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Residential Water Conservation

two victorian style housesSan Franciscans today have some of the lowest water use in California, but with long-term threats posed by climate change, we understand that supporting and developing local, state and national policy and legislation is an effective way to institutionalize water conservation. In recent years, stakeholders and City departments have developed local ordinances that help achieve San Francisco’s conservation goals.

Effective July 1, 2009, two ordinances updated local water efficiency laws for San Francisco properties: the Residential Water Conservation Ordinance and the Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance.

Do the requirements apply to me?

If you are a residential property owner in the process of selling or performing major improvements, then the requirements of the Residential Water Conservation Ordinance apply to you. This law requires that you repair plumbing leaks and install certain water and energy conservation measures to obtain a Certificate of Compliance prior to transfer of title.

SFPUC water conservation technicians can help customers identify plumbing fixtures that do not meet the Water Conservation Ordinance requirements and provide free high-efficiency showerheads when you sign up for a FREE Water-Wise Evaluation.

Residential Water Conservation At a Glance

To conserve water by ensuring efficient plumbing fixtures in residential buildings.

Who Must Comply?
Residential property owners in the process of selling or performing major interior improvements.

Municipal Code
Housing Code, Chapter 12A

Effective Date
July 1, 2009

Housing Inspection Services
49 South Van Ness Ave, 4th Fl (628) 652-3700

How do I comply?

Inefficient plumbing fixtures must be replaced with efficient fixtures that meet curent California plumbing code. The SFPUC offers financial incentives and technical assistance for the replacement of inefficient plumbing fixtures. Specifically, the Ordinance requires that all leaks be repaired and all existing fixtures with flow rates that exceed the rates noted below be replaced with new water-efficient models that meet current California plumbing standards: 

  1. Showerheads with a maximum flow rate over 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) (Additionally, no showers may have more than one showerhead per valve)
  2. Faucets and faucet aerators with a maximum flow rate over 2.2 gpm
  3. Water closets (toilets) with a maximum rated water consumption over 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf)
Compliance with the requirements of the Residential Water Conservation Ordinance must be completed through the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (DBI) Housing Inspection Services. See a list of DBI certified inspectors

. Your Realtor is a good source for more information on obtaining a Certificate of Compliance or to schedule an inspection, call DBI Housing Inspection Services at (628) 652-3700.

Need help?

Be sure to check the Residential Water Conservation Ordinance Program Brochure for more detailed information. 

If you have a specific question about compliance with the ordinance or other water conservation programs to help you comply, contact the SFPUC Water Conservation Section at



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Last updated: 11/6/2020 2:08:54 PM