I am a firm believer in the power of networking. Leveraging the relationships we have built is a key component of Plumbing Manufacturers International’s success. Domestically and internationally, we have established valuable links with like-minded organizations in order to amplify PMI’s voice. We have, in fact, also reached out to groups that, on the surface at least, do not appear to be like-minded at all.

As a consensus-based organization, PMI’s goal is to put differences aside with the aim to find even the slightest of common denominators. There is generally some point on which we can agree, no matter how minute. We then build from that starting point to see how far we can go.

That is the notion of our efforts this past April on Capitol Hill as we met with policy makers and such groups as the water utilities, the restaurant association and the hotel association.

I also carried PMI’s message to the third annual meeting of the Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition (PILC) held April 22 prior to the International Emerging Technology Symposium (IETS). Maximizing water efficiency will be one of the major issues addressed at our annual Fall Conference to be held Oct. 27-30, 2014 in Rosemont, Ill.

By sharing the responsibility for water efficiency with all stakeholders, including consumers, the focus on how to achieve maximum water savings, the action steps become clear. Real and immediate water savings can be achieved now, easily and painlessly, by simply retrofitting inefficiency “legacy” products that have been in the field for upwards of 30 years.

Only drips will be saved by focusing on moving to ever-lower flow rates in some future iteration of our products. The greatest potential and “biggest bang for the buck” is in replacing products that perform at pre-Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct ’92) rates.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has blessed PMI’s calculation of estimated savings of three billion gallons of water per day through retrofits… and in fact calls the number conservative. Think about that — three billion gallons of water per day, saved by simply replacing old products with efficient and effective ones.

Why is it that while folks regularly stand in line for the latest tweak to their smart phone or tablet, they let decades roll by with little thought to upgrading the products in their homes to the latest in plumbing technology? How do we capture the hearts, imagination and passion of consumers when it comes to plumbing products?

PMI along with our membership is tackling this mighty task using all of the communication tools and social media at our disposal. While we work to preserve the sanctity of consumer choice in America, in areas where water is scarce, we have worked to promote the mandate of WaterSense-rated products; first California, then Texas and now Colorado. In addition, we have targeted messaging to the 12 top drought areas of the USA to encourage retrofits.