California will soon have toughest shower head requirements in nation


The flow of water from shower heads and bathroom faucets in California will be sharply reduced under strict new limits approved Wednesday by the state Energy Commission. Current rules, established in 1994 at the federal level, allow a maximum flow of 2.5 gallons per minute from a shower head.

Effective next July, the limit will fall to 2.0 gallons per minute and will be reduced again in July 2018, to 1.8 gallons, giving California the toughest standard of any U.S. state.

fter a full turnover of shower head and faucet stocks by 2029, the regulations are expected to save 38 billion gallons of water, 20.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 1,322 gigawatt hours of electricity each year, according to the commission.

Also effective next July, residential bathroom faucets will have a maximum flow rate of 1.2 gallons per minute, down from 2.2 gallons per minute. The standards will save about 154 billion gallons of water in the next 10 years, the commission estimates.

“I just want to point out this is pretty huge,” Commissioner Andrew McAllister said at Wednesday’s commission meeting in Sacramento.

Faucets and shower heads currently count for about a third of all indoor residential water use, said Kristen Driskell, supervisor of the appliances program at the Energy Commission.

Thirty-one percent of showerhead models on the market currently meet the upcoming 2.0-gallon standard, which is known as Tier 1, Driskell said.

The 2.0-gallon limit for showerheads was adopted by the city of Los Angeles in 2009. New York City adopted the same standard in 2010.