NEW YORK CITY-Water efficiency will become a requirement citywide under bills passed by the City Council on Wednesday. One, which will ban the use of drinking water for so-called “once through” cooling systems, takes effect this coming January and applies to new construction as well as replacement cooling systems in commercial buildings.

Other bills will promote the use of tap rather than bottled water in commercial buildings, require alarms and sub-meters to detect water leaks and lower the maximum flow rate on certain plumbing fixtures, including showerheads and flush toilets. “Our fresh water supply is a precious resource that shouldn’t be squandered,” says Council Member Jessica Lappin in a release. “As our city continues to grow—and our need for water grows with it –we need to look for ways to minimize our wasted water.” All of these measures will take effect by July 1, 2012.

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