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New York City Council leaders have proposed a water conservation plan that would require low-flow aerators in all faucets in apartments and homes in the city.
The aerators - which can be bought at hardware stores for $2 or $3 - cut water consumption by mixing air with the water, thus reducing water flow, the officials said.
Under the Council plan, all faucets would have to limit the maximum flow rate to 2.2 gallons per minute, at 60 pounds per square inch of pressure. Uncontrolled faucets can spout 3 to 5 gallons per minute.
According to the Council plan, the use of faucet aerators "could easily save the city over 2 billion gallons of water per year."
The conservation plan was released yesterday by Council Speaker Gifford Miller (D-Manhattan) and Councilman James Gennaro (D-Queens), chairman of the Environmental Committee.
Miller said the city's reservoir system remains below normal levels for this time of the year. As of yesterday, the level was at 69.3 percent of capacity, compared with a normal level of 82.1 percent.
Other provisions in the plan include:
Requesting the state to establish a rebate system to reward consumers who install water-efficient washing machines.
Legislation requiring the city to use drought-resistant plants in its landscaping of parks and other city properties.
Requesting city government to perform water audits of its buildings to determine where water can be saved.
Legislation requiring landlords of buildings with more than six units to install water-efficient appliances whenever they replace current ones.
Urging the New York City Water Board, water rate regulators, to set seasonal rates that would increase the cost to consumers during peak-use summer months, thereby encouraging water conservation.
"Each one of these small steps can add up to making sure that we preserve our water supply for many, many years to come," said Miller.
Asked about the difficulty of enforcing the proposed faucet aerator requirement, Miller replied, "I couldn't imagine that this would be the most aggressively enforced law. I doubt there would be faucet police out there going door to door. What it is a clear message that this is the right thing to do, and we expect you as a citizen to care about the water supply."