Let it flow: Trump administration eases showerhead rules

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Water flows from a showerhead on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in Portland, Ore. The Trump Administration wants to change the definition of a showerhead to let more water flow. But consumer and conservation groups said the Department of Energys proposed loosening of a 28-year-old energy law is silly, unnecessary and wasteful, especially as the West bakes through a historic two-decade-long megadrought. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane)

WASHINGTON – The Trump Administration wants to change the definition of a showerhead to let more water flow, addressing a pet peeve of the president who complains he isn't getting wet enough.

Publicly talking about the need to keep his hair “perfect,” President Donald Trump has made increasing water flow and dialing back long held appliance conservation standards — from light bulbs to toilets to dishwashers — a personal issue.

But consumer and conservation groups said the Department of Energy’s proposed loosening of a 28-year-old energy law that includes appliance standards is silly, unnecessary and wasteful, especially as the West bakes through a historic two-decade-long megadrought.

Since 1992, federal law has dictated that new showerheads shouldn’t pour more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute (9.5 liters). As newer shower fixtures came out with multiple nozzles, the Obama administration defined the showerhead restrictions to apply to what comes out in total. So if there are four nozzles, no more than 2.5 gallons total should come out between all four.

The new proposal Wednesday would allow each nozzle to spray as much as 2.5 gallons, not just the overall showerhead.

With four or five or more nozzles, “you could have 10, 15 gallons per minute powering out of the showerhead, literally probably washing you out of the bathroom,” said Andrew deLaski, executive director of the energy conservation group Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

On the White House South Lawn in July, Trump made the issue personal:

“So 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 do? You just stand there longer or you take a shower longer? Because my hair — I don’t know about you, but it has to be perfect. Perfect."