Whistler flush with less 

Low flow toilets intended to conserve water

After more than a month of consultation with area stakeholders, council is on the verge of passing a bylaw which requires all new buildings to install low-flow toilets.

The bylaw also calls for water-efficient plumbing in things like showerheads, bathroom and kitchen faucets and direct flush urinals in all new construction within the resort.

"It’s good to see this type of initiative moving forward," said Councillor Ken Melamed at the last council meeting as council gave third reading to the water-efficient plumbing fixture bylaw.

The bylaw will see more low-flow toilets in the resort. These low-flow toilets will reduce the average litres of water per flush by more than half, to six litres per flush. Currently most conventional toilets consume 13 litres per flush.

Under the bylaw showerheads will have a maximum flow rate of 9.5 litres per minute at a certain pressure rate. Likewise, kitchen and bathroom faucets will have a maximum flow rate of 8.3 litres per minute at a certain pressure rate.

"A lot of the showers and kitchen faucets are in that range now," said the RMOW’s General Manager of Engineering and Public Works Brian Barnett, who presented the bylaw for third reading.

"It’s fairly common in Whistler already (especially in hotels and restaurants). It just brings it into a requirement for everybody."

Barnett however admitted that the effectiveness of low-flow toilets have a poor perception in the larger community.

"When low-flow toilets first came out on the market years ago they weren’t well designed and they didn’t flush properly and there were a lot of operating problems with them. And so they developed a bad reputation," he said.

"In more recent years those technical problems have been sorted out and they actually work really well, and so we’ve got to overcome this perception of them right now."

Included in the staff report to council was a list of low-flow toilets and a performance rating. Barnett said this information would be available for the public at the building department.

Municipal staff presented the proposed bylaw to members of the Canadian Home Builders Association of Whistler (CHBA), the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE), the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) and some Whistler residents over the last month. All groups supported the initiatives, which are designed to reduce water consumption on the whole and are part of the larger picture for the future of Whistler’s water.

In his letter of support for the bylaw change, CHBA President Rod Nadeau wrote:


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