Water is Life!
With the dry season in T&T expected to be more intense this year (according to the MET office), it's important that we take action into our own hands!
While the Water and Sewage Authorities (WASA) for many years have been preaching about water conservation, we can honestly say that it hasn't become quite the norm for the majority. We still take extra long showers, leave the taps running while brushing our teeth, watering our plants or washing our cars, and the list goes on and on.. This, compounded by the loss of water estimated to be 102 million gallons per day due to leaks from aging infrastructure on the island, should be a cause for more responsible and urgent action from all!
WATER conservation needs to become a conscious decision by all as individuals, families and communities. Not too long ago before pipe borne water had existed in Trinidad and Tobago, water was seen as a precious resource, one which is to be used wisely and not wasted. We can all agree that this worldwide crisis is now getting much closer to home and it's not a problem for the government to solve, but all ours as we are the end users in it all. Taking a closer look into how we use this precious resource starting in our own homes will allow us to understand the best ways to manage consumption. Simple solutions such as rainwater harvesting (which was the main practice not that long ago) can be re-introduced and even promoted on our island giving residents a renewed sense of responsibility.
While it's obvious to many how water can be easily wasted during showers/baths, washing of clothes, dishes etc. we seldom look at water usage in toilets; this is perhaps because we've gotten so used to the conventional toilets. Seeing gallons of water flush down a toilet after each use has somehow become the norm, acceptable, just the way it is and while this invention is over 100 years old, we have somehow never really thought of the options that may exist. Compared to simply turning a tap off or reducing the flow of water, it's not the case when it comes to toilets.
So then what can we do? You may be aware of low-flush toilets which can reduce water consumption by roughly 20% in some cases, but what you may not be aware of are a completely different group of toilets, what we like to refer to as MODERN WATER-LESS COMPOSTING TOILETS; toilet systems which have been around for almost four (4) decades! You've may have also seen news of Bill Gates speaking about REINVENTING THE TOILET. (Photo credit: bbc.com)
Onsite wastewater management systems i.e. modern water-less composting toilets, have been around for quite sometime, and do not require any water because they utilize either gravity, vacuum or foam to move the solids from the toilet bowl to the treatment chamber. In some cases, low flush toilets can use up to 97% less water than conventional toilets, which is a great alternative seeing that you're able to not only save on water, but not have to compromise on aesthetics, safety, form or function, while also giving back nutrients to the earth in the form of compost. (Mimicking nature and creating a closed loop).
Hundreds of gallons of water are therefore wasted each week as it literally is flushed down the toilets . That's why the Living Building Challenge T&T Collaborative has spent time and energy working on introducing systems such as this, to T&T as part of a model green building pilot project. To learn more about these two (2) initiatives, it's importance and how you can help make this become the new norm in both residential and commercial building sectors, refer to "INITIATIVES" !