Defining Water Efficiency

The problem with those terms is that they typically referred to restricted use, a period when water users were being asked to cut back on consumption.  This most commonly happens during a drought, for instance.


However, the issue of reducing water consumption has become much more severe over the past two decades. The United Nations has been evaluating water patterns around the world for years, and in their second UN World Water Development Report, which came out in 2017, they reported that two-thirds of the global population will live in areas of water stress by 2025… just seven years from now.

This latest report made it evident that we must now do more than just “conserve” water as if we were dealing with a temporary drought.  “Water stress” is an ongoing situation and occurs when the demand for water exceeds the amount of water available for both the short- and long-term. 

This can be the result of population growth, failing water infrastructure that is not being replaced or updated, climate change, or a combination of all of these.

But what we need to know is that it means a short-term drought is no longer the problem.  Long-term water shortages are now the problem.  And merely taking steps to conserve water just won’t have the water saving impact we need. Now we need water efficiency and water efficiency differs from water conservation in several fundamental ways.

First of all, water efficiency does not focus on how much water is used or not used, for that matter, but concentrates instead on water waste. To measure water efficiency, we measure how much water is required for a particular purpose and then compare that with how much water is currently used for that purpose.

Here’s an example:

•    Currently, one water-using urinal uses about 30,000 gallons of water per year.

•    We now have waterless urinal technologies that have eliminated the need to use any water in urinals at all.

•    This makes a flush urinal a very inefficient use of water and the alternative, a waterless urinal, which have been around for more than twenty-five years, a very efficient use of water.


We can see water efficiency at work when we examine other restroom fixtures as well.  Whereas a toilet may have used two to three gallons of water per flush in the 1980s, a toilet today may use less than 1.25 gallons of water per flush.  This makes today's toilets far more water efficient than its predecessors.

So, if two-thirds of the world’s population will be dealing with water stress in less than ten years, does that mean the UN and governments around the world will need to take steps now to avert very serious water shortages around the globe?

The answer is yes and no.

Many parts of the world in which water stress is becoming a major concern are in fast-growing, less developed areas that have very poor or non-existent water infrastructure.  In such areas, the UN and governments around the world will likely be needed to step in.

But, a great deal of this problem will be addressed by private industry. There are several new technologies, from waterless urinals mentioned earlier to seawater desalination,  computer-controlled “smart” irrigation systems, and wastewater processing, which allows wastewater to be treated and reused.  Many of these have already been introduced and become much more cost efficient than a few years back.

This does not mean we will not have some difficult years ahead in many parts of the country. But with these technologies, there is a good chance there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

What Would Your City Do If They Only Had 113 Days Left Of Water

In March of 2017, Cape Town, South Africa was in an intensely crave situation when it came to water.  The city of nearly 4 million people had only 113 days left of drinking water. 

But it gets worse. 

In a relatively short period, they were down to just 103 days left of water and then only 87 days left of water. By August 2017, there were only 61 days of water left.

It’s clear something had to be done and done very soon. City administrators had tried pleading with people and businesses to reduce water consumption with only marginal success.  So as the situation grew worse, they decided to take a totally different approach. 

What they did is turn to billboards. 

They posted electronic billboards and signs on the major roadways around Cape Town, letting everyone know on a daily basis how much drinking water was left in the reservoirs.

It had a compelling impact. It empowered people to find ways to reduce consumption on their own. Then, using social media and traditional media, people eagerly started sharing their ideas and what they had learned on ways to save water. So everyone started learning from everyone else.

Among the ideas that took hold were the following:

•    Taking 5-minute showers (and using a timer to prove it)

•    Limiting tooth brushing to once or twice today with little or no water

•    Flushing toilets no more than five times per day per family (hmm; are you sure about this?)

•    Installing waterless urinals ((Link to this blog sent you in November: Breaking News: Waterless Loos for South Africa)

•    Limit handwashing to once or twice per day (again, hmm??)

