California’s new toilet police

toilet_police

Toilet police At the Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh. Photo by Dan Ridley-Ellis via Flickr

Last Thursday in my local newspaper The Chico Enterprise-Record there was an editorial about saving water through bureaucracy: Editorial: Toilet police don’t want job. It was was of those “only in California” type things about a new law with good intentions, but eye rolling implementation that only policy wonks could dream up.

I agreed with the complaint about bureaucracy part, but the editorial came off as saying water use and water conservation wasn’t all that important an issue, and that gave me cause to introduce the PDO to local readers as well as something I learned about toilets in Australia when I visited there, adopting for my home and office, and wrote about in A green product worth recommending. Here’s my letter to the editor, where I crammed as much into the 250 word limit as I could, and following that, the reaction from the editor.

Outsmart the toilet police

Chico Enterprise-Record Posted:   01/11/2014 09:52:52 PM PST

I read your Thursday editorial on the “toilet police” with amusement, but also with concern. Saving water is an important issue, especially since the Pacific Decadal Oscillation flipped to cool phase in 2008. We are now seeing effects manifested as cooler, drier, winters, with little rainfall; yes, drought.

Visiting Australia in 2010 (where low rainfall is much like California), I noticed that all toilets were “dual flush” with two buttons; number 1 and number 2. Number 1 uses 50 percent less. Seeing drought coming here, I’ve since retrofitted my home and office toilets to dual flush. It’s easy to do, and under $25 at any home improvement store.

The value to dual flush toilets is not only saving water, but also saving on your water bill. Since California Water Service Company seems hell bent on raising rates to cover pensions (because we’ve used less water, providing lower revenue), here’s your chance for payback by reducing water consumption even more.

Since California greens routinely challenge more reservoirs, and state government planned poorly to meet growth, this next drought will likely be harder than the big one in the 1970s, the last time the Pacific Decadal Oscillation was in cool phase for an extended period. In 1977, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation switched to a warm phase, and the drought eased, but 1985 to 1991 saw another drought.

Here’s your chance to get ahead of the bureaucrats before the “toilet police” come knocking. Meanwhile, pray for El Niño in fall 2014.

— Anthony Watts, Chico

===============================================================

Here’s the reaction from the editor – he made it his Sunday column.

David Little: Save water without toilet cops

===============================================================

For those of you that want a dual flush toilet retrofit, here is what they look like.

The kit is pretty simple, and assembles without any need for tools. Pictorial instructions in English and Spanish are provided.

Price? Less than $20, and at that price it will pay for itself in a few months, depending on usage. This system is guaranteed for five years, so I’m pretty sure I’ll not only get my investment back, but a significant return on it. Plus, my kids like it and they were fascinated watching dad replace this thing and now having a pushbutton 1/2 instead of a handle.

Want one? Available here at Amazon Get it, highly recommended.

Update: For those that like the traditional handle rather than the button, see this model.

 

And finally here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the Pacific Decadal Oscillation: http://wattsupwiththat.com/tag/pacific-decadal-oscillation/

And the WUWT reference page for that and other oceanic oscillations:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/ocean-pages/oceanic-oscillation/

Hopefully, per this ensemble NINO 3.4 SST Anomalies Forecast, we will be out of La Niña soon:

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – Climate Prediction Center – Click the pic to view at source
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121 Responses to California’s new toilet police

  1. Bobby Davis says:

    I had a new ADA toilet installed last year & it had the dual flush already installed Anthony. Lift up the handle for 1 & push down for 2. Great idea & it still works great. By the way it’s a Jacuzzi brand toilet.

  2. Peter Miller says:

    It is amazing how the ecoloons’ militancy against building new dams has spread throughout the western world. The idea is that this is supposed to conserve water – as with most ecoloon arguments I could never figure out the logic: if the water is not saved in the dam, it will flow out into the ocean – so how is that conserving anything?

    In the southern UK, the building of five major dams was announced a few years ago to ensure the adequacy of future water supplies during drought periods, and then along came the ecoloons and so, no dams. Lots of rain there over the past two years, so no problem until at least the summer of 2015.

    The ten day forecast for Chico shows no rain, the 25 day forecast shows rain on the 29th of this month and on the second and third of February. However, that far forward is just a wild guess, like most official climate predictions.

    Have a happy drought in California, doubtless climate change/global warming/whatever will be the cause most quoted by 97% of ‘climate scientists’.

  3. In Ireland we have had these for 2/3 years as standard. Good idea!

  4. I am somewhat bemused that you don’t have these already as standard. In the UK I remember seeing my first one over 20 years ago. As more people have installed water meters the savings of the dual flush system become obvious;

    Mind you it would be a useful step forward if ‘grey’ water could be used for toilet flushing. UK water is cleaned to a very high standard and it seems a shame to flush it down the toilet

    tonyb

  5. M Simon says:

    I have e-mailed this post to my technical friends and will do a blog post on it.

  6. Robert Clemenzi says:

    I recently had to replace the toilet – the tank on the back broke and would no longer hold water.

    Since the old versions are no longer available, I tried one of the new low flush versions. It uses much higher velocity to empty the bowl. So much higher that it sucks water out of the other toilet on the same floor. Apparently, the internal (in the floor) plumbing in new homes uses different connections to prevent this. But older homes that uses the old fixtures have this problem with the new toilets.

    I am sure that this is just another government “unintended consequence”, but government regulations should not require you rip up the floor and have new plumbing installed if you just need a new toilet!!!

  7. Chuck L says:

    Anthony, I live in the Northeast, I can’t imagine living in a state where the legislators are loons, taxes are high, red tape abounds, regulations are Byzantine, and there are droughts, floods, earthquakes, mudslides, and fires. More power to you for living there but why not try one of the nearby states? I mean for crying out loud, Jerry Brown got elected governor, again!

  8. Bloke down the pub says:

    These fittings have been standard in UK for some time now. One word of caution though, the old style ballcock and siphon cistern when it got old would start to overflow and would thus show it needed a new washer fitting. These new fangled gizmos, when they fail, let a steady stream of water flow into the pan. This can easily go unnoticed and result in the loss of a lot of water until you notice it in higher water bills.

  9. Speed says:

    David Little wrote …
    When your words are immortalized by a printing press, I must admit that many times I wish I had a do-over.

    He could start by cutting his latest by about 2/3s. Diarrhea of the keyboard.

  10. Chuck L says:

    Curious, why is my last comment in moderation? Thanks,

  11. Chuck L says:

    Never mind, I see it.

  12. Speed says:

    Like many technologies, this one was introduced before it was ready. Too many low-flush toilets failed to work with high-flush colons.

  13. ozspeaksup says:

    well as an Aussie I can tell you most public toilets that DID install them have disabled the one flush, and now just use the one larger volume of water
    why?
    because it wasnt enough water to FLUSH the dam paper.!
    thats multiple brands in multiple public toilets I ve used all over the state, in the last couple of years. and we really DO know about drought:-)
    for home users its just far easier to not flush for urine for 3 or 4 uses.
    if you cant tolerate the smell or are overly fastidious..too bad.
    easy enough to get the washing machine water into buckets and use over 2 or 3 days as required anyway.
    what clothes wash water you dont save to buckets should be going onto the garden anyway,
    so should shower water, if you have any above ground connector you can divert to yard use.
    bugger the council etc you just do it n dont tell anyone

  14. Lance Hilpert says:

    Be sure and read ALL the one star reviews on this turkey of a flush controller before buying it.
    Burned in AZ

    REPLY: Not sure why that would be. Mine work great. – Anthony

  15. Mike Ozanne says:

    “it is amazing how the ecoloons’ militancy against building new dams has spread throughout the western world. The idea is that this is supposed to conserve water – as with most ecoloon arguments I could never figure out the logic: if the water is not saved in the dam, it will flow out into the ocean – so how is that conserving anything?”

