Waterless urinals to save water in the city


The City of Cape Town will undertake a project to refurbish City-owned facilities with waterless urinals. Through the replacement of the approximately 5 000 automatic flushing urinals, the City intends saving some 20 million litres of water per year.

Waterless urinals to the value of R30 000 have been installed in City-owned buildings in Parow and Goodwood in recent months. Following on from this pilot project, the City’s Water and Sanitation Department has now undertaken a tender process for the large-scale roll-out of waterless urinals at City-owned buildings and public ablution facilities provided at public transport interchanges and beaches across the city.

‘Not only will the City record huge water savings, these devices also require significantly less maintenance than the automatic flushing urinals and they have a longer lifespan, thereby contributing to the efficient use of the City’s human and financial resources. Our commitment to building a well-run city, where the conservation of our scarce environmental resources is a priority, is to the benefit of all our residents – now and into the future,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg.

Automatic flushing urinals (AFUs) by their nature of operation are a wasteful use of water. These devices often malfunction by continuously running, or typically by flushing too frequently even when most facilities are unoccupied.

‘One AFU, for example, uses approximately half a litre of water with each flush. Most AFUs are set to flush twice an hour for about 12 hours per day which amounts to 12 litres per day or 4 380 litres per year, as opposed to waterless urinals that only require about a litre of clean water on a daily basis to rinse the urinal basin. These calculations demonstrate the obvious benefit of the waterless devices to the City and its residents alike,’ said Councillor Sonnenberg.

The type of waterless urinal preferred by the City works with downward pressure and a flexible rubber tube which clamps shut, thereby eliminating odours. The lifespan of these devices is two years, but if properly maintained they can last longer. Approximately 5 000 AFUs across the city will be gradually replaced with waterless urinals, with the first few hundred to be installed in the current financial year (2014/15) once the tender process has been concluded.

‘The City also urges the private sector, hotels and restaurants in particular, to please make use of this technology where possible. Working together we can significantly improve our water footprint,’ said Councillor Sonnenberg.


Issued by: Integrated Strategic Communication and Branding Department, City of Cape Town

Media enquiries: Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg, Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, City of Cape Town

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