Monday, January 16, 2017


Low-Flow Toilets to Become Law:  

On Jan. 1, 2017 homeowners of single-family properties across the state will be required to install water-conserving plumbing fixtures (WCP fixtures) if the property was built before 1994. This is not a point of sale requirement. It is simply required by virtue of owning a home.  In other words, if you own a home, the installation of WCP fixtures will be required-regardless of whether you are selling your home or not (California Civil Code §1101.1 through §1101.9). If you would like to contact a plumber, we have several that we work with regularly and are happy to put you in touch.  For more information, visit our blog ( 

If you own a single-family home built before 1994, what fixtures must be installed?

The law calls for installation of WCP fixtures when the existing plumbing fixtures use more than the following amounts of water: ( 1 ) Any toilet manufactured to use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush.

(2) Any urinal manufactured to use more than one gallon of water per flush.

(3) Any showerhead manufactured to have a flow capacity of more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute.

(4) Any interior faucet that emits more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute.

Can an owner comply by pulling a brick in the toilet tank?

No. The law bases compliance on whether a toilet is manufaclured to use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush, regardless of the amount of water actually used. Therefore, displacing water in the tank with bricks, bottles or the installation adjustment of flush valves will not put you in compliance with this law, even though you might be saving just as much water.

Are Local Ordinance Retrofit Laws Still in Force?

Although the WCP fixture law does not create a point-of-sale requirement, many localities have their own water-conserving plumbing fixture laws which do in fact create point-of-sale requirements. It appears that the intent of the WCP fixture law was to grandfather in these local ordinances even though they might have less stringent standards than the state law as long as they were in effect before July 1, 2009.

For example, pursuant to a law that became effective in 2000, the city of San Diego requires the seller to certify as a condition of sale that the plumbing fixtures are in compliance with its local law. This ordinance applies to all buildings that receive water service from the city of San Diego, not just single-family properties. However, the San Diego ordinance also allows that toilets with a capacity of 3.5 gallons per flush or less need not be retrofitted. Even though this is a less stringent requirement than the state law, it is grandfathered in.

Lastly, cities and counties are free to enact local ordinances establishing or promoting policies that result in a greater amount of water savings than the state law, and those local ordinances will not be superseded by this state law.

Courtesy:  Robert Bloom, Esq., Counsel with C. A.R.’s Member Legal Services

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