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The world of waterless urinals – Will it revolutionise water conservation?

May 3, 2012

Writer: Meera Vijayann

Honestly, the idea made me a cringe a little at first. But I admit, I found it interesting. Earlier this week, I came across a strange but interesting story about how waterless urinals might be the way ahead. Environmentally safe, these no-flush loos are supposed to be the latest fad among the eco-conscious. Of course, considering Indian society still largely regards water as the sole way of cleansing oneself i.e. be it toilet habits, the use of handkerchiefs over soft tissues or being generally skeptical about small conveniences such as hand sanitisers etc., I was skeptical whether this would actually be accepted in India

Photo courtesy – Hank Mitchell

However, I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that the mayor actually gave the ‘go-ahead’ to installing waterless urinals at Ripon Buildings in Chennai last year on an experimental basis. They were installed in a bus stand in Trichy this year too. Better still, there were no exorbitant rates for the public to use waterless urinals despite its actual cost being relatively higher than usual. So, coming back to the question, here’s why I found this interesting. 

Water scarcity is one of India’s biggest problems. Most Indian towns and villages, as it has been reported time and time again in the news, do not have access to sanitation or water. Installing a waterless urinal in these areas might be helpful as it has lesser maintenance costs,  a simple cartridge mechanism, low installation costs and is eco-friendly. Unlike regular toilets that use a large amount of water for cleaning and constant flushing, the cartridge in a waterless urinal acts as a drain tap. On an average, the waterless urinal also helps conserve close to 150,000 litres of water every year.

While this may seem an innovative, simple and efficient way, getting the Indian public (not just the majority that live in rural India) will prove the biggest challenge. After all, they say, old habits die hard. Currently, there is only one known supplier of waterless urinals in India, which makes it obvious that the idea hasn’t taken off too well with the masses. To be fair, everyone in India are already aware of how filthy toilets can get with water scarcity so many probably don’t understand how going ‘waterless’ can mean ‘clean’. As a toilet owner who has access to water in the city, I found myself wondering if there was a possibility that I might shift to using a waterless toilet if I had the chance. Well, I guess the idea still worries me a little.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2012 11:45 pm

    Waterless urinals are a great thing and need to be taken seriously.. It is wonderful to see more awareness being build around them. Advances in waterless technology make them a much more viable option and with an average savings of 40,000 gallons per year the financial and sustainability cases are strong..

    One of the new technologies that make them more cost effective and less problematic is a product called “The Green Cartridge” made by a US company called LiquidBreaker (www.LiquidBreaker.com). It is worth checking out and waterless urinals are here to stay so get on board.

    • May 9, 2012 4:25 am

      @ Jay Starter – The idea is slowly being embraced in India, which I think definitely is a good thing, considering the severe problems of water availability here. It’s surely a positive sign that it’s being well received wherever it has been set up (especially in small towns) and that the government is taking the risk of initiating and spreading awareness about it! I will surely check out ‘The Green Cartridge’. I don’t think India has too many companies producing waterless urinals/toilets yet though. Sure there will soon be more companies once there is a growing market for it!

      • May 9, 2012 4:55 am

        Morning Media – I think waterless urinals will explode internationally in the years to come as long as technologies continue to improve (which it appears they are).. I know that LiquidBreaker is developing a urinal of their own (using their cartridge) but do not know the launch time frame.

        Might be technology worth taking over to India…

  2. themisswits permalink
    May 8, 2012 4:22 pm

    @Jay Starter : My building facilities manager just installed LiquidBreaker’s Green Cartridge in all of our waterless urinals a few months ago because of plumbing problems. No complaints and we haven’t had to replace any cartridges either. I definitely recommend the Green Cartridge to anyone who is installing waterless urinals or currently has them installed.

  3. August 21, 2012 6:32 pm

    Uridan Waterless System is time tested and rated as No. 1 waterless urinal in the world. It is the only Urinal waterless Urinal which has been successfully functioning in 42 countries around the world for last 14 years. It also holds the distinction of being the only waterless urinal to have been installed in Sydney Olympics in 2000 and London Olympics 2012. In India these urinals are installed in Coimbatore, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Vadodara, Ahmedabad and has a ever growing clientele. Uridan Waterless System has been introduced in India by M/s. Ace Aqua Saver Pvt. Ltd. based in Vadodara. It works on a similar sealand liquid technology.but a patented 3 pipe technology of differential density. It has no moving parts, no cartridges to replace, the biggest water-lock capacity in the world which make it the most economical system in terms of maintenance cost. All one needs to do in the name of maintainence is clean it with an ANIONIC, Anti-bacterial, Hydrophobic liquid once and day and once a year a change of sealant liquid The warranty of the product is 15 years and it is 100% odor free. You can actually put your nose 2 inches above the steel vent and take a deep breath and you will not be able to tell you are actually taking a deep breadth of a urinal and this is of a urinal which is being used by a staff or 300 people in a corporate office with atleast 200 uses in each urinal per day. Please check out http://www.uridan.com or http://www.aceaquasaver.in for further information. You have to see it function to believe it. Uridan waterless System is known for its esthetics, utility and extremely low maintenance and hygiene. Just type Uridan or Ace Aqua Saver on Google and you will get all information.

    For further details you are most welcome to contact me.

    Saumil Christian.

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