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Commercial Water Conservation

Deadline for Compliance January 1, 2017

red tiled public restroom with steel wash basins and mirrorsReplacing old, water-wasting plumbing fixtures with new efficient models is one of the most important steps to help conserve and protect California’s water supplies. Several state and local measures require property owners to install water-conserving plumbing fixtures. The SFPUC and Department of Building Inspection (DBI) are partnering to provide information to building owners on local water efficiency ordinances and how to comply with requirements. 

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.

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

Do the requirements apply to me?

Commercial Water Conservation At a Glance

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

Who Must Comply?
Commercial property owners by January 1, 2017.

Municipal Code
Building Code, Article 13A

Resources for Compliance
Compliance Fact Sheet
Frequently Asked Questions

Effective Date 
July 1, 2009

Water Conservation Section
(415) 551-4730

The Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance applies to all existing commercial properties. This ordinance requires commercial building owners to repair plumbing leaks, replace inefficient plumbing fixtures, and submit a completed Commercial Water Conservation Affidavit to DBI by January 1, 2017 that verifies all plumbing fixtures are compliant.  

How do I comply?

By January 1, 2017, all existing commercial properties in San Francisco must have replaced noncompliant plumbing fixtures that exceed the maximum water use rates below to meet water efficiency requirements in SFBC Chapter 13A. 

  1. All showerheads must not exceed a maximum flow of 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm)
  2. All showers have no more than one showerhead per valve
  3. All faucets and faucet aerators must not exceed  a maximum flow rate of 2.2 gpm
  4. All water closets (toilets) must not exceed a maximum rated water consumption of 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf)
  5. All urinals must not exceed a maximum flow rate of 1.0 gpf
  6. All water leaks have been repaired
To comply, commercial property owners or an authorized representative shall conduct an inspection to verify all plumbing fixtures in their buildings meet the requirements above and submit to DBI a Commercial Water Conservation Affidavit on or before January 1, 2017. All noncompliant fixtures must be replaced before completing the affidavit. Failure to submit an affidavit by the deadline or submitting an affidavit with inaccurate information will result in DBI initiating code enforcement proceedings, which may include monetary penalties and a lien on the property.  


Submit a completed affidavit by mail or in-person to DBI’s Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance Counter, Window #8, First Floor, 1660 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 or by email to

Need to replace a non-compliant plumbing fixture?

California plumbing code requires new plumbing fixture installations to meet the following water use rates:

  • Showerheads ≤ 2.0 gpm
  • Residential kitchen faucet aerators ≤1.8 gpm
  • Residential lavatory faucet aerators ≤1.2 gpm
  • Commercial/public lavatory faucets ≤ 0.5 gpm
  • Toilets ≤ 1.28 gpf
  • Urinals ≤ 0.125 gpf

Compliance with the requirements must be completed through DBI's Plumbing Inspection Division. For more information, contact (415) 558-6058 or visit at

Need help?

The SFPUC provides free services, plumbing devices and incentives to assist customers with meeting water efficiency requirements:

If you have a questions about SFPUC water conservation programs to help you comply, contact the Water Conservation Section at (415) 551-4730 or email




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Last updated: 11/10/2016 4:58:44 PM