Water Conserving Toilets
What constitutes wise use of water?
Ways to Conserve
Can you guess where we use the most water in our homes - whether in the U.S. or Mexico? If you said the bathroom, you would be right.
It is estimated that 27% of indoor water is flushed down the toilet. "What is the problem with that?" you say. While it is true that 70% of the earth is covered by water, only 2.75% of that is fresh water! And the majority of that water is tied up in glaciers or is not accessible. The reality is that less than 1% of the fresh water on the planet is really available for us to use. This raises an important question: does it make sense to contaminate the little fresh water we have with our waste?
Polluting fresh water with human waste can cause drinking water shortage, and no society has yet found a completely sustainable way to deal with sewage. However, challenging the idea of the flush toilet may be a start.
Friends of the Cloud Forest supports the work of the CMWA in sponsoring the construction of composting toilets. Each toilet can save 100,000 to 150,000 liters of water a year. In addition, composting toilets contain the waste by not mixing it with water, which prevents the pollution of groundwater by the high nitrate content of human waste. This composting system prevents the spread of pathogens by using a long term composting process which effectively kills human disease organism found in human waste.
To sponsor a family's composting toilet, visit our Get Involved page.
There is a better way
Prior to the invention of the flush toilet, human and animal waste was used to improve soil fertility and improve crop yields. For everything you need to know about this topic read Humanure by Joseph C. Jenkins.
What if you didn't have enough water to flush your toilet?
This is the real situation for many families in the watershed. For several months of the year, water is scarce. Would you want to use this precious and limited resource to flush the toilet? Having a waste management system that works year round is essential. It needs to be simple, easy to take care of, and sanitary.
A composting toilet???
A composting toilet is a simple system that collects human waste without the use of water. There are a variety of styles and systems available. Some separate urine from feces, some don't. As in any composting system, the fresh material is mixed with dry material. Each deposit or contribution that is made to the composting toilet is covered with sawdust, leaves, or a mix of soil.
What makes this such a good idea?
Conserving water by building a composting toilet