WaterSense has several partnership types, each with different eligibility requirements. Unsure which partnership type you might fit into? Visit WaterSense Partner Types for more information on the different partner types.
Home builders can join WaterSense if they construct or plan to construct new homes in accordance with the WaterSense New Home Specification. Builder partners must also promote WaterSense labeled products and WaterSense labeled homes to customers, and provide other support as specified in the New Homes Certification System. To be eligible for partnership, the builder must commit to build at least one home that is certified to conform to the WaterSense New Home Specification within 12 months of execution of the partnership agreement and at least one new home every year thereafter.
Certified Irrigation Professionals
Landscape irrigation professionals can become WaterSense partners when they are certified through a WaterSense labeled certification program. Individuals must agree to promote water efficiency to customers and provide water-efficient services to customers. To be eligible for partnership, the certified professional must provide service to at least one customer in the United States or Canada. At present, irrigation partners are the only type of certified professional covered under the WaterSense program.
To be eligible for WaterSense partnership, individuals must submit proof of up-to-date certification through one of the certifying programs below:
- Irrigation Association: Certified Irrigation Designer (landscape/turf specialties only), Certified Irrigation Contractor, Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor or Certified Golf Irrigation Auditor: Certificate dated 2013 forward or current renewal card.
- Sonoma Marin Saving Water Partnership's Qualified Water Efficient Landscaper: Certificate dated January 2012 forward or prior certificate plus renewal.
- Rain Bird Certified Residential and Light Commercial Installer: Certificate dated January 2012 forward.
- California Landscape Contractor Association's Certified Water Management Program: Certificate or renewal accompanied by proof of fulfillment of water audit requirement.
- Submit WaterSense partnership agreement to CLCA. CLCA will provide proof of certification to WaterSense.
- For information, contact CLCA at (916) 830-2780 x24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- New Jersey Landscape Irrigation Contractor Examining Board Certification Program: No new partners being accepted until Amendments to the Landscape Irrigation Contractor Certification Act of 1991 (P.L. 2009, c. 229) are instituted.
- Texas A&M AgrilLife Extension Service, Irrigation Technology Program's Certified Texas Landscape Irrigation Auditor Program: Certificate issued within the past two years.
Licensed Certification Providers
Organizations that commit to hire or contract with water-efficiency inspectors can partner with WaterSense. Licensed certification providers are also approved to train inspectors, oversee new home inspections, and issue certification decisions for inspected homes in the United States in accordance with the WaterSense New Home Certification System. The certification provider must signify such commitment by signing a licensing agreement and a WaterSense partnership agreement with EPA and must be approved by a program administrator.
In order to join WaterSense, a quality assurance designee from the organization's staff must attend a certification provider training session conducted either by EPA or a WaterSense new homes program administrator. Contact a WaterSense new homes program administrator to find out about the next training opportunity. The organization is eligible to become a partner once it has documentation of program administrator approval.
Upon issuance of specifications for new product categories, EPA will announce a timeline for organizations that produce products in those categories to join as partners. This timeline may be released with the draft or final specification depending on the product category. All manufacturing partners must:
- Manufacture at least one WaterSense labeled product that will be sold in the United States or Canada within 12 months of execution of a partnership agreement.
- Abide by the WaterSense Program Mark Guidelines. Specifically, all manufacturer partners must include the WaterSense label on product packaging for all products certified to meet a WaterSense specification unless the packaging is too small. Manufacturer partners must also display the WaterSense label in association with any labeled product listed on the organization's website or other promotional materials.
- Manufacturers of component parts of a labeled product category are not eligible to become WaterSense partners at this time.
- Why Isn't My Product Listed?
Professional Certifying Organizations
Organizations that have a certification program in the United States for landscape irrigation professionals in irrigation system design, installation/maintenance, or auditing can apply for the WaterSense label. Certifying organizations must offer a certification program that meets or exceeds the specifications set by EPA, including criteria such as the need for independent oversight, experience requirements, examinations, and a focus on water efficiency as a key component.
Interested certifying organizations should first submit a notification of interest in developing an application for the WaterSense label. This form lets WaterSense know your organization is developing an application for the WaterSense label. WaterSense will contact your organization to learn more about the program and provide feedback.
Then, the organization can complete and submit an application for the WaterSense label:
- EPA's WaterSense Labeled Program Application Form for Professional Certifying Organizations (writeable PDF) (5 pp, 310K, About PDF)
Once the program has received the label, the organization is eligible to become a WaterSense partner.
Promotional partners assist EPA in educating others about the value of water, water efficiency, and the WaterSense brand. Organizations are prohibited from earning a profit from the use of WaterSense program tools and materials. To be eligible to become WaterSense partners, organizations must educate or work with consumers or organizations located in the United States and Canada.
These partners fall into one or more of the following organization types:
- Nonprofit Organizations: Examples include environmental organizations, nonprofit certifying organizations, and consumer advocacy groups.
- Professional and Trade Associations: Associations whose members are eligible to join as a WaterSense partner may also join as promotional partners. For example, because water utilities are eligible for partnership, the American Water Works Association, whose membership includes several thousand utilities, is also eligible. Home builder associations and trade associations that promote water-efficient products and practices to commercial and institutional facilities, such as green hotel or restaurant networks, are also eligible to partner with WaterSense.
- Utilities/Water Districts/Government Agencies: Environmental departments, municipal programs, water agencies, water districts, wholesalers, public utilities, private utilities, wastewater treatment facilities, water boards, and public utility commissions of federal, state, provincial, and local agencies.
Retail and Distributors
Upon issuance of specifications for new product categories, EPA will announce a timeline for organizations that sell products in those categories to join as partners. This timeline may be released with the draft or final specification depending on the product category. All retailer and distributor partners must:
- Sell, market, and encourage the use of WaterSense labeled products to customers in the United States or Canada within 12 months of execution of a partnership agreement.
- Sell products without requiring installation or consulting services. Types of eligible organizations include, but are not limited to, home improvement stores, hardware stores, appliance retailers and distributors, plumbing supply houses, decorator showrooms/specialty stores, and commercial irrigation distributors.
- Retailers or distributors wishing to sell WaterSense labeled products under their own brand (private labeled products) agree to work with the manufacturer(s) of any labeled products to ensure that both the retailer/distributor's and the manufacturer's information are included in the WaterSense certification file and that the WaterSense Program Mark Guidelines are followed.
- Why Isn't My Product Listed?
In the future, EPA may invite additional types of organizations and individuals to partner with the WaterSense program. The following types of entities are ineligible for participation as partners until EPA establishes a formal role for these new types of partners:
- Home inspectors
- Commercial, institutional, and industrial facility owners and operators
In the interim, EPA encourages ineligible stakeholders to sign up to receive the WaterSense Current newsletter, participate in the specification development process, and/or contact the WaterSense Helpline at email@example.com or (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) to discuss other ways they would like to collaborate with EPA on water efficiency.