Water Conservation & Efficiency

Although 70 percent of our planet is covered with water, less than one percent is drinkable. Events such as the Flint, Mich., water crisis and drought in the western United States are examples of the growing global issue.

The International Code Council Family of Companies has several resources available to assist jurisdictions, manufacturers and the public with water conservation and efficiency. For decades, ICC’s codes and standards have addressed water-related issues and we remain committed to working with Member jurisdictions and industry partners to bring water efficient products to market, labeling new homes and structures as more water efficient, and spreading the word about the need for smart water use.

The Code Council and CNIAH sign agreement to improve plumbing and sanitation systems in Haiti

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Water and the I-Codes


The 2021 International Residential Code (IRC) contains many of the same water efficiency provisions that are noted in the IPC. The provisions in the IRC for collecting, storing, and using various types of no-potable water recognize the growing need for water conservation and the increase in the development of water conservation programs in many regions of the United States.


The 2021 International Plumbing Code (IPC) incorporates innovative technologies including waterless urinals and detailed engineered designs that permit the installation of smaller, more precise water usage and water drainage systems, resulting in the savings of millions of gallons of water.


The 2021 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) contains provisions for the collection, treatment, and storage and use of non-potable water in the form of onsite collected rainwater and graywater, and externally treated reclaimed water supplied to the site. In response to a call from industry and in a deal nearly two years in the making, ICC and ASHRAE last year signed a final agreement that outlined each organization’s role in the future development and maintenance of the IgCC.

IPSDCThis 2021 International Private Sewage Disposal Code (IPSDC), co-published with the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association (NOWRA), includes provisions for design, installation, and inspection of private sewage disposal systems, and provides flexibility in the development of safe systems.  The IPSDC facilitates the use of the latest science-based best practices and innovative technologies in safely handling onsite, decentralized wastewater, thereby reducing customers' costs. The IPSDC also addresses inconsistencies within many regulations that dictate how decentralized systems can be designed, installed, and operated.

Ensure your community is using the latest codes with the latest water conservation and efficiency best practices.  These sample ordinances will provide you the templates that will help you!
Additional tools to help you advance this important cause:

Water and Standards

National Green Building Standard

The ICC/ASHRAE 700-2015 National Green Building Standard™ (NGBS) is the first residential green building standard to undergo the full consensus process and receive approval from the American National Standards Institute(ANSI). First developed in 2008, NAHB, the International Code Council (ICC) and ASHRAE partnered to develop the third edition of the nationally recognized standard, which was approved and published in 2016. Development of the 2018 version of the NGBS is underway, and it is expected to approved and published in 2019.

Rainwater Harvesting and Landscape Irrigation Standards

The Rainwater Collection System Design Consensus Committee (IS-RCSDI) was appointed by the ICC Board of Directors in collaboration with CSA in late 2013 and has primary responsibility for the development of the Rainwater Collection System Design and Installation Standard. The Final Ballot for the CSA B805-18/ICC 805-2018 Rainwater Harvesting Systems Standard was APPROVED by the committee March 11, 2018. The release of the Standard will be coming soon.

The ASABE/ICC 802-2014 Landscape Irrigation Sprinkler and Emitter Standard classifies sprinkler and drip irrigation systems, set uniform testing procedures, and establish minimum design and performance requirements for commercial and residential landscape irrigation components.

Pool Solar Heating and Cooling Standard

The development of the NEW ICC/APSP 902/SRCC 400-2017 Solar Pool & Spa Heating System Standard is complete and the standard is now available for purchase on the ICC Store in digital and hardcopy formats. This standard establishes minimum criteria for the design and installation of solar water heating systems for pool and spa applications. It addresses both residential and commercial pools and spas,  and is consistent with the requirements of ICC’s International Swimming Pool and Spa Code® (ISPSC®) and other relevant ICC/APSP standards for these applications.

Water and Product Evaluation and Accreditation

pmg-mark-3-orig-158x108Built on the same framework of integrity that has helped the ICC Evaluation Service become an industry-recognized expert in building products for more than 70 years, the ICC-ES PMG Listing Program has broader acceptance of building and plumbing officials in North America. ICC-ES is a licensed certifying body of the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program while the International Accreditation Service is an approved accreditation body.

Water and the ICC PMG Official Membership Council

ICC’s PMG Official Membership Council is unique in that it reaches out to the plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas and swimming pool industries that include tradespeople, inspectors, code officials and others who have an interest in safe and healthier communities. Communities throughout history have needed to safely provide clean water. The PMG Official Membership Council is made up of a great team of professionals who recognize the importance and challenges that lay ahead in providing a more efficient means of cleaning and using water. They care about vibrant neighborhoods and communities and realize the importance of a safe and sanitary built environment.

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Water and the PMG Industry

ICC has a partnership with the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) in the development of the Water Efficiency Rating Index. The WER Index establishes a system to rate a home's efficiency in water use. ICC also is a partner in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program. Products and services that earn the WaterSense label with the ICC Evaluation Service certification mark are certified to be at least 20 percent more water efficient without sacrificing performance.

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