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Commercial Water Conservation

red tiled public restroom with steel wash basins and mirrorsSan 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.

SFPUC water conservation technicians can help customers identify plumbing fixtures that do not meet the Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance requirements, provide free high-efficiency showerheads and prequalify toilets 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 performing major interior improvements, or else by January 2, 2017.

Municipal Code
Building Code, Article 13A

Effective Date
July 1, 2019

See our frequently asked questions.

Water Conservation Section
(415) 551-4730

If you are a commercial property owner, then the requirements of the Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance apply to you. This law requires that you repair plumbing leaks and install water efficient plumbing fixtures to obtain a Certificate of Compliance either upon major improvements or by January 1, 2017.

How do I comply?

Inefficient plumbing fixtures manufactured and installed prior to 1994 must be replaced with efficient fixtures. The SFPUC offers financial incentives and technical assistance for the replacement of inefficient plumbing fixtures. The Ordinance established the following water efficiency guidelines for commercial properties:

  1. All showerheads have 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 have a maximum flow rate of 2.2 gpm
  4. All water closets (toilets) have a maximum rated water consumption of 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) or the flush volume set by updates to the San Francisco Plumbing Code. Effective July 1, 2011, new toilet fixture installations may not exceed 1.28 gallons per flush, the maximum rated water consumption established in the San Francisco Plumbing Code, Chapter 4, Section 402.2.
  5. All urinals have a maximum flow rate of 1.0 gpf. Note: To achieve compliance with the Ordinance, new urinal fixture installations shall not exceed 0.5 gpf, the maximum rated water consumption established in the San Francisco Plumbing Code, Chapter 4, Section 402.3.
  6. All water leaks have been repaired

Compliance with the requirements of the Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance must be completed through the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (DBI) Plumbing Inspection Division. For more information or to schedule an inspection, call the Plumbing Inspection Division at (415) 558-6570.

Need help?

Be sure to check the Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance Program Brochure for more detailed information, or the FAQs for frequently asked questions.

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: 7/17/2015 12:09:13 PM