I loathe low-flow faucets and shower heads.
First, they likely do not cut down on the amount of water used per incident. For example, I know that I rinse my hands for a longer duration under low-flow faucets than I do under regular-flow faucets. The point is to rinse my hands, and that takes a minimum amount of water. Reduce water flow per second and the result is a increase in the number of seconds the faucet is kept in operation. Ditto for showering.
Second, the solution to over use of water is a free market in water. Save under bizarrely extreme circumstances that almost never occur on earth in modern societies, if I’m paying the market price for water, it should be no one else’s business how much water I use and for what purposes I use it.
Third, some of the justifications for low-flow faucets are plainly idiotic – such as that (as I’ve seen and heard on several occasions) “water is our most precious resource.” Nonsense. Potable water in most places in the civilized world today is incredibly unprecious. Buildings are almost all equipped with little machines called water fountains that routinely dispense the stuff for free. Ever see a machine dispensing Chateau Latour or even Budweiser for free? Water is in most places in modern society today quite abundant; it’s not quite to the point of being superabundant, but it’s awfully close in many situations.
Yesterday in my class on sustainability at GMU my students and I were discussing low-flow faucets. We all agreed that if government-mandated low-flow faucets make sense, then government should also mandate that Dasani and other suppliers of bottled water equip each bottle with a low-flow nipple so that drinkers of such water “conserve” this “precious resource.”