    If there’s no water you can’t use it, therefore, rationing , therefore it is “conserved”. You aren’t supposed to point out that any civilised area with a coast line has no excuse to lack cheap, plentiful water. God, let the proles lose faith in “water poverty” and there’d be no end to the green bullsh1t they’d stop believing in….

  16. Martin Clark says:

    Dual flush here in Oz for last 20+ years. Ours isn’t as sophisticated as the one illustrated above, and probably not as robust. My sons managed to break ours on a regular basis, now moved on to breaking their own. Then the flush has to be operated by pulling the lid off, or the whole thing starts to leak and gets turned off at the wall. End result is the same – improved water conservation.

  17. Funny, a recent article on here said that there’s plenty of water and that it’s all just a UN scare tactic to control population (or something).

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/01/water-is-replacing-climate-as-the-next-un-environmental-resource-scare/

  18. Ian W says:

    That ensemble NINO 3.4 SST Anomalies Forecast has been calling for an El Nino for the last year or so. The metrics it uses do not seem to be able to cope with the large cold pools that have developed in the mid-Pacific. I expect that when the PDO reverts back to warm the ensemble NINO 3.4 SST Anomalies Forecast may start to work as intended.

  19. Anthony Keen says:

    Here in South Africa we also have droughts . Dual flush is about 10 years old , but older flush systems used a float to hold the flush valve open . About 20 years ago , I simply punctured the float , so now you hold down the lever as long as you wish to flush . Releasing the lever stops the flushing , short or long as necessary , and costs zero .

  20. Speed says:

    At its heart, this is a story about water shortages and government failure. Readers might appreciate this from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal …

    To this day, the Hetch Hetchy System is a headache for the city. In 2002, after the system’s maintenance had been largely neglected for six decades, San Franciscans were pressed by the city to authorize $3.6 billion in bonds for repairs and modernization. That debt rose quickly to $4.3 billion.

    The environmental fight also goes on. In the 1980s, encouraged by federal studies, President Reagan’s Interior Secretary, Donald Hodel, wrote: “Maybe, with imagination, good will, and perseverance, we will be able to reclaim the national park land under the water of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.” As if channeling James Phelan, then-San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein objected, proclaiming Hetch Hetchy to be San Francisco’s “birthright.”
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304020704579278122571412150?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702304020704579278122571412150.html

  21. Rick Bradford says:

    Time to go drop a deuce…..

  22. Richard111 says:

    I flush away to my heart’s content. I harvest rainwater from my roof. Lots of it around lately.

  23. Eric Worrall says:

    As a fat Aussie I usually have to use the big flush, regardless of the nature of my ablution – my wife complains if I don’t! :-)

  24. rxc says:

    I am all in favor of not wasting resources and being efficient, but it is tricky with toilets and sewage systems. The pipes are all designed with a certain amount of flow in mind to make sure it all “flows”, and when you cut down on the water, you end up with blockages that can be VERY expensive to repair. And it is VERY expensive to change the plumbing to deal with lower flow rates. I have read of several European cities where the sewage people have to run a lot of water from fire-hydrants into the sewers on a regular basis to avoid blockages. They don’t save much water at all, when you consider the need for external flushing, and they just make people miserable with the imposition of lo-flush toilets that don’t work well.

    Also, many water systems are loathe to spend money on infrastructure improvement/maintenance projects to deal with water loss from leaks, because of the high cost and disruption, so the loss of supply in older systems can be a significant factor driving water conservation efforts. I believe that these situations just put off the inevitable and fool people into thinking that they don’t have to do the hard work.

  25. SadButMadLad says:

    Low flush might save water but if the sewers aren’t designed for it then it causes more problems than it solves as the system gets more blockages.

  26. Can I endorse a couple of comments above from those of us who have had dual flushes for some time. The components can be quite cheap and ‘plasticky’ and are not that robust especially if you have children. Its worth trying to get a good quality system as trying to fix one that’s broke is going to be expensive.
    tonyb

  27. Roger Sowell says:

    California does have dumb dam policies that result in water flowing into the ocean during abundant water years, and droughts in lean years. These are utterly stupid policies in a state blessed with mountains and innumerable valleys.

    My proposed remedy, posted before, is to build a transcontinental canal to transport flood waters from the eastern states to the parched western states. This would be similar in size and scope to the Erie Canal, in New York State. Energy used in pumping the water would be partially recovered by existing hydroelectric plants at Glen Canyon and Hoover dams.

    See http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/solution-to-water-in-west.html

  28. Tom in Florida says:

    ozspeaksup says:
    January 12, 2014 at 5:14 am
    “what clothes wash water you dont save to buckets should be going onto the garden anywa”

    Not so sure this is a good idea. Known as grey water, clothes wash water contains bacteria and chemicals. Dumping grey water onto the ground is illegal in Florida.

  29. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! says:

    Put in a dual flush two years ago. Flushing with a button is cool, but the number 1 flush uses just as much water as my lever-driven low use toilets the way I have them set up. The number 2 button uses twice as much and nearly completely empties the tank. Now it seems as if the button mechanism requires less maintenance than the conventional flushers, but other than that I don’t see any benefit to adopting the technology.

  30. Doug Huffman says:

    LOL, automating No.-1 and No.-2 flushes, more economic stimulation by regulation demanding unnecessary technological fixes.

    “If it’s YELLOW it’s mello, if it’s BROWN flush it down!”

    I was born and raised in Santa Clara, California (family was eponym of Coffin Road) and taught water conservation at my mother’s knee. Now I am surrounded by the largest body of potable water and pay per gallon for disposal – the logic still works.

  31. Scute says:

    OK if the stronger flush is as fulsome as it always used to be. In the UK we have some dual flush toilets with a choice between low and reaaally low. Sometimes they’re just called “lo-flush” and out comes a pitiful trickle.

    If you want to avoid embarrassing situations where your guests stay locked in the toilet for twenty minutes waiting for it to refill and flushing furiously I’d research it very carefully or stick with what you have.

    Best to check the flow rate/capacity you already have and ensure the high version of the new dual flush is at least that high.

    I consider the proliferation of the exclusively lo-flush versions as being yet more nannying from Eco-loons…following the lead of the safety loons who come up with ideas like the spring-loaded, 200lb fire doors that slam in your face wherever you go in a new-build UK flat and which are a legal requirement. They are so intolerable, they eventually get propped open permanently, making the safety situation worse.

  32. alexwade says:

    I installed two dual-flush toilets for my parents. They love theirs. The reason why they bought new toilets was because the new ones sit higher. The spent about $125 each on the toilets at Lowe’s hardware. Also budget $25 for other parts you might need. If you have an old toilet, consider replacing because, believe me, the new ones are easier to use. And toilets really are not that hard to install.

  33. Doug Huffman says:

    In re: low volume flushes and high volume colons. My Euorpean Ifö commode is ~30 y.o., ain’t been stopped yet, nor ever repaired! Unfortunately parts will be hard to come by and replacement will be with a stool built to a different, American, standard off-set from the wall.

  34. PaulH says:

    I would be interested in finding out if this device will work in an older “high flush” toilet from the 1980’s. I have such a toilet in my basement bathroom that gets occasional use. I’ve tried similar low-flow flush devices in that toilet, but invariably I had to adjust the device to near maximum water use as it seems that toilet needs all the water it can get for any kind of proper flush.

  35. sabretruthtiger says:

    Water conservation as a blanket policy over the entire planet is Green nonsense.

