Clean water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource in modern society. This seems a little ironic considering how much of the earth’s surface is covered by water. We also have a lot of water around us in the form of rivers, dams and lakes.
There is a big difference, though, between water and clean, safe water. Waterborne diseases are a big risk factor and still kill large numbers of people in this day and age, mostly in the developing world where access to safe, treated water is limited.
In the developed western world most people have access to clean water, but that does not mean that this is an unlimited resource. With population growth and increasing urbanization being a challenge in modern society, pressure is placed on many types of infrastructure. Water purification is one of the areas that is subject to this pressure, and this is aggravated when so much clean water is, literally, flushed down the drain.
The common commode-type toilet that we are all familiar with and that is in just about every home in the western world may get the job done, but it can also be a terrible culprit when it comes to water wastage. Obviously there are times when a commode must be used, but a urinal should be used whenever possible and practical, as they use far less water per flush than a commode toilet.
Older toilets frequently required 3.5-5.5 gallons of water to flush vs. an older urinal at 2-3 gallons. Modern toilets can get the same efficiency with around 1.5 gallons and modern urinals less than a gallon, some models requiring none at all. A half-gallon saving may not sound like much, but when you think about how many individual flushes take place per day in the average suburb, office building, school, etc., the difference becomes significant.
So now we have established that a urinal is far more water-efficient than a commode and should be used whenever appropriate. Going one step further an even better idea, that will have minimum negative effect on the environment, is to make sure that the urinals are of the waterless type.