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Why Can’t Shower Heads Be Shipped to California

Why Can’t Shower Heads Be Shipped to California?

California, known for its strict regulations on water usage and conservation, has a unique restriction on shower heads that many people outside the state may find baffling. The reason behind this restriction lies in the state’s commitment to water conservation and efficiency. In this article, we will delve into why shower heads can’t be shipped to California and explore the implications of this regulation. Additionally, we will address some frequently asked questions regarding this topic.

Understanding California’s Water Crisis:

California is no stranger to water scarcity. The state has faced severe droughts, dwindling water supplies, and increasing population demands for decades. Consequently, the government has implemented various measures to ensure responsible water usage. One of these measures is the regulation of shower heads.

Shower Head Regulations:

In California, shower heads are subject to strict water efficiency standards. The maximum flow rate allowed for shower heads is 2.0 gallons per minute (gpm). This means that any shower head sold or installed in California must meet this requirement. While this may seem reasonable, it creates complications when it comes to shipping shower heads to the state.

The Logistics of Shipping Shower Heads:

The primary reason shower heads can’t be shipped to California is that many manufacturers produce shower heads that do not meet the state’s water efficiency standards. These shower heads often have a higher flow rate, exceeding the 2.0 gpm limit set by the California Energy Commission (CEC). As a result, retailers and suppliers cannot legally sell or ship these non-compliant shower heads to California.

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The Responsibility of Retailers:

Retailers play a crucial role in ensuring compliance with water efficiency regulations. They are responsible for verifying that the shower heads they sell or ship meet the state’s standards. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in penalties and legal consequences.

Potential Benefits of Water Efficiency:

While the restriction on shower heads may seem inconvenient for California residents, it is essential to understand the underlying benefits. By limiting shower head flow rates, the state encourages water conservation. This, in turn, helps alleviate the strain on California’s water resources, particularly during periods of drought. Additionally, reducing water consumption can lead to energy savings, as less energy is needed to heat the water.


Q: Can I purchase a shower head that meets California’s water efficiency standards?
A: Yes, there are numerous shower heads available in the market that comply with the 2.0 gpm limit. Look for products labeled as “California compliant” or “CEC certified.”

Q: What happens if I install a non-compliant shower head in California?
A: Installing a non-compliant shower head in California is against the law. If caught, you may face penalties and fines.

Q: Can I bring a non-compliant shower head from another state to California?
A: Technically, you can bring a non-compliant shower head from another state for personal use. However, selling, distributing, or installing such shower heads in California is prohibited.

Q: Are there any exemptions to the shower head regulations?
A: Yes, there are certain exemptions. For example, showers used exclusively for safety or medical purposes can have higher flow rates if prescribed by a healthcare professional.

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Q: Do all states have similar shower head regulations?
A: No, each state has its own regulations regarding shower head flow rates. While some states have adopted similar standards to California, others may have more relaxed requirements.


California’s restriction on shipping shower heads to the state is a direct response to the ongoing water crisis and the need for water conservation. By enforcing regulations that limit the flow rate of shower heads, California aims to reduce water consumption and promote responsible water usage. While inconvenient for some, these measures are crucial to ensuring the long-term sustainability of California’s water resources.

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