After four years of drought, the state of California has finally had some relief in the form of rain. However, that does not mean the state is out of the woods. It still must be very careful in how it uses water and make sure it uses water responsibly. Of course, that’s where waterless urinals come in, but more about them later.
Fortunately, some good has come from the drought. Many building owners and consumers are using water much more carefully now, and we all can learn from what California has done over the past four years to use water more responsibly and efficiently. Following are some of the lessons learned and steps the state has taken:
· Water is no longer taken for granted; also, the true costs of gathering, storing, delivering, and removing water have increased significantly, so conserving water is not only an environmental issue but also a cost issue.
· Many water districts have beefed up water capacity, expecting future droughts.
· Water shortages are no longer a “local” issue. Instead of each county being on its own when it comes to water, if one area of the state experiences a shortage, water is pulled from nearby areas where water is more plentiful.
· New technologies have been developed for all consumer water-using devices—from dishwashers to washing machines—to reduce water consumption.
· A new mentality toward water has evolved. Businesses and industries view reducing water consumption as not only the “right” thing to do but also in their best business interest.
· Variable-rate irrigation systems allow farmers to use water more selectively; additionally, farmers have implemented irrigation scheduling and developed soil sensors to determine water needs.
· Water audits, unheard of 40 years ago, are now commonplace. Water audits help determine where water is being used, where it is being wasted, and where its use can be reduced.
· Rebate programs have been introduced to encourage consumers and facilities to install more water-efficient systems.
One of the changes also implemented in California is that newly installed toilets and urinals use less than the federally mandated gallons per flush (gpf). Currently, the federal mandate is set at 1.6 gpf for toilets and approximately 1 gpf for urinals. In California, that amount must be reduced to approximately 1.25 gpf for toilets and no more than 0.5 gpf for urinals.
This requirement has caused many building owners to rethink water-using urinals entirely. There are various reasons for this, but the one that drifts to the top is costs. Even if a urinal uses only 0.5 gpf, it still must be plumbed for that water; it still must have a flush valve installed, typically a sensor-controlled valve; and it still uses water. These are all cost factors that remain static whether the urinal uses 0.5 gpf or 3 gpf.
Observers believe that this is one of the key reasons there has been an upswing in the number of waterless urinals installed in California and in other “dry” states. A waterless urinal does not need to be plumbed for water; does not need a flush valve; and no water is used whatsoever. All of which can provide significant cost savings.
For more information on how to reduce water consumption and use water more efficiently, please contact a Waterless Co representative.