A stage further on from making changes to lifestyle and patterns of consumption is to invest in water-saving fixtures and fittings. Many of these are not expensive and they can help you make further cuts in your consumption.
Water-saving taps and showerheads are either aerated or flow-restricted. Some can be retro- fitted to existing taps with a minimum of fuss.
Aerated taps and showerheads force air through the water, cutting consumption by half. The flow is soft and bubbly with no reduction of pressure. In flow-restrictor taps and showerheads, the water is
forced through smaller holes. This results in a fine, firm spray and a signifhcant reduction in water consumption .
When low-flush toilets were first introduced some while ago, they were not very efficient and as a consequence people were flushing them twice, which increased water consumption. Designs have improved a great deal since then. Modern low- or dual-Hush toilets use much less water than old-style toilets and are mandatory in some countries for all new installations. Normally these allow for both half-Aushing and full-flushing. Most countries insist on no more than 6 litres (12 pints) for a full Alush and 3 litres for a half-flush.
A new type of toilet that has recently become available has an integrated hand basin and tap. When you wash your hands or run water into the basin, the water is diverted into the toilet’s cistern and is used for flushing. This design about 20 per cent more water-saving than a dual-flush toilet.
There are also a number of devices on the market that allow you to retro-fit a standard toilet and reduce water consumption. Some designs fit into the cistern and turn the toilet into a dual-flush; others allow you to control the duration of the Aush. Toilets with front-mounted handles can also be converted into dual-flush toilets.
It is estimated that flushing toilets account for about a third of a household’s water consumption. One way of cutting water use considerably is to install a composting toilet. This type of waterless toilet, which turns human waste into organic compost, connects directly to a large sealed container in a basement or lower level. From time to time, other organic matter, such as an clippings or vegetable peelings, must be added to the container to assist the breakdown of the human waste, which is otherwise chiefly carried out by air circulating in the container. An exhaust vent extracts sunells and e
them above the roofline. Although these toilets require no energy input, a small fan is usually recommended .
One disadvantage of a composting toilet is that it can be difficult to install in a standard house. In some parts of the world, for example, urban areas in the United States, they are prohibited. However, for new houses, particularly those in remote areas where drainage is problematic, they can be a good solution.