A study by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation shows that water-saving fixtures significantly reduce residential water use.The “Residential End Uses of Water” study seems to debunk the assertations of Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) and others that water-saving toilets require more frequent double flushing. Knollenberg claims to have received “thousands of phone calls, letters and e-mails from disgruntled consumers who are angry that their new toilets repeatedly clog, require multiple flushings and do not save water.” As a result, he is seeking to repeal what he calls “the ridiculous federal mandates” on toilet size and showerhead flow (1.6 gpf and 2.5 gpm, respectively) contained in the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

The study shows just the opposite to be true. According to its findings, individuals living in households with low-flow, 1.6 gpf toilets flushed an average of 5.04 times per day, while those living in houses with older, 3.5 gpf toilets flushed an average of 4.92 per day, a statistically insignificant difference. Over the course of the study, water-saving toilets used 52% less water than the older models needed.

“This study confirms that new fixtures are not only saving water, but toilet performance is comparable to older models,” said Jim Manwaring, AWWARF’s Executive Director. “Together, we are conserving one of America’s most precious resources, clean water, saving families money, and reducing the use of the plunger.”

The study was conducted in 14 U.S. cities and Canada from 1996-99. Over 1180 households actively participated, while another 18,000 residences provided historical information about their water use.