Drop a brick in your toilet to fight the drought

Dropping a brick isn't something you normally brag about, but in this instance, it could help you go from water hog to water hero at home.

In California, which is experiencing the very real effects of a record-breaking drought, it's still hard to get people to take responsibility for water conservation in their own homes and habits, where their actions can have a direct impact on not only the overall amount of residential water used every day, but can also result in a smaller water bill.

There are a number of ways to reduce water use in the home, such as taking shorter showers, installing low-flow faucets and showerheads, and cutting back on landscape and lawn watering, but there's another place where a small action can make a big difference, and that's in our toilets. According to the EPA, more water is used by Americans each day to flush toilets than any other activity (at home), so drastically reducing the amount of clean municipal water that gets flushed away each day can add up to a significant amount.

In California alone, an estimated 203 million gallons of treated municipal drinking water are wasted every day due to an average flush volume of about 2.7 gallons, when compared to using modern ultra low flush toilets, which require just 1.6 gallons.

One easy way to reduce that amount, even with older toilets, is to displace some of the water in the tank with a brick, which allows you to get the same flush pressure, but to use up to half a gallon less water per flush. However, keeping an actual clay brick in your toilet tank might not be the best for your plumbing, so this age-old water saving trick for the bathroom is getting a modern makeover, and the creators of the project are using crowdfunding and a bit of humor to help boost home water conservation efforts.

The Drop-A-Brick is a rubber brick designed to be lightweight enough to ship anywhere (8 oz), and yet when in place, to be heavy enough to stay put in the tank, displacing half of a gallon of water and saving up to 2 gallons per day per person. The hollow brick can be compressed for shipping, but when filled with a little bit of water, a hydro-gel inside the brick absorbs enough water to expand up to 200 times its size, allowing it to sink to the bottom of the tank.

© Drop-A-BrickTo launch the Drop-A-Brick, the creators have turned to crowdfunding to raise the money for tooling costs and the first production run, and backers of the Indiegogo campaign can pick up one with a pledge of just $15, or donate one to a needy family with a pledge of $12, or do both for $27.

You don't need a rubber brick to save half a gallon of water per flush, as there are ways to displace that water in the tank without worrying about a disintegrating brick (such as putting the brick into a ziplock bag, using a similarly-sized rock instead of a brick, or filling a half gallon plastic or glass jug with water and putting that in the tank), but if you want to be part of "the bowl movement", and you'd like to be able to tell your friends and family that you're saving water by dropping a rubber brick, then by all means support this project.

Tags: California | Drought | Water Conservation

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK

treehugger slideshows