The US Department of Energy on Wednesday released a proposal to roll back water efficiency standards for showerheads, just days after President Donald Trump had publicly aired his water flow grievances, including an inability to wash his “beautiful hair properly.”
The proposal takes aim at the 2.5-gallon-per-minute maximum flow rate set by Congress in the 1990s. Under current federal law, each showerhead in a fixture counts toward that limit collectively – but the Energy Department’s plan would let each showerhead reach the 2.5-gallon-per-minute individually.
“Under DOE’s proposed definition, each showerhead included in a product with multiple showerheads would separately be required to meet the 2.5 gpm standard established in EPCA,” the proposal explains, referring to the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes told CNN in a statement, “President Trump promised the American people that he would reduce onerous federal regulations on the American consumer, and this proposed rulemaking on showerheads does just that.”
If adopted, Hynes said, the rule would allow “Americans – not Washington bureaucrats – to choose what kind of showerheads they have in their homes.”
The plan comes days after the President detailed his water flow problems while delivering remarks last Thursday at a Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Clyde, Ohio.
“You go into a new home, you turn on the faucet; no water comes out,” Trump complained. “You turn on the shower – if you’re like me, you can’t wash your beautiful hair properly.”
“You waste 20 minutes longer. ‘Please, come out.’ The water – it drips, right?”
Wednesday’s proposal, however, was met with scrutiny by some consumer and appliance standards groups.
“There is absolutely no need to change current showerhead standards,” David Friedman, vice president of advocacy at Consumer Reports, said in a statement.
“Thanks to the standards, consumers have access to showerheads that not only score well on CR tests and achieve high levels of customer satisfaction, but also save consumers money by reducing energy and water consumption.”
That message was echoed by Andrew deLaski, the executive director of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, who called the plan “a gimmick in search of a problem.”
“The new multi-nozzle showerheads would not only needlessly waste water, exacerbating shortages caused by drought, but also boost the carbon pollution that has made long-term droughts worse,” he said in a statement. “No one benefits from this gimmick.”
The President’s broadside against showerheads is just the latest example of his long-held disdain for poor water flow.
Trump claimed late last year that Americans are flushing their toilets “10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once” and are having difficulty washing their hands.
“We have a situation where we’re looking very strongly at sinks and showers and other elements of bathrooms where you turn the faucet on – and in areas where there’s tremendous amounts of water, where the water rushes out to sea because you could never handle it, and you don’t get any water,” the President said in December during a roundtable with small business leaders about deregulatory actions.
“You turn on the faucet and you don’t get any water. They take a shower and water comes dripping out. Just dripping out, very quietly dripping out,” the President continued, lowering his voice as he spoke about the drips.
“People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once.”
CNN’s Donald Judd, Rob Picheta, Nikki Carvajal and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.