The Energy Department proposed rolling back three-decade-old efficiency standards for showerheads Wednesday following President Donald Trump’s repeated gripes about subpar water pressure while bathing.
The plan essentially seeks to change the federal definition of a showerhead to allow manufacturers to dramatically increase water use.
Under rules Congress passed in 1992 in response to severe droughts, water flow from an entire showerhead is limited to 2.5 gallons per minute. The proposed change would allow manufacturers to apply that restriction to each nozzle on a showerhead.
The proposal would reverse 2011 guidance from the Department of Energy that determined that when Congress used the term “showerhead,” it “actually meant ‘any showerhead’ ― and that a showerhead with multiple nozzles constitutes a single showerhead for purposes of [the] water conservation standard.”
Conservation advocates called the proposal a “gimmick in search of a problem” and likened the complaint to a 1996 “Seinfeld” episode about low-flow showerheads.
“The new multi-nozzle showerheads would not only needlessly waste water, exacerbating shortages caused by drought, but also boost the carbon pollution that has made long-term droughts worse,” Andrew deLaski, the executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, said in a blog post on Wednesday. “No one benefits from this gimmick.”
Trump has long complained that efficiency standards on showers, toilets and washers make using the devices less satisfying, and last month he vowed to “bring back consumer choice in home appliances.”
“Showerheads — you take a shower, the water doesn’t come out. You want to wash your hands, the water doesn’t come out. So what do you...