“You can’t wash your hands practically, there’s so little water comes out of the faucet, and the end result is you leave the faucet on and it takes you much longer to wash your hands, you end up using the same amount of water,” Trump said at an event with small-business owners at the White House.
The president said it was “common sense” to review standards he said resulted in showers with water “quietly dripping out” and toilets that “end up using more water” because of repeat flushing.
Trump has championed rolling back regulations since taking office in 2017, with a focus on environmental rules imposed or proposed during the Obama administration. The president routinely portrays himself as a champion of the environment, while his critics say he’s weakened regulations intended to fight climate change, conserve resources and promote clean air and water.
While the president said the Environmental Protection Agency was looking at the standards “at my suggestion,” a review of the WaterSense program was mandated under 2018 legislation passed by Congress that said the agency should look at any regulations adopted before 2012. That means the government is forced to revisit specifications for tank-type toilets, lavatory faucets and faucet accessories, showerheads, flushing urinals, and weather-based irrigation controllers.
Those regulations include a 20% reduction in water use on tank-type toilets compared to standards adopted in 1992, and a 32% reduction in maximum water flow on lavatory faucets, according to the EPA.
But the government has also said that the water savings make a difference – particularly in bathrooms, which represent more than half of all indoor water use. The EPA says an average family can save $380 in water costs per year and save more than 17 gallons per day by using appliances certified to WaterSense standards.
The president said he’s considering different standards for states with different levels of rainfall.
“There may be some areas where we’ll go the other route, desert areas, but for the most part, you have many states where they have so much water that comes down, it’s called rain, they don’t know what to do with it,” he said.
But 40 of 50 state water managers said they expected water shortages under average conditions in some portion of their state over the next decade, according to a 2014 report from the Government Accountability Office.
Trump has similarly complained about light bulb energy efficiency requirements imposed under President Barack Obama, and the administration announced earlier this fall it would roll back the rules.
The president mentioned that effort during Friday’s event, complaining that new energy-efficient bulbs made him appear orange.
--With assistance from Jennifer A. Dlouhy.
To contact the reporters on this story: Justin Sink in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Mario Parker in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at firstname.lastname@example.org, Justin Blum
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