From Gotham Gazette:
Need a plumber? Call the City Council.
The City Council plugged some leaks Wednesday by approving a package of legislation aimed at conserving the city's water supply.
The bills will require new commercial buildings to have water fountains with spouts that can accommodate a 10-inch water bottle, mandate property owners install alarms to detect leaks in roof water tanks and, for the first time, allow dual-flush toilets.
All of them, said Council Speaker Christine Quinn, could prevent billions of gallons of water from being wasted every year.
The council's Republican delegation saw the proposal as overregulation at its best.
"Once again," said Republican Councilmember Daniel Halloran, "we are in the business of regulating crap."
Several Republican members also voted against a bill to require new construction to install plumbing fixtures -- like showerheads, urinals and sink faucets -- that would use less water. The bill (Intro 271-a) also allows buildings to install dual-flush toilets, which have two separate water pressure levels, one for solid waste and one for liquid. Buildings are fined if they have two-flush toilets now, said Quinn.
Critics of the bill said it would force homeowners doing simple bathroom renovations to buy -- and pay for -- new fixtures.
"It seems with every turn, with every aspect of building, every aspect of breathing, and now in one of those glorious moments in one little room in your home, government is coming and knocking on the door and saying, 'We'd like to check out the throne,'" said Council Minority Leader James Oddo. "This has nothing to do with conservation."