REPLY TO: It's time to stop wasting so much water

27/09/2010 | I was really pleased to see the Star Letter from Keith Winst in your June edition. We do need more debate about saving water in the UK and Mr. Winst has done us all a favour by moving that debate on. However I do have to point out some errors in the facts which he has quoted about WC suites. Firstly, the current UK Water Regulations 1999 require that a newly installed WC suite (sometimes known in the trade as a 'pan') flushes no more than 6 litres. Mr. Winst is incorrect to say that "regulations impose a 4.5 litre flush". However, it is important to note that reputable sanitaryware manufacturers have voluntarily developed single-flush WC suites which now flush with a maximum of 5 or 4.5 or even 4 litres. These reduced volumes have done much to improve the water efficiency of the bathroom. Some advanced WC suites are designed to be dual-flush, where the 'average' of the short and long flushes is 3 litres. These super low volume WC suites fully conform with the Water Regulations and pass all the required tests. Secondly, syphonic suites (double trap syphonics as they were known) are no longer available in the UK since they were water guzzlers and required a full 9 litres to make them operate. They will not work with less. They are therefore illegal in new installations. Thirdly the very latest research sponsored by the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (April 2010) has shown that almost 1 million homes in the UK are still using 13 litre WC suites. If these were replaced through a simple Toilet Scrappage Scheme instant water savings would be achieved and the nation's carbon footprint reduced. Mr. Winst is absolutely right to talk about the misuse of these new dual flush suites. If a new low volume WC suite is installed and operated according to manufacturer's instructions it will give good reliable and water-efficient service for years and years. But, as with all household appliances, if they are misused the results are inevitably poor. Modern WC Suites are technically advanced. Some now even use recycled water. Replacing the old water guzzlers for these new appliances should be a priority in the push for water efficiency in the home. Many of these new water efficient products are listed in the BMA's Water Efficient Product Labelling Scheme and can be found in the online database at www.water-efficiencylabel.org.uk/ Christian Taylor-Hamlin, Technical Director, BMA

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