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Bill Would Require Efficient Toilets And Faucets In Arizona

A bill with bipartisan sponsorship in the Arizona Legislature would require new toilets, shower heads and faucets to use less water. That would include any plumbing fixture that hardware stores or big box retailers like Home Depot would purchase or sell.

Under the bill, newly-installed toilets could use no more than 1.28 gallons per flush. That’s the level in a federal program called WaterSense. WaterSense fixtures are endorsed by the feds but not required.

“This is really kind of catching up our code with [where] technology’s at today,” said Rep. Kirsten Engel (D-Tucson), one of the bill’s sponsors. “And [hopefully] it’s making people think about what they’re buying.”

An industry-sponsored study last year found Arizona ranked tenth in the nation for the percentage of toilets meeting a WaterSense level of efficiency, and second in faucets and shower heads. The study said the states of Georgia, Texas, California, Colorado, Oregon, and New York State require new construction to install toilets of 1.28 gpf or less. Most of those states also require 1.28 gpf in toilet replacements.

The City of Scottsdale currently requires WaterSense-compatible toilets in new construction.

According to the EPA, homes use the biggest chunk of water outdoors, followed by toilets and then washing machines.

The bill would not apply to fixtures bought before Jan. 1, 2021, giving stores time to sell down their inventory. 

Bret Jaspers was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2017 to 2020.