•    No landscape irrigation of any kind

•    No sipping of tap water; only drink bottled water imported into the country

Some people even suggested eliminating laundry.  They purchased only ready-to-wear/ready-to-toss clothing.  Fortunately, Cape Town has a mild climate year round so it’s possible they could get away with this.

But here is what also surfaced.

Cape Town residents started realizing they are not the only ones having water problems. In fact, it’s becoming a problem around the world.

According to the United Nations, 95 percent of the countries around the world – including South Africa – have less drinkable water today in reservoirs than they did just twenty years ago.  So this told Cape Town residents that what they are experiencing is not temporary… this is the way things are going to be.

Those electronic billboards accomplished more than city administrators ever thought possible.  Its paid off.  Water consumption has dropped considerably.

Reducing water consumption is now on everyone’s mind just about every day.  They empowered people to take action on their own – and they did.

For more information on ways to reduce water consumption, visit

Michael Phelps: Swimming in a New Direction

We’ve all heard of Michael Phelps, the young swimmer who has won 23 Olympic gold medals.  Well, it appears he is now getting out of the water in an all-out effort to protect water, which is our most valuable resource.


Phelps has begun working with Colgate-Palmolive, the mega toothpaste company, promoting its Every Drop Counts initiative.  According to Phelps, we use up to eight gallons of water every day just brushing our teeth because most people leave the water running.  If we all turn off the water while brushing, we can cut that amount down to just a fraction of water.

And, the Every Drop Counts program (#EveryDropCounts) seems to be working. 

According to the company, nearly 322,000 people so far have pledged to turn off the water while brushing their teeth.  Together, they are saving more than 2.5 million gallons of water every day.  The company believes that if every American family joined in, 10 trillion glasses of water would be saved every year.

These numbers got us thinking.  So, we put our heads together to see if we could determine how many glasses of water three waterless urinals—the average number of urinals in an office men’s restroom—can save on an annual basis. 

Here’s the basis of our formula:

  • We know that one glass of water is about eight ounces and one gallon equals 128 ounces.
  • We also know that a waterless urinal saves approximately 30,000 gallons of water per year, which would be the equivalent of 480,000 glasses of water. 
  • Further, it is estimated that there are probably 10 million urinals installed in the U.S. 

Still with us?

Now, let’s assume eight million of these urinals use about two gallons of water per flush and are flushed five times per day.

So, with these numbers in mind, here is how things shape up:

  • One water-using urinal uses 16 glasses of water per flush. 
  • Flushed five times per day amounts to 80 glasses of water.
  • Because there are three urinals in our scenario, 240 glasses of water are needed each day just to flush urine down the drain in this restroom.
  • Now, let’s multiply that by eight million water-using urinals flushed five times per day; this amounts to 192 million glasses of water per day.
  • This amounts to more than 4.224 billion glasses of water per month, assuming 22 work days per month.
  • On an annual basis, this totals more than 1.09 trillion glasses of water per year.

This means we are using 1.09 trillion glasses of water—just in the U.S.—to flush urinals.

If just one million more waterless urinals were installed in the U.S., we could reduce this amount by 1.3 billion gallons of water per year. 

While Phelps is doing a great job helping us reduce water consumption, in many ways it is (excuse the pun) just a drop in the bucket.

What we need is another celebrity promoting the savings that can be derived when transferring from water-using to no-water urinals.  If one million more waterless urinals were installed in the U.S., and we could save 4 trillion gallons of water per year… now that is real water savings.

For more information on water saving technologies, Waterless urinals, and ways to become more water efficient, contact a Waterless Co representative.

What corporations are missing regarding water goals

This is part 2 of a 5-part series revealing findings from SustainAbility’s recent report, "Targeting Value," which focuses on how to maximize impact through corporate sustainability goal setting. Part 3 will discuss what happens when a company fails a sustainability goal.


