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Donald Trump’s hair-raising issue

He recently complained that high-efficiency showerheads mess with his hair. That really raised our dander.
Trump speaking at the 2015 Iowa GOP Lincoln Dinner in May 2015. (Photo by Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons.)

Right away, let’s be clear: This is not a political post.

It’s about water.

And when a prominent person publicly pontificates about a water issue and misses the facts, we feel obliged to set the record straight. (Remember our open letter to Jay Z?)

This time, that person is Donald Trump, and the issue is his hair.

That’s right — his hair! Sometimes, you just can’t make this stuff up!

At a December campaign stop in South Carolina, Trump was asked for his views on water regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. His response, as chronicled by Time magazine:

“I’ll give you one regulation,” Trump said, launching into an example of how strict environmental rules can hurt everyday Americans with great hair. “So I build, and I build a lot of stuff. And I go into areas where they have tremendous water… And you have sinks where the water doesn’t come out…. You have showers where I can’t wash my hair properly, it’s a disaster!” he said, to laughter from the crowd. “They have restrictors put in. The problem is you stay under the shower for five times as long.”

We thought about Trump’s remarks and some of the possible issues they raised, including:

  • How much water does Donald Trump’s hair really use in a year?
  • Is there a higher-efficiency hairdo Trump should consider?
  • What impact will climate change have on Trump’s hair in the next decade?

But we decided to stick to what we know best: water and the efficient use of it. In particular, high-efficiency showerheads are near and dear to our hearts. In 2014, Denver Water supported Colorado Senate Bill 103, which phases out the sale of less efficient faucets, toilets, urinals and showerheads starting this year. The governor signed the measure in 2014.

The new law requires retailers to sell only WaterSense-labeled products (the water equivalent to the well-known EnergyStar label). The bill’s supporters (including us) believe the change could save up to 13 billion gallons of water per year by 2050.

High-efficiency showerheads must pass performance tests to meet consumers' high standards. (Courtesy ©

To use a favorite Trump word, that savings is “huuuge.”

Greater water efficiency is also one of the cornerstone recommendations in Colorado’s recently released water plan, a plan Denver Water played a role in crafting. And water efficiency, like conservation, is important in Colorado’s semi-arid climate. It’s why our customers have reduced their per capita water consumption by 22 percent since 2002 (and the terrible drought that year), even though we’ve seen over a 10 percent population increase during that same time.

If this were 1996, we might have a bit more sympathy for Trump’s complaint. (You might remember this little gem from that year.) But today’s WaterSense showerheads have to pass performance tests to ensure the flow meets customers’ expectations, even while using significantly less water.

So Trump’s criticism is slightly outdated, if not obsolete. As for regulation, water-efficient devices are endorsed by public- and private-sector entities and businesses from nearly every area of the economy. Changing to these fixtures is an easy way to save both water and money.

So here’s our bottom line: You can still use water wisely while having amazing hair. And the efficient use of water should, well, trump politics every time.