    Water doesn’t leave the planet and despite natural circulatory cycles such as the PDO that leads to localised droughts as Anthony mentions, it’s raining cats and dogs in most major cities.
    Water is the next big part of our lives the globalists want to completely control and it’s tied into their eco fascist tyranny.

    Central to the alarmists’ false claims of runaway feedback is the extra water evaporation that traps heat, this leads to extra precipitation (in their models). How they can possibly claim the need for water conservation as part of global warming is ludicrous. Then again I guess, drought is global warming, more rain is global warming, storms are global warming, lack of storms is global warming etc.

    There is nothing unusual or unprecedented about the jetstream at the moment, Sudden Stratospheric Warmings caused by 11 year solar cycles in conjunction with Rosby waves modulated by the QBO are likely the cause and they’ve happened many times before in history.
    There is zero correlation with global warming, particularly as the Arctic ice sheet is approaching normal and well above years around the 2007 minimum with less ice that didn’t have this jetstream pattern, so the ‘less ice, more heat absorbtion and thus less heat differential and weaker oscillating jetstream’ theory doesn’t hold water ( see what I did there).

  36. AndyHun says:

    In Hungary we use artesian water (which is mineral water as well!) to flush the toilet. As you might now my country is located in the Carpathian basin where the climate is continental with hot summers and cold winters. And there are droughts in the summer.
    There are two main rivers (Danube and Tisa), but because of the environmentalist and political crap we can’t buid a damn dam on those rivers (there are only 2 dams on Tisa which were built in 1958 and 1973). So we can’t use the river water for irrigation, and because of that we deplete the undergroud water.
    So anyway, installing dual flash on toilets is a way to spare water and money (since in Hungary water is expensive), but there are other techniques as well like the dry toilets.
    There are three generations of these toilets:

    First-generation toilets were the latrines or backhouses of our grandparents. These toilets were smelly and very polluting due to anaerobic fermentation (absence of air).

    Second-generation toilets developed in the 20th century are mainly characterized as source-separating Scandinavian-type toilets. To minimize the frequency of the required emptying of the waste, urine is first separated from the faeces: this is the toilet’s most important characteristic. Urine, which represents about 90 % of the excreta, is diverted to a separate storage tank while the faeces are collected in a main compartment. To reduce their volume, these are usually dried with a heating element.The dried faeces and the urine are then commonly used in the garden and/or for agricultural use.

    Third-generation toilets differ from the others on how they work, biologically. Smell is inhibited thanks to the addition of a litter composed of plant matter that is rich in cellulose. This is the basis of the biolitter toilet or BLT. In this toilet, plant cellulose biologically inhibits the enzymatic reactions in the excreta that are responsible for the odours. This can only work in the presence of urine. To prevent anaerobic fermentation (with the consequent odours), the toilet’s receiving capacity cannot be expected to exceed the volume of one week’s production. Therefore, the emptying of the container is more frequent.Before reuse for agricultural or gardening purposes, the BLT’s effluent must be composted in a two-stage process, over a two-year period. The compost thus obtained is suitable for all plants, without any health risk. (Source: http://www.eautarcie.org/en/05c.html)
    Here is link of the website: http://www.eautarcie.org/en/index.html
    It is quite useful.

    I think it is a very good idea to develop a biolitter toilet, because it can spare a lot of water, avoids water contamination (there is no need to waste energy by cleaning contaminated water). But it also provides good fertiliter that puts back the nutrients, which were taken out by crop production, to the soil.

  37. TrueNorthist says:

    PaulH @ January 12, 2014 at 6:47 am

    “I would be interested in finding out if this device will work in an older “high flush” toilet from the 1980′s.”
    No, it will not. Low volume flush valves on “traditional” toilets will only dilute the urine and will not provide enough water to trigger the syphon action that fully clears the bowl. If you want a low volume flush you will need a low volume flush toilet.

  38. Jim Watson says:

    On Catalina Island where I live, 90% of the toilets use salt water straight off the ocean. Since most of the world’s population lives within a short distance of the ocean, maybe it’s something to think about. (Modern plastics materials can handle the corrosion factor).

  39. fridayjoefriday says:

    Off topic and I’ll gladly be blacklisted for it.

    [snip - no need to be blacklisted, but it is wildy off topic. Why not simply post it in a relevant thread - Anthony]

  40. Tom J says:

    ‘The value to dual flush toilets is not only saving water, but also saving on your water bill. Since California Water Service Company seems hell bent on raising rates to cover pensions …’

    Chicago’s doing the same thing. The city has always gotten its water from stations out in Lake Michigan. The suburbs got their water from wells and were always envious of the superior quality of the lake water. Well, that changed quite a while ago and the suburbs now get their water from Lake Michigan. But it’s through the city. Chicago is brokey broke broke: a combination of the pensions and the lavish investments in a failed attempt to entice the Olympics to come here. So, to help make up the deficit Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Obama’s former Chief of Staff), besides a red light camera and parking ticket (including to handicap parking placard holders) spree, has significantly increased the price the suburbs (which obviously can’t vote in the mayoral races) pay for Lake Michigan water. My bill has more than doubled since 2002.

    ‘Since California Water Service Company seems hell bent on raising rates to cover pensions (because we’ve used less water, providing lower revenue), …’

    That’s what will finally break the whole thing, and probably nothing else. When all the exhortations to conserve, reduce, lower our living standards, and so on, reduce the tax money that goes into the Treasury this whole environmental religion will start to collapse. It will have become the parasite that destroyed its host.

  41. Bill_W says:

    I have some low end Kohl toilets I installed about 8 years ago and if you
    push down the handle 1/2 or 3/4 and release it within a second or so it
    gives a small flush but if you push all the way or hold for 2-3 seconds,
    it empties pretty completely. Pretty cool.

  42. tom s says:

    I have no interest in leaving pee in the toilet. I flush with the old version. I want water in the pipes leading out of my house…it’s they way they were intended to work. Water is never created or destroyed, just moved and phase-transferred. I’ll keep my flusher. Thanks though!

  43. Curious George says:

    As Anthony (and also many government officials) stated, pensions are a growing problem. I saw a simple proposed solution:

    1. Effective immediately, retirees are allowed to cross on a red light.
    2. On January 1st, 2018 it becomes mandatory.

  44. Ian L. McQueen says:

    I encountered two-position flushes in Japan when I first went there in 1970 and quickly realized the wisdom of their design. (The flush for #1 lasted as long as the lever was held active; for #2, the entire tank was used for a flush.) They were well established at that time, so it seems that they were in common use by then. I saw the Toto company name on the majority of toilets, so they may have invented them. I believe that other countries have just copied them (or Toto expanded to other countries).

    Now the washing toilet has quickly established itself in new installations in that country, so the two-position flush may actually be vanishing. Since the washing toilet heats the seat and the wash water, the electrical consumption increases.

    One thing that travel teaches is the differences in toilet design and usage…..

    IanM

  45. Doug Huffman says:

    Tom S, I pay 5¢ per gallon for disposal. I doubt your pipes are below street header level, IOW “water [always full] in the pipes …”

    Tom J, I live seven miles north of the Door County Peninsula.

  46. Aphan says:

    Wouldnt more dams and reservoirs help with all that nasty sea level rise?

  47. Dodgy Geezer says:

    I am steadfastly and deeply AGAINST this myth of ‘saving water’.

    Water cannot and is not being ‘saved’. It runs in a cycle. What is being saved here is the water company’s infrastructure and distribution network. If people use less water, then the water companies simply need to make less reservoirs and less pipework. The amount of water in the world stays the same.

