Residential Conservation

San Francisco Residential Water Conservation Ordinance
Replace old plumbing fixtures. It’s the law!


Apartment Building Facade

Replacing 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 San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and Department of Building Inspection (DBI) are partnering to provide information to building owners on the Residential Conservation Ordinance under San Francisco Housing Code Chapter 12A affecting San Francisco residential properties and how to comply with requirements


How to Comply



Water Conservation Requirements 

Applies to all residential homes, condominiums and multifamily properties in the process of selling, remodeling, or making improvements that require building permits. Requires owners to repair plumbing leaks and replace inefficient plumbing fixtures.

Residential, multi-family, and commercial properties must meet the following water efficiency requirements:

  • All showerheads must not exceed a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm)
  • All faucets and faucet aerators must not exceed a maximum flow rate of 2.2 gpm
  • All toilets must not exceed a maximum flow rate of 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf)
  • All urinals must not exceed a maximum flow rate of 1.0 gpf
  • All water leaks have been repaired

How to Comply

Schedule a water conservation inspection with DBI Housing Inspection services or a DBI certified private Residential Energy and Water Inspector, complete any necessary plumbing upgrades, and obtain a Certificate of Compliance through DBI before transfer of title or at the time property alterations/improvements are performed. Failure to comply shall result in DBI initiating code enforcement proceedings, which may include monetary penalties and a lien on your property.

For more information, contact DBI Housing Inspection Services at (628) 652-3700 or visit at


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

  • FREE water-efficient showerheads and faucet aerators
  • FREE toilets for qualifying customers with 3.5gpf toilets or higher
  • FREE standard toilet leak repair parts
  • FREE Water-Wise Evaluations – SFPUC conservation technicians help identify costly leaks, provide tips for more efficient indoor and outdoor water use, and answer questions about your water consumption