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Conserve water: us? Ontario residents and businesses have never worried much about conserving water; as a result, we are among the world’s most wasteful water users: a drowning 260 litres per person per day. Calls for voluntary conservation have had little effect. Now, water conservation rules are being tightened.

The Building Code already restricts the installation of toilets using more than six litres per flush. Now it will be illegal to sell them. A draft Regulation under the Green Energy Act, amending O. Reg. 82/95, will forbid the sale of wasteful conventional tank toilets after January 1, 2011.  Newer toilets use only six litres, not a wasteful 13 litres of pure water per flush. And they are likely to work better than putting a brick or two in the toilet tank.

According to Environment Minister John Gerretsen, outlawing the sale of conventional toilets will save an estimated 35,000 litres of clean water and $90 every year for an average household—not limited to newly constructed homes.

Several Ontario cities have given financial incentives (with offers ending on March 31, 2011), to encourage residents to switch to low-flow toilets, but poor performance from some models have dragged down their popularity. There is also the question of how people actually use the toilets—the Minister’s optimistic projections don’t allow for people who make up for the lower flow by flushing twice. Hopefully, the new model toilets will work well enough to “flush” this problem away.

Jessica Yuan and Dianne Saxe

1 “McGuinty Government Proposes Mandating Water-Saving Toilets”. Helping Ontario Families Conserve Water. Newsroom: for residents, At http://news.ontario.ca/ene/en/2010/04/helping-ontario-families-conserve-water.html

2 For a list of Municipal Toilet Rebate Programs see:  http://www.canadiantire.ca/affiliates/promo/toilets/toilets_en.html

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