    Making less reservoirs and less pipework is very bad. It means that there is no slack in the system when a drought comes. What should be being done is building adequate reservoirs to meet drought conditions. We should all be using LOTS of water to FORCE the water companies to invest in enough infrastructure.

    People who ‘save’ water are simply encouraging ‘green’ mistakes, and will end up with a water distribution network which is not fit for purpose.

  48. I see two problems here:

    Firstly: The main drains have a very gentle slope and were designed expecting a certain amount of water, relative to the solids that are to be carried away. If lots of people use low-flush toilets then there is not enough water for the solids to be carried away. The water drains off and the solid matter starts to decompose and smell.

    My understanding is that in Germany low-flush (and dual-flush) toilets have been common for a long time, so lots of people have them and the above problem has happened. Hence in some German cities in the summer street-washing lorries go out at night to flush down the drains.

    Secondly: This seems to me to be a flap-valve toilet. Until recently in the UK these have not been permitted under building regulations* because they waste so much water.

    Virtually any failure in a flap-valve system leads to water leaking out into the toilet bowl.

    However the most common cause of a leak is not a failure but the fact that system is used with … water. Over time scale from the water builds up on the outlet and the flap-valve fails to seat properly, leading to a small but constant trickle of water.

    Historically all toilets in the UK were of the syphon type which are *much* less likely to waste water.

    Jim

  49. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    I’m curious whether anyone actually measures the water savings from so-called low-flush toilets or whether savings are simply claimed based on model outputs. When we bought our house it had conventional (I think 2.4 gallon) toilets. We’ve since remodelled two bathrooms and had to install 1.6 gallon units.

    Without going into indelicate details let me just say that a single flush doesn’t get the job done reliably for what is known as “solid waste”. I frequently end up requiring two flushes, which by my reckoning is 3.2 gallons. On several occasions we’ve had to have “flush training” sessions for our children after a spate of what we call “overflow events”. My explicit instructions were that unless you could see the bowl clear completely and see water running freely into the trap at the end of the flush cycle, flush a second time. It’s also true that a lot of flush valves close before even the nominal 1.6 gallons have drained from the tank. I issued further explicit instructions about holding the handle down until the tank was completely empty. I may be wasting water, but I find that infinitely preferable to clearing clogged toilets and cleaning up overflows.

    That being said however, I do agree a user-selectable flush option is an obvious common-sense approach to the issue (which of course means it will never come out of government — why go for a solution that is cheap, and easily retrofitted to older toilets when you can mandate totally new ones). If we could just combine that with going back to the larger tanks, I bet my actual water use for toilets would go down.

  50. Bob Johnston says:

    I’ve been in the residential building industry since the early 90’s, just about the time the original low flush toilets were came about. These toilets should have come with a plunger because they worked so poorly – stopped up toilets was the number one complaint (pun intended) we received. However I recently remodeled my bathroom and tried out the latest design that uses 1.28 gallons per flush (mine is a Delta model) and I’ve been extremely pleased with it’s operation, particularly since I’m a high output kind of guy. I’m amazed at how much material can be moved with so little water. Great for water conservation and also if you’re on a maxed out septic system.

    1.28 gallons per flush and it works. Hallelujah! I’m so pleased about it I’m not even going to worry about the two button system.

  51. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    climatereason says:
    January 12, 2014 at 4:51 am

    Mind you it would be a useful step forward if ‘grey’ water could be used for toilet flushing. UK water is cleaned to a very high standard and it seems a shame to flush it down the toilet

    It’s a matter of the additional cost to build/retrofit a house. You have to bring in a second feed from the main and a second meter and then you have to have separate inside plumbing for the grey water. I think it would take quite a while to pay back that investment. Virtually every US residential area already has a grey water main, in the form of the fire hydrants, but I suspect fire departments would resist tapping it for residential toilet use.

  52. Eyal Porat says:

    Wow, Anthony, the Dual Flush is a basic installations in ALL toilets here in Israel for decades!
    I believe you could not find a mono system at all.
    And the cost of a basic system is around 30 USD.

  53. Dodgy Geezer says:

    Mind you it would be a useful step forward if ‘grey’ water could be used for toilet flushing. UK water is cleaned to a very high standard and it seems a shame to flush it down the toilet

    It’s a matter of the additional cost to build/retrofit a house. You have to bring in a second feed from the main and a second meter and then you have to have separate inside plumbing for the grey water.

    It’s worse than that, because ‘grey’ water systems need to be VERY reliable to stop any possibility of leaking between the two (since they are actually joined to allow for emergency potable water use). And the ‘grey’ system needs constant filter change and chemical maintenance. So they are very expensive to buy and operate.

    I once did a back-of-the-envelope calculation, and found that, in the UK where water is readily available, it was 70x more expensive to use a two-tier grey system than to simply store everything in one big reservoir and use potable water for flushing, as we do now.

    The entire world of ‘water-saving’ is a complete con in the UK. It may make sense in a low-water environment where the infrastructure is not in place, but it is totally pointless in the UK, and a very expensive way of forcing a worse, more expensive service on everyone.

  54. Stephen Richards says:

    Dual flush here in socialist europe for long, long time

  55. Tom J says:

    Doug Huffman
    January 12, 2014 at 8:14 am

    I envy you. Unfortunately I’m trapped where I’m at. However, at this stage in my life I’m not particularly concerned with what happens in society in the future. It does bother me though that, whereas my generation and the immediately preceding and succeeding generations were generally left better off by our forebears, we (and I don’t mean you, Mr. Watts, or the contributors and visitors to this blog) seem to be bent on refusing to extend the same courtesy to future generations. And what’s sad is that the only courtesy we (and, again I don’t mean…) had to extend was simply standing to the side, admitting we really don’t know what the future could possibly hold, and doing nothing other than impart our wisdom about the past, and otherwise leaving future generations free “to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of (their) labor the bread it has earned.”

    BTW: Doesn’t it get rather cold up there? Ah, but the summer must make it worth it.

  56. dmacleo says:

    champion 4 with the 4″ flush valve.
    never (and I am a ….power…..user) have had to flush twice.

  57. gnomish says:

    lots of the ‘problems’ people cry about are not found in the countryside because they are really population density issues.
    flush toilets are not the most efficient nor effective nor economical – they are merely convenient for centralizing and monopolizing.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composting_toilet
    flush if you love the idea of government control of your bowel habits and a monthly fee.

  58. Slacko says:

    These things usually don’t supply enough water for #1s, so you want to flush twice anyway. We’ve had them in Oz for ages but who needs them. At home I use rainwater (when available) for the washing machine and the wash-water for flushing.

  59. bernie1815 says:

    I installed my dual flush (a) as a replacement for a balky one flush system; (b) to reduce my water bill; and (c) to reduce the throughput on my septic system. Conserving water is not an issue per se in Massachusetts. I would be interested in a simple system that recycles laundry water for garden usage.

  60. Whatever other motives one may have for saving water, saving money will not be one of them in the big scheme of things. During a recent drought, Sydney Water imposed drastic usage restrictions. After the first billing period they realised that they weren’t generating enough revenue to cover unchanged overheads so the rates went up. We got the same bill for less usage. Naturally when dams filled and restrictions were eased, there was no reduction in rates.
    BTW, in Australia, long before these new cisterns arrived on the scene, it was common practice to place a house brick or two in the cistern to save water.

  61. GlynnMhor says:

    We have a dual flush toilet. Even the ‘big’ flush is inadequate to deal with the solids, and so we have to flush at least twice.

    POS.

  62. Dodgy Geezer says:

    @bernie1815
    Conserving water is not an issue per se in Massachusetts. I would be interested in a simple system that recycles laundry water for garden usage.

