When it comes to droughts, state and local leaders need turn-key resources that they can use to address water efficiency safely and effectively. The resources included below are based on industry best practices and have proven to be effective in conserving water.

  • Model City Ordinance and Legislation adopting an up-to-date community water standards (including plumbing codes) 
    Since the 1980’s plumbing codes have become increasingly more efficient while at the same time ensuring public safety. Adopting an up-to-date plumbing code in your jurisdiction is a fundamental step to ensuring that your community is utilizing proven practices and technologies that maximize water and water-related energy use in each new generation of buildings. The 2021 Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) is a comprehensive construction standard with provisions of this code applying to the erection, installation, alteration, repair, relocation, replacement, addition to, use, or maintenance of plumbing systems. The UPC is recognized and utilized around the world.
  • Model City Ordinance and Legislation adopting high efficiency water standard 
    In times of drought, many communities need to incorporate an “all-of-the-above” strategy to addressing water efficiency. The 2020 Water Efficiency Standard (WE•Stand) is a high efficiency plumbing standard that goes above and beyond what normal plumbing codes require in terms of efficiency. This standard specifically addresses areas important to water conservation from plumbing fixtures to cooling towers, gray water use, and rainwater catchment systems. The GPMCS is broadly supported by the plumbing industry from manufacturers to labor as an important way for communities to take their water-use efficiency to the next-level.
  • Model City Ordinance Requiring WaterSense Labeled Plumbing Products 
    EPA’s WaterSense makes it easy to find and select water–efficient products that can save consumers money and help conserve water resources. WaterSense labeled products are backed by independent, third–party testing and certification, and meet EPA’s specifications for water efficiency and performance. An example of a model ordinance requiring all new and replacement plumbing fixtures and irrigation controllers on sprinkler systems be WaterSense certified.
  • Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance 
    California has developed a Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. Based on the size of the landscaped area, this model ordnance requires more efficient irrigation systems, provides incentives for gray water usage, improves onsite stormwater capture, and limited the portion of landscape that can be planted with high water use plants. 
  • Drought Response and Recovery Guide for Water Utilities 
    To effectively coordinate, state and local leaders need to coordinate with their utilities on how to appropriate respond. Recognizing the impact prolonged droughts have on communities and the utilities that serve them, the EPA worked with industry stakeholders to create the Drought Response and Recovery: A Basic Guide for Water Utilities. EPA developed this Guide to help drinking water utilities become more resilient to drought. The Guide presents real-world examples, best practices and lessons learned in drought response, addressing areas such as staffing response plans and funding, water supply and demand management, and communications and partnerships.