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Conservation alleviates water shortage concerns

Carbon County, Utah and 19 states across the nation are currently plagued with severe drought conditions.

Water shortages pose serious problems because people are dependent on water for basic survival needs, personal hygiene and economic stability as well as growth.

Cities and municipalities in the United States with limited amounts of the natural resource are steadily tapping out supplies, according to the American Water Works Associations.

Even in the Midwest where the natural resource appears abundant, cities are fighting over water rights and distribution. Like staking claims during the Gold Rush, billboards have started to pop up expressing the territorial rights.

Water shortages impact all residents in Carbon County, the state and the nation.

Rates tend to increase during drought cycles and watering lawns as well as washing cars can be restricted.

Toilets account for 28 percent of all water consumed in private residences and public facilities.

When the focus centers on implementing conservation practices, the positive effects of replacing toilets become more evident.

On Thanksgiving Day 1999, 16.4 million Americans flushed toilets during halftime of the annual football game, consuming 48.5 million gallons of water, according to natural resource data compiled nationwide.

The amount would have been cut in half if consumers had installed low-consumption toilets in the households.

Federal regulations mandate that all toilets operate on 1.6 gallons of water, as opposed to the previous standard of four gallons per flush.

The most common toilet technology is known as gravity-fed. The technology is supposed to deliver water at a rate that creates a siphoning action that pulls the contents of the bowl down the drain line.

The relatively new pressure-assist toilet technology collects built-up energy inside a vessel that compresses air using water pressure from the supply line.

When the toilet handle is depressed, the harnessed energy is released, forcing the water into the specially designed bowl with a jet at the entrance of the trap way and pushing bowl contents down a standard drain line.

Pressure-assist toilets generate almost three times the flow rate of gravity toilets at 70 gallons per minute and can be installed in the same dimensional area as traditional units, according to conservation experts.

The primary difference between the two types of toilets is that pressure-assist systems provide a "push" instead of a "pull," pointed out the water conservation experts. The push function keeps the energy behind the water, forcing it down the drain line to complete the job with a single flush.

A gravity-fed model may be the best choice for Carbon County residents who are happy with the toilet's performance, explained the American Water Works Association.

But local consumers who have experienced poor performance may want to consider opting for pressure-assist technology.

Experience proves that children are harsh on toilets, continued the association. Household items and toys tossed into toilets by youngsters demand powerful flushes to clear the bowls.

Residents should also consider the age of residential plumbing systems since older drain lines are larger in diameter than necessary.

Pressure-assisted technology may resolve plumbing problems, concluded the conservation groups and water works association.

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