    If you, and everyone else, simply uses potable piped water for all usage, including flushing, then you will be putting pressure on the infrastructure authorities to spend money on more reservoirs, assuming that the rainfall and water flow is adequate. There can never be an overall water shortage.

    I, for one, would rather my taxes went on creating more lakes, offering leisure, a habitat for all kinds of animals, and water security, than on windmills to generate electricity when nobody wants it…

  63. Petrossa says:

    i live at the foot of the Alps. The water just comes out of the ground. Literally. Everyday the streets are cleaned by workers with huge hoses attached to the drinking water system. Even when it rains.

  64. Bruce Cobb says:

    Interesting subject. Different answers, depending on the situation. We’re not big water users, probably averaging about 50 gals./day for the two of us. We don’t flush every time, and we have an old-fashioned toilet. Interestingly, we are on a privately-owned water supply, and the water-useage portion of our bill only amounts to about 30% of the total. That isn’t a big incentive to save water, but we still do. I think we’ll pass on any fancy contraptions though. We did get one of those water-saving shower heads though, which we actually do like as it gives a fairly fine, high-powered spray.

  65. Bruce Cobb says:

    Forgot to add the front-loading washer we got a few years ago. Excellent investment, saving both water and energy.

  66. Gunga Din says:

    As long as Government doesn’t mandate outhouses to save water….8-)

    Seriously, this sounds like it might be “worth a dime to save a dollar”.
    In some areas water is more available so supply is not as big of an issue but it’s not a bad idea.
    Let the market decide.

  67. Bill says:

    A word of caution on low flush toilets and waterless urinals, especially in commercial building situations where there is no other source of significant water flow like showers or laundry; existing plumbing systems may not tolerate the higher acid/salt concentrations and corrode out, and there may not be enough water flow to carry solids all the way out to the main sewer. I have heard reports of flooded classrooms from corroded waste pipes, and major sewage backups from solids blocking pipes. The original plumbing designs were based on plenty of water to dilute urine and carry solids.

  68. Gunga Din says:

    Let me add, if I save a gallon of water per flush here in Ohio, it won’t help anyone in Nevada.

  69. Doug Huffman says:

    Urine is already quite dilute at up to (pathologic) 500 millimols inorganic/metal ions in 2 kG water per day.

  70. Doug Huffman says:

    And pH 5 – 8, near neutral. Sorry moderator.

  71. pouncer says:

    I confirm what “Bloke down the pub” says: “These new fangled gizmos, when they fail, let a steady stream of water flow into the pan. This can easily go unnoticed and result in the loss of a lot of water until you notice it in higher water bills.”

    In my experience, this is true, and begins about 20 months after initial installation. I have been thru two sets of three each (for my 3 bath house) and in all six instances the toilet guts failed in this insidious fashion within 2 years.

  72. donpenim says:

    Starting in 2017, California law will require ALL plumbing fixtures in pre-1994 homes to be retrofitted with low-flow fixtures. Homeowners won’t be able to do renovations or sell their homes until they replace their fixtures.

    http://www.dailydemocrat.com/ci_24808002/homeowners-planning-remodel-face-new-water-conservation-rules
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/23/low-flow-toilets-required_n_3800061.html

  73. crosspatch says:

    We aren’t in “La Nina”, we are ENSO neutral and have been for a very long time. Usually we just transition through neutral when going from La Nina to El Nino but we have “stuck” there for a while and that model ensemble has been predicting going to El Nino for about the last year. It doesn’t have much skill.

    But here is the primary problem: Since we have settled California the state has been experiencing unusually wet conditions. This has possibly been the wettest 500 years in the last 10,000. What we consider “normal” is actually quite unusually wet. We have, in the last 1000 years, had periods of over 200 years of very dry conditions. Some sierra lakes have nearly completely dried up. There are trees rooted 150 feet deep in some lakes that are over 100 feet tall and have been carbon dated to the 13th century.

    It is quite possible for us to have periods centuries long of maybe half the average annual precipitation we are now getting. What we would call “megadrought” in California lasting for a century or more is actually quite normal.

  74. DaveH says:

    San Francisco has a problem with low flow toilets allowing the pipes to clog up.
    From the Chronic:
    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Low-flow-toilets-cause-a-stink-in-SF-2457645.php

    Low-flow toilets cause a stink in SF
    San Francisco’s big push for low-flow toilets has turned into a multimillion-dollar plumbing stink.

    Skimping on toilet water has resulted in more sludge backing up inside the sewer pipes, said Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the city Public Utilities Commission. That has created a rotten-egg stench near AT&T Park and elsewhere, especially during the dry summer months.

    The city has already spent $100 million over the past five years to upgrade its sewer system and sewage plants, in part to combat the odor problem.

    Now officials are stocking up on a $14 million, three-year supply of highly concentrated sodium hypochlorite – better known as bleach – to act as an odor eater and to disinfect the city’s treated water before it’s dumped into the bay. It will also be used to sanitize drinking water.

    That translates into 8.5 million pounds of bleach either being poured down city drains or into the drinking water supply every year.

  75. Clay Marley says:

    First, they came for my toilet
    Then, they came for my shower head…

    FWIW years ago when we had to install 1.6 gal toilets, the dual flush worked by adding a simple hole in the flapper valve. The hole lets out air so that with a short flush it closes after draining only half the tank. To get a full tank flush, just hold down the lever longer. Very simple and effective.

    Still, we find often we have to flush twice with the solids, and I use the plunger more often, requiring multiple flushes.

  76. Alec Rawls says:

    By all means get the model with the traditional handle. Last time I needed to replace the flush mechanism in my toilet I got one of these and they only had the button type, which I really should replace. No more flushing the toilet with your knuckles. You have to push hard with two fingers, and so does everyone else who uses the toilet. Hand washing after using this toilet is not a pro-forma exercise. The thing is a real germ-sharing device.

  77. Steve B says:

    Amazing how many people say “saving” water. You don’t “save” water but you can use less water. However it is interesting how authorities focus water use on householders. Residential use of water is minor, the major user of water is Industrial and commercial. Why don’t the authorities focus on these groups? The amount of water that residents can use less of is a drop in the ocean.
    An interesting news item in Sydney a couple of days ago. Sydney water is losing the equivalent of 28 swimming pools of water PER DAY to leakage in the Sydney water system. So one has to wonder why it is the residents that have to pay and sacrifice?

  78. Tom J says:

    First: They came for our cars. And I said nothing.
    Then: They came for our lightbulbs. And I said nothing.
    Next: They came for our property. And I still said nothing.
    Finally: They came for my toilet. And then there was no …
    I’ll let the reader finish it.

  79. Sean.fr says:

    There is no shortage of water. The bulk of the worlds surface is covered by water. The problem is resource management. Here in France we rarely actually drink tap water – we drink bottled water. But we process tap water to be drinkable and actually use it for lesser roles. Plus we take grey water like rain water which is pretty clean and could be used for cloths washing and flushing, and mix it with sewage in the used water drains. Which means when it rains we can not treat the flow and dump undertreated dirt water into the rivers and sea.

  80. Keith Minto says:

    Urine can be regarded as a resource as well as a waste product.
    A good source of Nitrogen and Phosphorus, ph is neutralish, depending on the time of day and adding this to a compost bin is the way to go.
    .It has been trialled in Sweden, however in hot, dry, inland Australia it makes even more sense; just a change in attitude is needed.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2007-07-10/aussie-scientist-calls-for-human-urine-fertiliser/95480

  81. David, UK says:

    I keep my water bills low by pissing in the sink and running the tap a bit after. Probably use about a pint of water per piss (1 pt/ps).

