water management

The Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management Toolbox

The Sustainable Sanitation and Water Management Toolbox (SSWM) is essentially an online library providing advice on how to handle many different types of sanitation and water-related problems, especially for third-world and developing countries.

In May 2019, they published a study, produced by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, essentially covering the advantages and disadvantages of waterless urinals. Introducing their report, they said very simply that:


A urinal is used only for collecting urine. Urinals are generally for men, although models for women have also been developed. Most urinals use water for flushing, but waterless urinals are becoming increasingly popular. This is the reason for our investigation.

With that, we report their findings: 

The advantages of installing waterless urinals

  • Waterless urinals do not require a constant source of water

  • Can be built and repaired with locally available materials

  • Low capital and operating costs

  • Waterless urinals produce fewer odors than urinals with water flush and also have no problems with urinal cakes (odor and urinal cakes occur when urine is mixed with water)

  • Waterless urinals contribute to water saving at the highest possible degree

  • Waterless urinals allow the pure and undiluted collection of urine for reuse, e.g., as fertilizer in urban farming

Disadvantages of installing waterless urinals

  • In case of replacement of the odor trap seal, the maintenance staff needs to be instructed on how to replace the seal when necessary and how to wash the fixture. However, no skilled personnel are required

  • The use of microbial blocks may cause pollution problems in case of reuse of urine in agriculture and is therefore not recommended

  • Problems with odors may occur if not used and maintained correctly

  • Models for women are not widely available

While none of our other blogs discuss no-water urinals for women, many of them do discuss the importance of proper custodial training on how to clean and maintain no-water urinals.  This appears to be an ongoing problem but in reality it can be handled so easily. Some cleaning solutions need only to be sprayed on the waterless urinals. The solution dissolves soils and contaminants, no wiping or scrubbing is necessary.  The process helps keep both the waterless urinals and the entire restroom fresh, clean, and odor-free.

The Waterless Co blog is where building owners and managers find expert, practical advice on ways to reduce water consumption and to help use water more efficiently. Our goal is to protect our most valuable natural resources, help facilities reduce their water consumption and water-related costs, and operate in a more environmentally responsible and sustainable manner. For more information, contact us at 1-800-244-6264

Optimism: Individual & Corporate Water Management

Reflections from Jen

Water management often dominates my thinking during the summer: my county’s reservoir is five minutes from home and I paddle board there as often as I can (hey, at least it’s a healthy addiction). In spring, as snowmelt comes from the mountains, the reservoir fills. By late July, trees that were once firmly on the ground become submerged, and I paddle through water-logged aspen glades. Then, as summer goes on, the level begins its expected drop.


But this summer, following a winter of low snowpack, the water never got as high – and it fell faster than ever. By now, even the bands of teenage cliff-jumpers, who joyfully ignore the “no jumping” signs, have mostly disappeared – there’s just not that much water to jump into.

To read more on this article, click here to visit Environmental Leader.

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.