Tombstone became the second city in the country to mandate water conservation standards in its building code.
On March 11, Tombstone City Council adopted changes to the city’s building codes that require new homes to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense standards for water conservation.
The EPA’s WaterSense program seeks to protect future water supplies by offering WaterSense labeled products designed to use less water. The program makes water conservation easy by labeling products that are water efficient similar to the Energy Star certifications on energy efficient appliances.
Pat Call, Cochise Board of Supervisors Ward 1 and chairman of the San Pedro Partnership’s advisory commission, said that Cochise County adopted these measures in late February.
“The idea is to have every new home meet EPA WaterSense standards and allow every new home with the ability to be certified as a WaterSense efficient household,” he said.
WaterSense products will be required in new homes under the revised building code. New houses must be fitted with fixtures that are WaterSense certified including toilets, faucets, drip systems and pressure reducing valves. Other requirements include water efficient evaporative coolers, on-demand water heaters that heat water at the faucet, and rain/humidity sensors for outdoor irrigation systems.
The Upper San Pedro Partnership helped lead the effort to adopt these standards in building codes for the San Pedro River Valley. The partnership, a consortium of agencies and organizations, is working to preserve the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and ensure the long-term viability of Fort Huachuca.
Sierra Vista leads the effort, becoming the first city in the United State to adopt these building codes in January 2013.
Mayor Stephen Schmidt said that Tombstone was one of the original founding members of the partnership so it was natural that the City Council adopts the measures.
“These changes will alter (Tombstone’s) building code,” Schmidt said, “but most are aware of conservation issues so the transition will not be very difficult.”