s announcement was the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of very dedicated people, both inside EPA and from outside organizations. Yet, it was only the beginning. Five years later, consumers can now walk into their local home improvement or hardware store and find the WaterSense label on a wide array of toilets, faucets, and showerheads.  Certified WaterSense irrigation partners can be found nationwide to install, maintain, and audit household sprinkler systems. The first new homes to earn the WaterSense label are welcoming families in states across the country, including California, Texas, and Virginia. WaterSense has also moved beyond the home, with the label soon to be appearing on or already on several commercial and institutional products.  And, most recently, our neighbors to the north have formally partnered with the WaterSense program—so we’re helping Americans and Canadians save water!

We love our jobs because we get to see the results of our work every time we walk into a home improvement store or when we read about activities carried out by our program partners. With the help of the public and our 2,300 partners, WaterSense is looking forward to many more years of saving water for future generations, and we are excited to see what’s in store next. Visit the WaterSense website to get more information on what you can do to save water around your home and to take the I’m for Water pledge.

About the authors: Stephanie Thornton has been with EPA since 2002, and joined WaterSense in 2006, just prior to the program’s official inception.

Virginia D. Lee has worked for EPA for 10 years and joined the WaterSense team in 2005.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. Alan Greenberg permalink
    June 17, 2011

    I’m surprised that the WaterSense website does not highlight raingardens for the home. The Michigan State Extension Service has a beautiful raingarden on display at its Tollgate facility in Novi, Michigan. Properly installed, raingardens intercept water runoff from driveways, downspouts, and elsewhere on the property before a sewer grate or water body. When in DC visiting in the spring of 2010, I saw a raingarden on display in front of EPA’s headquarters. A raingarden can have beautiful plants and flowers while also reducing pollution in our surface waters.

  2. Stephanie Thornton permalink
    June 21, 2011

    Rain gardens serve a very important function in preventing stormwater from entering the municipal sewer system. Some information on this topic is available on the WaterSense site (

    EPA’s Green Infrastructure site ( has even more comprehensive information on a wide variety of mitigation techniques, including the use of rain gardens.

  3. Alan Greenberg permalink
    June 24, 2011

    The link you provided for the WaterSense site does not work; the link to the EPA Green Infrastructure site does work and the information there on raingardens is excellent.

  4. shirya permalink
    June 29, 2011

    this is funtastic

  5. permalink
    September 15, 2011

    Interesting article, nice to read. Thank you for your comments and thoughts…

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