Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Waterlogged: The Magic Toilet

One of the differences between Vermont and Florida other than the sun, the heat, the traffic, the development, the flat land, the beaches, the alligators and Walgreens on every corner is the fact you have to pay for water. Pardon my naivete if anyone pays for water in Vermont. I never did in the 10 years I lived there...

I'm fine with it. I think we should pay more for it. I think there will be a day when we have wars over fresh water as we already have annual droughts and severe water restrictions. But I figure the more people have to pay for it, the more likely they will conserve it.
  • You can turn the water off when you brush your teeth
  • You can wash the dishes by hand instead of running the dishwasher
  • You can get in the shower and then turn the water on. (Don't try this in Vermont. or with clothes on)
  • You can do as Ash & Kate do and not flush the toilet every time - "If it's yellow, let it mellow". Why flush three gallons every time you pee? Be grateful the famous credo of native Montanans has not left the outhouse state - "If it's brown, keep it around."

I've taken to the Mellow Yellow idea and when I moved here in January, I noticed that I had a magic toilet. Pee in it and it disappears after a few minutes. Magic! I tightened all of the valves. Checked for leaks. All was well. My water bill seemed normal until the second bill when the consumption had jumped from 40 gallons a day to 70! 40 seemed outrageous. I blamed my sister for a few of those gallons from when she came to visit (and I still do so, especially since she no longer reads the blog due to her impending childbirth. What is up with pregnant women....can't go to the Everglades at night, can't read my blog). So I checked with maintenance who said - no leak...I'm apparently just wasting water. So when the next bill arrived at it was 84 gallons a day I said no way. Come check the magic toilet again.

They came out again and apparently had not noticed the leaky flap. The maintenance guy told me most apartments have the faulty flap. No big deal. It's a huge deal! I made him change it and asked how many other apartments needed to be changed.

The landlords were still skeptical and had me wait 2 more months to see how the water bill would change. What do you know, I'm back down to 42 gallons a day. They made maintenance change hundreds of toilet flaps.

By my crude calculations, my apartment was responsible for the waste of 9600 gallons of water in 4 months time. If 200 people had the same issue (and there are 2000 people in this complex), than that is 1,920,000 gallons of water wasted during one of Florida's worst droughts. I can't say they would not have fixed the issue if I had not complained, but I'd like to think a little credit can be given to the magic toilet.


  1. Good job baby, its important to complain sometimes. Here we should start complaining 'cause my President (Correa) allowed the incidental fishing of the sharks, allowing the fishermen to commercialice 'em. :(

  2. Sharks are delicious.

    Plus in Ecuador the rule is "If it's yellow, pee in the street"

  3. FANTASTIC!!! Very proud of you for the toilet thing. I didn't wash my hair today and took a shorter shower to conserve water!

    Also, if you wash dishes by hand you should turn OFF the water while you wash, statistics show the dishwasher, when fully loaded is more water efficient.

  4. Take the credit. If you don't someone else will!