Worst Design Ever Award (Part II)

On the 30th June 2015, we published an article on the flushing of boys urinals in the toilet facilities of schools in Johannesburg (this may be the case throughout South Africa), which is the single cause of significant waste of water...

As stated back in June 2015, the design principle is simple and works something like this:
  • A constantly running tap fills an aluminium tray (or tank) with approximately 10 to 15 Litres of water (depending on the size of the urinal - this could be two tanks).
  • Through the slight tilt of the tray, as the tray fills with water, it becomes "off-balance" and decants the water onto the face of the urinals, therefore washing the urinal and taking aways the smells.
  • This process is repeated every 3 to 5 minutes, 24 hours each and every day...independent of use!!!
As a result of a monitoring which began at another Johannesburg school, we were again reminded of the quantity and cost of water, which is nothing short of enormous. It was found that the constant cost of this process is 300 Litres of water every 15 minutes (on a Saturday and Sunday and outside of school hours). This of course calculates to approximately 10,000 KL of water each year, at a cost in excess of R200,000, not considering the additional sewage charges applicable.

Whilst the schools caretakers are making every effort to minimise the rate the tray/tanks refill, by adjusting the flow of water, this is not the long term solution.

The recommendation is change...we need to gradually eradicate all schools of this system as a matter of priority. Solutions will be tested during the following month, as this change has a cost implication, which schools are hard pressed to finance. We shall further report on the measures taken at the various schools we are working with.