Flush this ban

Another case of sending a ban to do work that price signals ought to. From the Toronto Star, which quite enjoys banning things:

In a remarkable display of environmental consciousness, the leaders of 29 municipalities around the Great Lakes have adopted the worthwhile goal of cutting their water consumption by at least 15 per cent.

That action is an encouraging sign that many cities are now committed to the principles of “reduce, reuse and recycle.” When it comes to water consumption, the key is to reduce the amount being drained from our lakes. The province could play an increased role by banning the sale of wasteful traditional toilets in favour of low-flow models.

Toronto Mayor David Miller called for such a ban at a recent meeting of officials from Great Lakes cities. Low-flow, quite simply, is the way to go. Some toilet models use as little as six litres of water per flush compared to more than 20 litres for some wasteful older brands. That is a lot of liquid. Low-flow toilets do a good job of removing waste and save consumers money by lowering their water costs. And they help the environment because cities don’t have to purify as much water.

If it’s so difficult for cities to purify water, charge more. In Ontario at least, cities are required to charge the full cost of water treatment — the real problem is that cities, like any other mass consumer of Great Lakes water, don’t pay to take water out, so the price is artificially low. Rather than deal with that problem, cities are going to police toilet capacities.


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