The Department of Energy has proposed a rule loosening existing the federal requirements and allowing more water from showers. This is good news for those who like a more powerful shower, as well as those who like a less powerful government.
The 1992 Energy Policy and Conservation Act included first-ever federal restrictions on water use from showers, setting the limit at 2.5 gallons per minute. The measure has been controversial, though less so than the provision in the same law that led to those awful water-saving toilets. Not only did many consumers dislike their new showers and toilets, but others resented the fact that the feds were meddling in things for which they had no business.
Fortunately, there were two ways around the law. For one, consumers could modify the shower head so that more water comes out, and some manufacturers’ models made doing that very easy. Also, since the 2.5 gallon per minute requirement applied to each shower head, one could buy a unit with two or more shower heads.
The Obama administration reinterpreted the provision so that the 2.5 per gallons per minute limit applied to the entire unit rather than each shower head in it, effectively outlawing multi-showerhead units as a means to get a better flow.
It is this Obama-era decision that the proposed rule seeks to reverse, thus restoring multi-head showers to the marketplace. The move was hardly surprising, as President Trump has been making over-the-top claims of showers with weak dribbles in speeches for months now.
Believers in free markets and limited government have to take what they can get. And the proposed rule, if finalized, will make markets a little more free and government a little more limited.