  82. Mac the Knife says:

    On common sense waste water system design and maintenance –

    I live in the Seattle WA area, where water and sewer charges are not ‘cheap’. When I designed and built my house back in 2001, I installed Toto brand 1.6 gallon per flush toilets. They work quite well, without double flushing, regardless of the volume of waste deposited in the bowl. I made sure both my tub/shower and washing machine drains tapped into the common drain line with the toilets (2 story, daylight basement on the N end, toilets ‘up’ and ‘down’), to mitigate concerns I had about ‘low flow’ movement of waste down the drain pipes to the sewer main pipe at the street.

    My kitchen sink has a ‘garbage disposal’ grinder incorporated in the drain pipe, to allow direct disposal of vegetable trimmings. The dish washer also drains to the common drain pipe with the kitchen sinks, contributing food waste from both sources on this line. About twice a year, I fill up both sinks with hot (HOT!) water, then pull their drain plugs out and turn the garbage disposal on. This creates a ‘power flush’ effect to help keep this drain line clear. Also, dropping the occasional lemon or lime rind into the garbage disposal keeps it smelling fresh, as citric acid is antibacterial and the oils in the rind are fragrant.

    The drain pipe from the house to the street initiates below the basement floor and extends at a -4% slope for gravity assisted flow to the main sewer line beneath the street. That is not a ‘lot’ of slope, hence my concerns about low flow down the drain pipes and the various mitigations outlined above! As a further protection, just outside of the house foundation I included a one way ‘flap valve’ in the system outflow pipe and a ‘clean out’ access pipe up to the surface, to protect my house from sewage back flow should the pipe to the street or the municipal sewer main ever get plugged up.

    Given all of that, I have not had any issues with the toilets or drains to date. Perhaps my design and maintenance efforts were not wasted…
    No clogs, no ‘plungers’, no plumbers – No Worries Mates!
    Mac

  83. Mac the Knife says:

    crosspatch says:
    January 12, 2014 at 11:49 am
    But here is the primary problem: Since we have settled California the state has been experiencing unusually wet conditions. This has possibly been the wettest 500 years in the last 10,000. What we consider “normal” is actually quite unusually wet. We have, in the last 1000 years, had periods of over 200 years of very dry conditions. Some sierra lakes have nearly completely dried up. There are trees rooted 150 feet deep in some lakes that are over 100 feet tall and have been carbon dated to the 13th century.
    It is quite possible for us to have periods centuries long of maybe half the average annual precipitation we are now getting. What we would call “megadrought” in California lasting for a century or more is actually quite normal.

    crosspatch,
    Good comment – can you provide some ‘links’ for reference?
    Mac

  84. cynical_scientist says:

    Wander out into the garden and water the lawn. The plants will thank you for the nitrates. The wastewater plant will thank you for the lowered nitrate loading. Admittedly this doesn’t work for the female of the species. You also need a private section not overlooked by the neighbours.

  85. Pedantic old Fart says:

    @ ozspeaksup. good on yer mate!

  86. Gunga Din says:

    David, UK says:
    January 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I keep my water bills low by pissing in the sink and running the tap a bit after. Probably use about a pint of water per piss (1 pt/ps).

    ====================================================================
    Yes, I know it all goes to the same place, but where do you brush your teeth? 8-)

  87. Doug Huffman says:

    I have been begging my community to build an Anaerobic Bio-Digester waste disposal facility. At the moment, we dispose of bulk sewage througha community septic system drain field and by field spreading raw sewage on designated hayfields.

    The state has realized that our Karst or karst-like geology allows large farm manure pit tanks to drain quite directly to groundwater and Lake Michigan, and they are eagerly regulating the farmers. It is just a matter of time until they regulate septic drain fields out of existence. At the moment, the majority of our local public wells are unusable for high coliform counts.

    Depending on the AD technology chosen, mesophilic or thermophilic, an AD can provide fuel gas or soil enhancing ‘fertilizer’, a la Milwaukee’s Milorganite.

  88. Gunga Din says:

    cynical_scientist says:
    January 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Wander out into the garden and water the lawn. The plants will thank you for the nitrates. The wastewater plant will thank you for the lowered nitrate loading. Admittedly this doesn’t work for the female of the species. You also need a private section not overlooked by the neighbours.

    ========================================================================
    If it’s dark enough it should work for both.
    But wastewater plants DO need water. The more concentrated the influenent, the more challenges to treat it.

  89. KenS says:

    Here is a solution that will cost you nothing!

    Video Titled, “Pissin Outside”

  90. Doug Huffman says:

    cynical_scientist says: “January 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm “Wander out into the garden and water the lawn. [ ... ]” Evidently you are not a long distance bicyclist, even a female long distance bicyclist. All I need, if I have time, is a three minute gap in the passing traffic to be discreet, if they won’t give me that then I just turn my back to their obliviousness. Racing? Let it fly! Rain is a good cover for the distaff that hold on to a signpost and smile.

  91. ROM says:

    Whoa Anthony!
    As an Australian who lives in and has farmed in south eastern Australia for most of my 75 years this is where we seriously part ways;
    To quote;
    “Hopefully, per this ensemble NINO 3.4 SST Anomalies Forecast, we will be out of La Niña soon”

    La Nina for us here in eastern Australia generally means wet seasons.
    El Nino’s are generally much drier here and if a strong El Nino also coincides with positive phase of the quasi annual Indian Ocean Dipole [ IOD ] then here in SE Australia we are staring at a full scale drought during our main winter / spring rainfall periods
    So to us a La Nina with its better and sometimes significant increases in winter and spring rainfall here in SE Australia is always good news.

    As a retired farmer I don’t wish bad seasons and droughts on anybody as I have seen and farmed through far to many droughts and bad times over my own farming lifetime to want to see other farmers and other folk suffer through the same situation.
    But I am also selfish enough to admit that I would far prefer to have good seasons here on my patch even if somebody somewhere else doesn’t do as well because of the same climate phase seasonal set

    As you say California is like Australia, particularly eastern Australia in that it’s climate and rainfall are very much at the mercy of the great Pacific climate and ocean cycles such as the ENSO and the PDO plus a few other long term cycles that not a great deal is known about as yet.

    Here in the western third of the SE Australian state of Victoria I can almost draw a north / south line across the western third of the state where the influences of a run of the mill ENSO [ La Nina / El Nino ] event coming out of the SW Pacific runs out of puff and changes into a situation where the current phase of the quasi annual Indian Ocean Diplole [ IOD ] to the NW of Australia really starts to have a serious effect on the local winter and spring rainfall. patterns in the SE and south central regions of Australia.

    They never bother to ask us old guys about the weather of the past as asking old timers for their impressions of past periods of climate is now so passe and climate models are far more fashionable and “with it”. But looking back through my farming career and now knowing the timing of the PDO phases and the shifts in the PDO index I can easily identify the phases and the timing of the PDO by the run of the local seasons since my childhood in the early 1940’s.

    My parents often use to talk about the heat and dryness of the 1930’s and I can still remember the great dust storms of the early 1940’s the likes of which I have never seen since as both farming practices and the great rabbit plagues that destroyed and ate anything that grew were finally brought under control,
    The rabbits during the plagues of the early to mid 1900’s even killed quite large trees by burrowing around their roots and eating the bark off the roots to get at the moisture inside.

    Then in the late 1940’s the seasons turned much cooler and wetter and remained so right through the 50’s with a brief interlude in the mid 1960’s where we had a couple of decent droughts and the PDO index went positive for a short period and then back to a negative index number and a further period of the cool and the extremely wet early to mid 1970’s.

