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Colorado Debates Requiring Water-Smart Plumbing

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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DENVER (AP) – Water-chugging faucets, toilets and showerheads could become illegal in Colorado under a bill that won preliminary approval in the state Senate Tuesday.

A bill to prohibit the sale of low-efficiency plumbing fixtures by 2016 won approval on an initial unrecorded voice vote.

The measure would make it illegal to sell new faucets, showerheads and toilets that aren’t certified by the federal government as efficient “WaterSense” fixtures.

“Every little bit that we can do to conserve water is important,” said Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver and sponsor of the bill. Guzman and other Democrats pointed out that most fixtures sold today are already compliant.

The measure would not require anyone to change existing plumbing. Current law requires builders to offer water-efficient indoor plumbing fixtures in new homes, but homeowners aren’t required to choose them.

Republicans tried unsuccessfully to stop the measure by arguing that water-efficient plumbing fixtures should sell themselves.

“I don’t believe the government needs to come in and say, ‘This is what you have to do,’ ” said Sen. George Rivera, R-Pueblo.

The debate got a little punchy, with senators debating the relative merits of low-flush toilets and weak showerheads. One Republican even showed a clip from a 1996 episode of the sitcom “Seinfeld,” in which characters look for black-market fixtures after their apartment converts to low-water models.

Lawmakers couldn’t avoid a little potty humor as they debated the measure.

“I don’t believe government belongs in the bedroom, and I don’t believe it belongs in the bathroom,” said bill opponent Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa.

One more Senate vote is required before the plumbing measure heads to the House.

LINK: Senate Bill 103

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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