Go ahead and raise your hand if you drink the water from your toilet.  Anyone?… Anyone?…. Bueller?… Bueller?…. Fido, put your paw down!… So no one?… Interesting.  Well, why the heck do you waste so much of that valuable drinking water by flushing it down the ol’ porcelain throne?  It doesn’t have to be like this.  Several new products on the market are aiming to reduce the amount of potable water we use in our homes… one such product is the AQUS System from Water Saver Technologies.

This thing is pretty spiffy… it takes the water from your sink that you brush your teeth and wash your hands with, cleans it, stores it in a 5.5 gallon tank, then pumps it into your toilet.  Basically you are using graywater to flush your toilet, not potable water.  Quick breakdown:

Potable water – The freshy fresh.  Drinkable.
Graywater – Still usable.  Generally from your sinks and clothes washer.
Black Water – Not usable.  Flushed toilets, etc.

What kind of impact does this one system have?  Quite a large one, actually.  40 percent of the water consumed in our homes is used to flush toilets, and we use A LOT of water people!  The average American family goes through 250,000 gallons each year!  One AQUS system can reduce that number by up to 10,000 gallons a year, reducing both your water and sewage bills.

The AQUS is fairly easy to install and runs around the $200 range.  It will pay for itself in about four years of operation, then after that, sweet sweet savings!  They are being distributed all across the country now.  Hit up Water Saver Tech‘s page to track down your local distributor.

Note: I recently filmed a special for HGTV called Get Green, (which will be on HGTV.com July/August range) and installed one of these systems.  I’ll keep you posted on when the series goes live.

Also worth noting… if you can’t afford, or don’t feel like installing a graywater reclamation system and still want to save water, follow this simple rule:

If it’s yellow, let it mellow… if it’s brown, flush it down.

A motto for the French Polynesian Island, Tuamotos:

“In the land of fun and sun, we never flush for number one.”


About Joshua Foss

Joshua is a leading voice for transformational change. He is the editor of Metro Hippie, co-founder and director of development of the Ecala Group, and adjunct faculty at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He is also an ambassador for the Living Building Challenge and is a frequent speaker at national conferences, trade shows and summits.