    By the early 1980’s following the Great Pacific Climate Shift of 1977/ 78 we started to run into an increasing number of dry to very dry years cumulating in the late 1990’s and the first half of the 2000 “noughties” with a whole run of severe droughts which were amongst the driest sustained periods recorded in Australia’s short 200 year history of white settlement.

    This of course was also the hey day of climate model predictions and we farmers were categorically assured by the CSIRO climate modellers that the drought conditions here in eastern Australia and across the inland eastern Australian grain belt were here to stay and would get worse, much worse due entirely and only to Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming as it was known as in those days.

    As a farmer it was probably one of the most morale destroying and confidence destroying seminars I have ever attended and the start of my disillusionment with and contempt for climate catastrophe advocates and arrogant climate modellers in general and my disillusionment with the impartiality and declining scientific capabilities and honesty of the CSIRO in general and it’s climate division in particular.

    All followed of course a couple of years later by the greatest amount of rainfall ever recorded over some very large areas of the eastern half of Australia particularly in those areas designated by the CSIRO modellers to continue to experience an increasing number of droughts and increasingly drier conditions and increasing desertification.

    Now following the change of the PDO back to it’s negative phase by about 2006 we are starting to experience much cooler summer temperatures here in the SE of Australia and better winter and spring rainfall.
    [ it’s forecast to get to about 44C [ 111 F ] for the next few days as I write this due to the intense heat build up in the Centralian desert regions that is finally wending it’s way south and east ]
    As an old glider pilot with some 3000 hours and fifty three years of flying behind me, my flying experiences of gliding conditions and weather closely parallel my farming experiences over the same time frames.

    So Anthony without wishing any harm to you or your fellow Californians and despite your hopes for seeing some El Nino’s, as an Australian I will be most happy if we continue to see a whole set of La Nina’s continuing to develop in the Pacific over the next few decades.

  92. 4TimesAYear says:

    Not putting anything different in mine – the system backs up if it doesn’t get enough water – end of story – no pun intended.

  93. 4TimesAYear says:

    My solution for low flow toilets that won’t flush is a 5 gallon pail. I suppose they’ll confiscate those next….

  94. phlogiston says:

    I predict the opposite of the model ensemble, a sharp La Nina fall in Nina 3.4 temps in 2014.

  95. bobmaginnis says:

    I only use a quart to flush may marine head on my boat, but for land, I would have a pressure assisted flushmate toilet, especially in this drought in California.
    1.6, 1.28, and 1.0 Gallon Pressure Assist Toilet Operating System
    http://www.flushmate.com/

  96. Old Man Two Sticks says:

    I have to agree with Dodgy Geezer… “saving water” is myth. Mind you, cleaning up dirty water is a pain; but we DO have a handle on that technology. And note, that for every action there is an unintended consequence.
    While visiting my German grand-son last year I learned that the state of Hamburg (city-state) is using more water to flush its sewers than it “saves” with its lo-flow toilette mandate… the sewers are old, with grades (slopes) figured for the old “hi-flow” toilets… No problem with new construction and new sewers… but it appears to me that most of Hamburg (and its sewer system) is older than the U.S.
    The older parts of Kaiserslautern have the same problem.
    And note that Germany STILL doesn’t have a viable way to dispose of mercury laden curley-bulbs. They’re just storing them in the hope that someone will come up viable way to re-cycle them.
    At least, this is how things have been explained to me by family and friends.

  97. higley7 says:

    If you already have a low volume toilet putting in the two button system will cause larger problems. We have sewer systems that are not seeing enough water volume to move the contents along. Some city and town sewer systems are clogging up big time. Also, the waterless urinals are creating massive corrosion problems, not to mention the horrible smell these systems provide to the user—they are truly disgusting.

    Only in regions with water supply problems should any measures be taken to decrease toilet volume. It is up the the user how large we make our water bill, barring artificial increases due to greedy unions. If you live in a region with plenty of water and have a low volume toilet anyhow, it might be useful to flush for No. 1 and 2 and any other number to make sure the contents move along. “Remember to flush twice, it’s a long way to the kitchen.” The water bill might be a little higher but the plumbing bill and local tax bill will be much higher.

  98. TheLastDemocrat says:

    Chico, and California, could be getting more rain soon…
    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/oper/global_anomaly_oper0.png

    I have been watching this ocean hotspot move across the Pacific from Japan to the U.S. coast ever since Fukishima – 140W, 40N. The warm water may translate into rain.

  99. Mike McMillan says:

    Bobby Davis says: January 12, 2014 at 4:44 am
    I had a new ADA toilet installed last year & it had the dual flush already installed Anthony. Lift up the handle for 1 & push down for 2. Great idea & it still works great. By the way it’s a Jacuzzi brand toilet.

    So it’s not only dual flush, it’s dual purpose.

  100. TRM says:

    ” Lance Hilpert says:January 12, 2014 at 5:15 am
    Be sure and read ALL the one star reviews on this turkey of a flush controller before buying it.
    Burned in AZ

    REPLY: Not sure why that would be. Mine work great. – Anthony ”

    A lot of it comes down to bowl and escape path design. I know what Lance means. I got a new toilet for $100 and with the proper bowl design it works great. A lot of the old bowl designs don’t work on low flush. Mr Watts got lucky and Mr Hilpert didn’t it sounds like.

  101. Water policy is badly mismanaged by the California and Federal governments, which shouldn’t be a surprise to WUWT readers. The Independent Institutes book Aquanomics discusses key issues in water economics http://www.independent.org/store/book.asp?id=96 . Cato Inst. and other studies note the distortions caused by vague and non-transferable water useage rights in California, from growing rice in the desert outside Sacramento to sending 50 billion gallons of water a year off to China as alfalfa to feed their cows. California and other homeschool debate students have marine natural resource policies as their national debate topic this year and I’ve been posting here:
    http://astoundingideasmarineresources.blogspot.com/2013/09/water-for-what-california-oysters-or.html
    Ocean policy will be the national topic for public school debaters next school year.

  102. Chris4692 says:

    In the Mid west US, water is used, and reused. Sioux Falls takes wter from the Big Sioux River, uses it, cleans it, and puts it back. The Big Sioux joins the Missouri River, Sioux City takes water from the River, uses it, cleans it, and puts it back. The same for Omaha, Memphis, and many other cities before the water reaches the Gulf.

    On the Coasts, San Francisco takes water from the moountains, uses it once, sorta treats it and puts it in the ocean. Similar with Los Angeles, Boston, New York, and many other coastal cities. If those coastal cities want to economise on water, start using the water more than once.

    Although toilets are the largest residential use of water, low flush devices will be of little effect. Until the coasts start using water more than just once, there will be a water shortage on the coasts. Until then, keep those low use devices to yourselves. THe central states don’t need the added problems.

  103. Brian H says:

    Yabbut, sewers require a certain flow volume to move the sewage. Some cities in Germany have to direct huge flows of fresh water to try and combat backups caused by trickle-flow toilets. Does no good on the small feeder pipes, of course, so they back up and stink The higher status the neighbourhood, the more likely the shortage of flush-flow. Ironic.

  104. David, UK says:

    Gunga Din says:
    January 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    David, UK says:
    January 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I keep my water bills low by pissing in the sink and running the tap a bit after. Probably use about a pint of water per piss (1 pt/ps).

    ====================================================================
    Yes, I know it all goes to the same place, but where do you brush your teeth? 8-)

    Err… the bathroom. What’s your point?

  105. ironargonaut says:

    Does #2 automatically flush twice? Ever since we started to “save” water with low flow toilets I’ve needed that feature.

  106. Kevin Kilty says:

    David Little sort-of admits he was wrong, offering more excuses than I have heard from any student about why the lab report stinks or the homework isn’t done.