The identification of water as a major risk to business is far from new, but 2016 and 2017 brought accelerated adoption of the kind of water management strategies and goals most needed. Given the severity of water risks globally, corporate water goals are an essential component of high-impact sustainability goal-setting, as discussed in SustainAbility’s recent report, "Targeting Value."

CDP’s annual water management index and report, "Thirsty Business: Why water is vital to climate action (PDF)," show that in the last two years, corporate efforts to improve water management practices have surged, but there remains significant room for improvement and wider adoption of water management strategies and goals. A growing number of companies are engaging in goal-setting to some degree.

To read more from this article by Corrine Hanson on the GreenBiz website, click here.

America’s Ski Industry Slowly Going Waterless

It’s very probable, if you are not a skier or involved in America’s ski industry, that you are unaware of the fact that many ski resorts believe their very survival is endangered. It’s not that people are losing interest in skiing, far from it.  Some ski resorts are reporting record crowds.


The problem is climate change. It’s beginning to impact the industry and making more inroads - faster - than anyone expected just a few years back.

Since 2002, the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) has started a series of programs designed to help educate ski resort owners on climate change awareness and ways to help reduce their own emissions of greenhouse gases.  The Association believes that unless ski resort owners start taking climate change seriously, they will likely not be in business 50 to 75 years from now.

However, so far they have had only moderate success. This is true even though some US ski resorts are already reporting that the amount of snow they are receiving each year seems to be on the decline and that winter temperatures are on the increase. 

According to NSAA, “the more greenhouse gases go up the more snow melts. Period. The fact that most ski resort executives have yet to connect those dots—and speak out about it to elected officials—is the elephant in the boardroom of every winter sports office in America.”

While change has been slow moving, some ski resorts have made significant progress in the past decade to help reduce consumption and their environmental footprint.  For instance:

•    Mount Abram Ski Area in Main has invested nearly a million dollars in solar panels, which now provide 70 percent of the resort’s electrical power plus the power needs of 46 nearby homes.

•    Another resort in Maine has also taken steps, but ones that are far less costly. For instance, they have upped their recycling; insist that guests take shuttle buses to the resort; installed more efficient heating systems in the hotels and lodges; and replaced traditional urinals with waterless urinals.  The waterless urinals not only save water – thousands of gallons of water per year per urinal – but because it takes electricity to deliver and remove water from the resort, they are indirectly reducing the community’s power needs, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emission.

baja waterless urinal

•    And in July 2017, Jimmy Peak Mountain Resort located in Western Massachusetts installed a 2.3-megawatt solar system as well as a power turbine. The resort has also eliminated the use of toxic cleaning agents, and once again in the bathrooms, has converted from traditional to waterless urinals in several of the resort buildings. Resort owners claim they are saving 40,000 gallons of water per urinal per year.  This is likely more than the other ski resorts mentioned earlier, but Jimmy Peak is open year-round, which makes the difference.

There are many ways ski resorts and all types of facilities can reduce their emissions of greenhouse gasses along with their overall environmental footprint.  What we are likely to see more of, not only in ski resorts but the entire professional sports industry, and all types of facilities from schools to office buildings, is the use of waterless urinals.  They save water, but they also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So we are essentially taking two steps forward with just one technology.

For more information on waterless urinals, please contact a Waterless Co representative.

How a Few Drops of EverPrime Could Have Prevented a Lot of Problems

In August 2017, an Aurora, Colorado man reached out to a local television station to help him address a problem he was having in his apartment bathroom. According to the man, he had just moved into his apartment, and sewer gas odors were coming from sinks in his bathroom. The smell was so bad, he had to go to the emergency room.

P trap

Apparently, he turned to the local news station for help because his landlord was not taking steps to address the problem.  He said that not only did the fumes make him sick and send him to the hospital, it temporarily broke up his family.  Many went to live with nearby family members.

As for the smell, he says it was like “rotten eggs.  It caused me to get sick, and the property manager didn’t do anything about it. [I] experienced dizziness, waking up coughing, eyes burning, throat burning, not being able to focus, and I’m normally a healthy guy.”

