New Standards Make Big Splash in Water Savings

Californians use about 443 billion gallons of water a year to flush toilets and urinals, and run faucets. But with the state in a multi-year drought, changes were approved last year to save billions of gallons of water from going down the drain.

In 2015, the California Energy Commission adopted water efficiency standards requiring toilets, urinals, faucets, and showerheads to consume less water – more than 14.2 billion gallons in the first year and 150 billion gallons after all existing fixtures are replaced.

The standards for bathroom faucets and showerheads go into effect July 1, 2016. Although inventories of existing stock can continue to be sold after that date, products manufactured after June 30, 2016 must meet the following standards:
  • Showerhead flow rates move from 2.5 gallons per minute to 2.0 gallons per minute. This applies to fixed and handheld showerheads and horizontal body sprayers. It changes to 1.8 gallons per minute maximum flow rate July 1, 2018 making it the most stringent showerhead standard in the country.
  • Lavatory faucets cannot exceed a flow rate of 1.2 gallons per minute.
Manufacturers are responsible for testing and certifying all models to be sold in California. In addition, they must update the Energy Commission’s Modernized Appliance Efficiency Database to reflect what appliances meet the standard and are eligible for sale. Retailers are responsible for verifying that the appliances they sell appear in the Energy Commission’s Appliance Efficiency Database.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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