Water-reducing technologies are available that conserve water effectively and surprisingly inexpensively.
California is plagued with its fourth consecutive year of unprecedented drought. With increasing levels of severity, the state has become dependent on new mandatory measures that aim to reduce water consumption by 25 percent across the board. However, it is becoming clear that additional, and much more stringent, measures may be needed. In fact, the Sierra snowpack recorded its lowest levels (5%) in April.
Some of the measures now being implemented include:
- Campuses, golf courses and cemeteries must install water-saving systems to meet the 25 percent reduction
- New homes and developments are prohibited from irrigating with drinkable water unless a water-efficient drip irrigation system is used
- City-wide ban on watering ornamental grass on public street medians
- 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state are being replaced with drought-tolerant landscaping through programs with local governments
- Creation of a temporary, statewide consumer rebate program to replace old water-guzzling appliances with more efficient ones
- New requirements for farmers to report more information on their water use to state regulators
- Increased state enforcement of illegal diversions of water or unreasonable water waste
These water-saving efforts are effective but may not be enough to curtail California’s huge need for water. While installing portable toilets is a satisfactory way of dealing with the water shortage in parks and other public areas, it is not an alternative that can be used in institutions and commercial facilities. In buildings like schools and high-rise offices, more water is used in restrooms than in any other area of the facilities. An option for these facilities – and one that might be required should the drought continue – is to install high-efficiency urinal that use 1 pint (0.125 gallons) of water per flush, which is 87.5 percent less than the current federal standard of 1 gallon.
Because each toilet and urinal in a commercial location can use thousands of gallons of water per year, installing water-conserving fixtures can make a major impact in reducing California water consumption. But there is one problem both state regulators and building owners are well aware of: the time required to install these fixtures can be costly and requires restricting access to the restroom.
However, new technologies have been developed that can help mitigate much of this time and cost. As to conventional urinals, whether they have sensor-controlled or manual flushing systems, a new technology has been developed and installed on existing urinals that turns them into water conserving systems. Betco’s Smart Restroom System reduces operating costs, takes less than a minute to install, reduces cross-contamination and meets water conservation criteria for LEED certified properties. “The best water conserving urinals are the urinals you already have.”
These technologies can be installed relatively quickly and at a fraction of the cost of replacing the fixture. SmartValve®, a water-conserving system for urinals, can cut costs by roughly $200 to $600 per year, per urinal and reduce water consumption by up to 40,000 gallons per year. Along with this, there is relatively little interruption of service for users, another problem many facilities encounter when fixtures must be replaced.
California is not alone when it comes to water shortages. Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and other states face similar water conservation emergencies. Reducing water consumption is expected to continue to be a major issue in coming years as the ongoing drought has already been named the worst in recorded history. Now you can become a pioneer in water conservation by taking advantage of the most comprehensive restroom solution for building owners.