I usually write about water conservation in the context
of ways to have an attractive landscape without using much water.
There have been some developments in SAWS programs to encourage
area residents to use efficient appliances that deserve discussion.
In a few instances, toilet bowls have been used as planters,
but today we are more interested in toilets as a water-using
Since 1994 all new toilets manufactured have been low
flow toilets. The low flow toilets average 1.6 gallons of water
per flush instead of 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush. In the normal
course of things, toilets last about 25 years. SAWS is interested
in speeding up the conversion to low flow toilets because it
is an easy way to save huge amounts of water.
If an average family flushes their toilet five times
per person per day, the water savings in a three-person household
would be about 11,000 gallons per year. With approximately 300,000
households in San Antonio, the difference between having low
flow and high flow toilets is 3300 million gallons per year
Through the Kick the Can Toilet Rebate Program
and the new Toilet Distribution Voucher Program SAWS hopes to
speed up the conversion to low flow toilets. Counting conversions
in schools, apartments, and commercial concerns, if we can speed
up the process of conversion by 10 years that will result in
a water-savings of nearly as much water as we use in San Antonio
in one year!
Through the Kick the Can
Program you can receive a $75 rebate each for up to two new
toilets for your home if you are replacing high flow toilets
with low flow toilets. All toilets since 1994 are low flow toilets
so anyone you select will be a low flow toilet. Do not make
the mistake, however, and purchase one of the cheap versions.
The $4060 toilets are the ones that everyone complains
about. They do not flush well and at times have to be flushed
twice. Spend about $100 for a good toilet and then send SAWS
your receipt for a rebate towards your water bill. For a Kick
the Can rebate application form call 704-7354.
To insure that the old high flow toilets
do not get re-installed in another home, SAWS also requires
that you drop the old appliances off at the toilet recycling
site nearest to your homes. You will need to enter your name,
address, and SAWS account number on the sign-in sheet. The sites
are unmanned and receipts are not issued. The sites are located
at the SAWS Northwest Conservation Site, 6798 Culebra, open
MondayFriday, 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.; Hughes Supply
Company, 4510 Rittiman Rd., open MondayFriday, 8:00 a.m.
until 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.;
SAWS Eastside Service Center, 3930 E. Houston St., open Monday
through Friday, 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.; and Habitat for Humanitys
Restore, 311 Probandt St., open 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Monday
For those of you who want to make sure
you get toilets that work well and save even more money, SAWS
will actually give you the toilet. Call 704-7527 to have us
send you an application for the Toilet Distribution Program
or stop by any SAWS Service Center. Conservation Department
staff will even visit your church, service club or agency to
discuss the program and drop off applications.
You complete the application and send
it to SAWS. SAWS will check to insure that you have not received
your quota of two low flow toilets through the Kick the Can
Program and will send you a voucher to pick up a recommended
toilet at Habitat for Humanity at 311 Probandt St. You may also
request a new showerhead(s). Again, the old toilet needs to
be turned in after the replacement has been completed.
If you are handy, I am told that putting
in a new toilet is easy. SAWS provides the step-by-step instructions.
The SAWS toilet experts tell me that the most important thing
is to get the same size base in the new toilet as the old toilet.
For the rest of us (the unhandy) it will be advisable
to hire a plumber. It is estimated that most plumbers will charge
about $100 for labor to replace a toilet. Also have them fix
all the leaks at the sinks while they are there.
Putting in a new toilet is not as much
fun as gardening, but it is a relatively painless way to save
11,000 gallons of water pear year. Water savings that may prevent
restrictions in the near future and be available for landscapes
and new jobs in the farther future.