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Government & Politics

In California, New Law Means Home Remodeling May Force Plumbing Upgrade

Andrew Nixon
Capital Public Radio

Californians who want to alter or remodel a home built before 1994 may have to agree to install water-efficient plumbing in order to obtain a building permit. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the 2009 law that takes effect in January is creating some confusion in the building industry.

 The law requires anyone seeking to alter or improve an older home to install water-saving toilets, faucets and showerheads. In some cases it would apply even if a homeowner is remodeling an area that has no plumbing, such as a bedroom or garage. It wouldn’t necessarily apply to an improvement such as a new roof.

Steve Gorman is with the City of Sacramento’s building department. He says the law’s vagueness will likely result in cities interpreting it differently.

Gorman: “The interpretation that comes into play is a result of it being a law and not a building code. So when it comes out in a building code format, there has been thought given to how it’s going to be enforced and it’s given a little more specificity.”

Water agencies sponsored the bill to help meet the state’s goal of reducing water use 20-percent by 2025.