Don’t forget the impact of toilets that use too much fresh water

From the daily email put out by

Toilets Key to Saving Water 

Toilets aren’t the most glamorous item in your home but it turns out that they can be critical to saving water on a large scale. NPR reported that the toilet is the single largest user of water in the home. It uses more than the washing machine, the dishwasher, the shower or the kitchen faucet. About a quarter of all water that enters a home will flow through the toilet according to a 2016 study and each day the average toilet will use about 33 gallons of water.

That’s why organizations like Colorado’s Resource Central that work to help people minimize their water use through incentives that make water-saving fixtures more affordable have been so successful in driving down water consumption. In the last three years, Resource Central has upgraded 2,000 toilets, which calculates out to 500 million gallons of water saved when looking at the average lifespan of the toilet of 30 years. Additionally, regulations to make toilets more water-efficient have been in place since the 1990s and for many new homes being built there aren’t any other options but low-water toilets on the market. Nonetheless, if all toilets were high-efficiency (there are currently 13 million non-efficient toilets in America), indoor water use could drop an additional 35 percent to below 40 gallons per person per day, a 2017 Alliance for Water Efficiency study concluded.

Why This Matters: Droughts in the West are forcing people to conserve water (whether by law, voluntarily) and some habits require more behavioral changes than others. High-efficiency toilets require zero behavior change, people continue to use them as they normally would while saving gallons per day. In times of elevated drought, people use less water but often go back to their normal consumption habits. The one difference is that when people make the switch to water-saving appliances and fixtures they don’t go back, that’s why incentives to buy these items are so important to overall water-saving goals. Another method that works? When Michael Phelps to turn off the tap!

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