While the local television station did report the unflattering story, the man still had to take more steps to try and get his landlord to resolve the situation.  He called the City of Aurora and when the officers showed up, “he didn’t even have to go into the bathroom.  He could smell the odor as soon as I opened the door.”

The officer cited the landlord and gave the landlord one week to fix the problem. However, the man renting the unit said as of one week, nothing had been done.

So what’s going on? The tenant said the only way he can get any relief is to clog up the bathroom sink as well as the bathtub sink. 

A plumber was finally called in, snaked the bathroom pipes, and said he found “nothing in the pipes.”  Because of this, the plumber assumed that because there was nothing in the pipes, the pipes were not the cause of the problem. 

However, in this case, he was likely wrong. We have seen similar situations just like this happen over and over again.  The fact that there was nothing in the pipe was the problem. All the water that usually blocks odors in the “P” or “U” shaped trap under the sinks had evaporated

It is very likely this apartment had been vacant for one or more months.  That’s about all it takes for the P trap to dry up.


This entire problem could have been avoided had the landlord placed a few ounces of EverPrime in all the sinks in the apartment. In fact, landlords should consider using EverPrime every time a tenant moves out.

EverPrime is an odorless, biodegradable liquid that does not evaporate. Just a small amount poured down drains should prevent the drain from drying out or releasing odors for three or more months, possibly longer. 

If this had been done, the tenant would not have:

·        Gone to the hospital

·        Had his family separated

·        Called the local news media

·        The news station would not have run a negative story on this apartment building

·        There would have been no city violations cited

·        There would be no reason to call a plumber.

That’s a lot of hassle which could have been averted by just a few ounces of EverPrime.

For more information on EverPrime, contact a Waterless Co representative.

A Water Progress Report: Better But a Long Way to Go

Apparently, three people in 10 worldwide, or approximately 2.1 billion people, do not have access to safe, readily available water. That was one of the findings of a new report released in July 2017 by the Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) of Water Supply and Sanitation, operated by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. 

While there have been improvements in water safety and accessibility in larger urban areas around the world, in far too many rural areas, pressing water-related issues remain the same and in many cases are getting worse.


“Safe water, sanitation, and hygiene at home should not be a privilege of only those who are rich or live in urban centers,” says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “These are some of the most basic requirements for human health, and all countries have a responsibility to ensure that everyone can access them.”  

Among the key findings of the study are the following:

•    While billions more people have access to water today than in 2000, these services do not necessarily provide safe water for use in homes, schools, or healthcare centers

•    Each year, more than 361,000 children under the age of five die due to drinking contaminated water; in most cases, the deaths are linked to cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid

•    Of the 2.1 billion people that do not have access to safe, readily available water, approximately 844 million do not have a basic water service in their communities; this means that they must travel 30 minutes or longer to collect treated water or gather untreated water from nearby waterways, which may be polluted

•    A staggering 2.4 billion people do not have basic sanitation services in their communities, which means no access to toilets, urinals, or other restroom/bathroom fixtures

•    In parts of Africa, only 15 percent of the population has access to water and soap for cleaning handwashing

The JMP has set a goal of having clean, accessible water for people all over the world by 2030.  They want to bridge the gap between rich areas and poor areas around the globe as well as urban and rural areas.

As comprehensive as the study is, its focus was primarily on the lack of safe, potable water around the world. It did not emphasize the need for water efficiency, which refers to reducing water consumption for the long-term or turning to, for instance, restroom technologies designed to operate with no water at all.  

“These two issues go hand-in-hand,” says Klaus Reichardt,” CEO and Founder of Waterless Co. Inc. “We have to make sure that people around the world have the water they need when they need it, but we must also stress that they use it wisely.”

For more information on ways to reduce water consumption and waterless urinal technologies, please contact a Waterless Co representative at 800-244-6364.