Half a flush

A newcomer to Australia is usually surprised that the toilet bowls here are different from those found in most countries. And no, I’m not referring to how flushed water spirals in the opposite direction here in the Southern hemisphere compared to those in the Northern hemisphere. That is a myth, by the way. If the design of the toilet bowl is the same, the flushed water should spiral in the same direction regardless of hemispherical location.

I’m actually referring to the fact that toilets here don’t have one flush button or lever but two! That’s right, you have two options here. One for the full flush (usually indicated by a full circle) and one for the half flush (usually indicated by a circle with a diameter line).

A few people are confused by the concept of the dual flush system though. They are afraid of underestimating the amount of flush they need after going to the toilet (and consequently, leaving evidence of their usage). In case you are one of the confused, the half flush is for Number 1’s and the full flush is for Number 2’s.

Kidding aside, I think the idea of dual flush toilets is pretty clever, not to mention environment friendly. It boggles the mind how much clean drinkable water is wasted flushing down toilets. With this innovation, imagine all that water saved from using the half flush instead of the full flush. Here is a quote from the Australian Government’s environment website:

Studies conducted in 1993 simulated the estimated projected water savings in Australia, over time, of a 6/3 litre dual flush system compared with other flushing volumes. The study addressed total current population, projected population, total current number of households, projected number of households, number of toilets per household, and flush volumes in current use. The results of the study showed that water consumption from toilet cisterns (litres per person per day) has fallen from 55 litres in 1982 to 18 litres in 1993.

Data from the study clearly showed that, for Australia, the amount of water used for toilet flushing in the year 2020 was anticipated to be less than the amount used in 1991. This result was achieved even with a projected population increase to 26,707,000.

We’re lucky that we have dual flush toilets here, specially now that there is a water shortage crisis. If we didn’t, we could have run out of water a long time ago. Now, if only the flushless urinals take off in Australia, too.

Published in: on November 15, 2007 at 12:15 am  Leave a Comment