  107. McComberBoy says:

    Gregory Rehmke says:

    Greg,

    You need to do a little fact checking on your 50 Billion gallons of water to China as alfalfa hay. Your number of 50 billion gallons would weigh in at 400 billion pounds of water at 8 pounds to the gallon. Since alfalfa will self combust at anything over about 22% moisture, I will use 20% and call it 1 trillion pounds of hay to hold that 400 billion pounds of water. Divide by 2,000 to get to tons of hay and you end up with 500 million tons of hay to hold that 50 billion gallons of water. Bogus info from somewhere…The USDA website says that the US only produced 52 billion tons of alfalfa in 2012 (Last year with production figures). Your figures leave no alfalfa for all of the dairy, beef and horse operation in the whole US, and none for the past nine years to boot. Not buying that one. Must have dropped a zero or two somewhere.

    pbh

  108. Zeke says:

    Coincidentally, I just learned that the old toilet system does have two flush capacity. That is, you can flush and use one gallon, or two gallons, depending on how long you hold down the lever.

    The way I discovered this is by turning off the water to the toilet. I was experimenting with a grey water system to re-use bath water. It is not inconvenient or difficult at all. My kids were ribbing me, and asking me why I was doing it. It only saves about seven gallons a day. (Maybe I am remembering my mother hauling water for our cabin when I was very little, I don’t know!) But the grey water system works for one of our three bathrooms. I just like using the water twice. It smells like kiwi-watermelon soap too. (:

    I think it would not be an advantage to have a toilet that cannot be used if the water is turned off, just in case of water outage or natural disaster. So make sure you can still use your toilet by hand.

  109. ScoFo says:

    Actual early seventies sign scratched on wall in Yosemite National Park bathroom: “Flush twice, L.A. needs water.”

  110. Zeke says:

    Speaking of people having their water shut off:

    “Last week’s major chemical spill into West Virginia’s Elk River, which cut off water to more than 300,000 people, came in a state with a long and troubled history of regulating the coal and chemical companies that form the heart of its economy.”

    Does anyone know if the chemical spill was the result of some environmental mandate to process coal a certain way in the first place? That was my question.

  111. grehmke says:

    A zero here a zero there and pretty soon we’re talking about lots of real water…

    I am guessing that most of the water evaporates, but the 50bil. is expended for the exported alfalfa. Here is the quote and link to WSJ oped: “In 2012, the drought-stricken Western United States will ship more than 50 billion gallons of water to China. This water will leave the country embedded in alfalfa—most of it grown in California—and is destined to feed Chinese cows. The strange situation illustrates what is wrong about how we think, or rather don’t think, about water policy in the U.S.”
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10000872396390444517304577653432417208116?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10000872396390444517304577653432417208116.html

  112. Box of Rocks says:

    The other unintended consequence of low flow toilets is at the waste water treatment plants.

    It seems that they were designed for a certain through put and highly concentrated waste at a lower flow rates affects the performance of the plants..

  113. phlogiston says:

    Chris4692 on January 12, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    In the Mid west US, water is used, and reused. Sioux Falls takes wter from the Big Sioux River, uses it, cleans it, and puts it back. The Big Sioux joins the Missouri River, Sioux City takes water from the River, uses it, cleans it, and puts it back. The same for Omaha, Memphis, and many other cities before the water reaches the Gulf.

    There’s an urban legend in London that a glass of the city’s tap water has been on average through seven people’s guts.

    There is another one that says in London you are never more than one yard (meter) away from a rat. I don’t know if either legend is true.

  114. James at 48 says:

    The next time we retrofit our 1956 model we will be doing this. As you note the next bad drought will be painful. We were blessed during the 80s and 90s, now, not so much. Gonna be mainly dry during this Negative PDO.

  115. JohnB says:

    If you want to reduce water use but don’t want to go the whole hog of dual flush, just put a brick in the Cistern. It reduces water use by about 2 litres per flush but that isn’t enough to effect the flush.

  116. Box of Rocks says:

    phlogiston says:
    January 13, 2014 at 1:55 pm
    Chris4692 on January 12, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    In the Mid west US, water is used, and reused. Sioux Falls takes wter from the Big Sioux River, uses it, cleans it, and puts it back. The Big Sioux joins the Missouri River, Sioux City takes water from the River, uses it, cleans it, and puts it back. The same for Omaha, Memphis, and many other cities before the water reaches the Gulf.

    There’s an urban legend in London that a glass of the city’s tap water has been on average through seven people’s guts.

    There is another one that says in London you are never more than one yard (meter) away from a rat. I don’t know if either legend is true.

    So Chris4692 – Since Saint Louis gets there water from the Mississippi, is that why Budweiser taste so bad…

    Nothing like going to Loveland Pass and adding to Clear Creek – which Coors uses….

  117. Patrick says:

    “Richard111 says:

    January 12, 2014 at 5:59 am”

    I understand that in some local authorities in Australia collected rain water is metered and factored into water usage bills (At the waste end I think). But here in Sysney so much water is wasted due to leaks in the system, and the water companies will not do a thing about it. So much rain, in fact twice as much as London, falls on Sydney which most of it simply flows out to sea. Warragamba dam overflowed last year when Tim Flannery said all our dams would be empty. In fact, there was talk of extending the capacity of the dam.

    I have heard that “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If’s it’s brown, flush it down” before.

    In London, most of the water comes from ground water and is very “hard” simply because it’s been filtered through chalk. Not sure if it’s been though other people several times, but I heard that urban legend too.

    We have low-flo loos here in Australia, with the flappy rubber valves. They fail all too easily. We also have the waterless urinals in many commercial buildings which are bloody awful!

  118. Adam says:

    Dear Anthony, on a serious note, most public toilets in Sydney do not have any soap for washing hands. That’s right, you read that correctly. Australia is considered a first world country, but they actually do not provide any soap in the public toilets.

    Considering that Polio is spread mainly via Fecal-Oral transmission and considering that Australians make a very large fuss about Polio Vaccinations, you might have thought that they would splash out on some soap in public toilets which would help prevent the spread of any outbreak of Polio. But they do not.

    It is scandalous and extremely disgusting to know that there are many people walking around Sydney who may have had a “number two” only to find that there is no soap provided for them to wash their hands!! IT IS DISGUSTING!!! They then go on and touch railings, handles, door knobs etc… which somebody else may then touch, who may then touch food or otherwise place their fingers in their mouths. I.e. Fecal-Oral transmission is enabled by the stupid policy of not providing soap in the public toilets in Sydney. I do not know about the rest of Australia, Sydney was the only place I visited this year.

  119. Doug says:

    Since i’m in California I’m not going to install a low flush toilet, yet. During the last drought water was rationed based upon historical usage.

  120. wobble says:

    Kit Carruthers says:

    Funny, a recent article on here said that there’s plenty of water and that it’s all just a UN scare tactic to control population (or something).

    There is no GLOBAL shortage of fresh water. Any claims that the earth is somehow running low on fresh water are bunk. The earth is constantly distilling water in huge amounts.

    Now, this truthful statement doesn’t preclude the facts that: (1) certain local and regional areas can experience water shortages; (2) the water supply in certain areas might not be sufficient for handling continued population growth; and (3) the populations of certain areas are depleting their fresh water stores faster than such stores are replenishing.

    Any area that experiences seasonal or cyclical drought is an example of (1). Phoenix is an example of (2). Mexico City, with it’s ever depleting aquifer, is an example of (3). The increasing examples of 1 and 2 are more attributable to population growth than changing climate.

    Unfortunately, far too many environmentalists will attempt to claim GLOBAL shortages based on anecdotes of 1, 2, and 3.

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