In 1994, the Minneapolis Plumbers Local 15, St. Paul and Mankato Plumbers Local 34, Rochester Local 6 Plumbers and Pipefitters, and Union Contactor Associations wanted to implement a program to raise awareness for all homeowners of the importance of conserving water. After research was conducted, it was found that those homeowners with the largest water bills were the same individuals who could least afford their bills. The Unions and contractors partnered together and developed the Water’s Off Program to help those homeowners in need while also raising awareness of the importance of water conservation attained through proper plumbing maintenance and repair.
Volunteers from St. Paul and Mankato Local 34, Minneapolis Plumbers Local 15, and Rochester Plumbers Local 6 donate their time one Saturday morning each spring to provide the labor. Union contractors from the Minnesota Mechanical Contractors and the Metro Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Associations provide the use of their vehicles, gas, tools, and parts. There is no cost to the homeowners.
Water’s Off aims to reduce the unnecessary use of water through maintaining and repairing faulty plumbing in homes. Water is our states most vital natural resource and we must do everything possible to sustain it. Proper maintenance and repair of home plumbing systems helps preserve water and keeps water bills affordable for homeowners.
Water’s Off partners with the Ramsey Washington and Suburban Hennepin Community Action Program (CAP), Three Rivers Community Action, and Minnesota Valley Action Council to develop a list of low-income seniors and disabled homeowners who are in need of plumbing repairs. The union plumbers’ locals then assign volunteers to each home to assist with plumbing needs on the day of the Water’s Off event.
On average, 130 volunteers participate and about 100 homes are serviced throughout the state on Water’s Off day with an estimated value of $62,000 donated including equipment and labor.