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Why Should Cities Implement
Water Saver Toilet Fill Diverters?
Last updated 2009.12.10
Good question. Why should municipalities spend taxpayer money to acquire and distribute Water Saver toilet fill diverters?
Because the benefits far outweigh the cost, on simple financials and in many other ways.
Water Savers save much more than water.
The Water Saver also saves money, energy and the environment!
Pretty ambitious for a small piece of plastic, but the Water Saver delivers!
In standard flush toilets, the Water Saver typically saves 3 litres or more per fill.
In Low Flow toilets, the savings are typically 2 litres or more per fill. In Ultra Low Flow
toilets, the savings are typically 1 litre or more per fill.
In a household with four residents, assuming just four flushes per person per day,
and a saving of just 3 litres per fill, Water Savers will save 48 litres per day per household.
Over a year, that comes to 17,520 litres, or 17.5 cubic metres.
In the City of Calgary, water is charged for at a rate of $1.70 per cubic metre
(above and beyond fixed service charges), per figures provided at
their Web site (accessed 2008.06.23).
The Water Saver can save this household $29.75 per year.
Would your ratepayers appreciate a $30 annual saving on their water bill?
According to figures from the Regional District of Peel, it takes about 670 watt-hours to deliver
each cubic metre of treated water. If a household reduces their water consumption by 17.5 cubic metres,
that results in a reduction of about 12 kWh per household per year. Calgary has over 300,000 dwellings
(and about a million residents), so the aggregate electricity savings could be as high as 3.6 GWh annually.
The generation or wholesale price of electricity in Alberta in 2007
was about $81 a MWh. Following on with the Calgary example, 3.6 GWh would be worth about $290,000, annually.
Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions!
In Alberta, about 882 grams of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) is produced for each kWh generated.
Reducing electrical consumption by 12 kWh leads to a reduction of about 10 kg of GHGs per household
per year. Once again extrapolating for Calgary, the GHG savings could be as much as 36 kilotonnes per year.
Save on Sewage Treatment!
All the water that flows into toilets flows back out again into the sewage treatment system.
Reducing the volume of material to be treated saves on operating costs.
Save on Health Care Costs!
There is a direct relation between air pollution, including particulates, and visits to emergency
rooms due to respiratory distress. The Ontario Medical Association estimates that there are thousands
of premature deaths in Ontario alone due to air pollution. Reducing the amount of coal burned to
produce electricity will help improve air quality and the health of our citizens. Burning coal
also releases mercury into the atmosphere, and mercury is a known toxin that causes Minimata disease.
Address Water Scarcity Issues!
The Water Saver might even help address summer water restriction issues, if widely enough deployed.
If your community draws water from an aquifer, the Water Saver will help reduce your draw, possibly
helping with the level of local water tables, which are dropping in many areas due to withdrawals
exceeding the natural replenishment rate. If you are on the Great Lakes, the Water Saver will
reduce your draw from that key water resource. If that doesn't concern you, you need to read the paper, Sentinels of Change
by Williamson, Saros and Schindler (Science Magazine, 13 February 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5916, pp. 887 - 888).
Here's what the Canadian Press wrote:
By John Cotter
The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — Canada's countless lakes contain vital warnings about the effects of climate
change but politicians and policy-makers are allowing the signals to dribble through
their fingers, a renowned scientist says.
Freshwater levels are dwindling and lakes are emitting large amounts of greenhouse
gases, said David Schindler, a University of Alberta biologist.
There is also evidence freshwater habitat that supports plants, fish and other organisms is being destroyed.
“The outlook for lakes and reservoirs and the ecosystem services that they provide is bleak,”
says a report entitled “Sentinels of Change” that was written by Schindler and two colleagues.
It was published Thursday in the journal Science.
“Records from these inland waters may provide the insights necessary to address the dual
challenges of climate change and increased human domination and their effects on lakes
and the larger landscape.”
Schindler founded the Experimental Lakes Project for the federal Fisheries Department in
1968 and directed it until 1989. He has won international awards for his research on aquatic ecosystems.
The report highlights studies that suggest governments will have to rethink the idea of
diverting water in the future from the Great Lakes to parched areas of the United States.
Such diversions would be unsustainable because reduced runoff means the Great Lakes are
only renewing themselves by less than one per cent a year.
As well, the report says politicians aren't grappling with research that shows leaves
and other debris from trees dissolve in fresh water and transform into greenhouse gases
such as carbon dioxide and methane.
The amount of these gases spewing from lakes cancel out the effect of using forests as carbon sinks, he said.
“Once the role of lakes is accounted for, those forests are not going to be net
sinks for carbon. They are going to be net sources into the atmosphere. The numbers
are astronomical. They compare with the amount of carbon that is taken out of the
atmosphere by the oceans.”
Canadian and U.S. lawmakers aren't doing enough to protect the biodiversity of
freshwater habitat, the report says.
It notes that in the 20th century, 123 species of freshwater animals were
recorded as extinct. About one-quarter of amphibians and 25 per cent of freshwater
fish are now considered imperilled.
The report warns that the Great Lakes are on the verge of “invasional meltdown”
from species such as zebra mussels that were imported in ballast water of foreign ships.
Schindler said governments could help deal with the problem by bringing in and
enforcing tougher rules that require foreign ships to clear their ballast water
before entering the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes.
“We are getting a new species in the Great Lakes about every six months,” he said.
“They are wiping out native species.”
The report calls for new and expanded studies on how climate change is affecting lakes and reservoirs.
Schindler said the information is needed so scientists can better understand
changing water levels, carbon cycles, acid rain and the frequency of forest fires.
It is also important for the public and politicians to understand what is at stake.
“I don't think this has been on their radar as much as it should be,” Schindler said.
“I think this will cause some ripples.”
That's a lot of benefits from a simple device that we retail for $5.
Too good to be true?
Why not find out?
Send us an e-mail from your municipal e-mail address, including your name, job title,
and postal address, and I will send you one unit to evaluate, free of charge.
No risk to you, no strings attached. If you aren't impressed, please let me know why.
If you are, I'll be happy to fill your order.
If you have managed to bear with me this far, my thanks, and here are my favourite
reasons for municipalities to not buy Water Savers.
(No names, and paraphrased, to protect the guilty.)
5) We don't meter water use, so we have no way to measure the possible benefit.
4) We already have a water use reduction project underway, which is going to cost a whole lot more,
so this would make us look bad.
3) We don't want residents to use less water. It's a revenue source for the city.
2) Interesting, but the cost comes out of the conservation budget, while the benefit accrues to the operations budget.
1) We got the evaluation unit, but after we installed it for testing, we forgot it. It just works.
Perhaps one of these fits your situation and will save you some time in justifying your decision.
For more information on the Water Saver, please return to our main Water Saver page.
For pricing on bulk orders, please
e-mail us with the desired quantity, and we will provide a quote.
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