Education

LAUSD replacing toilets to save water during drought

There are tens of thousands of water closets and urinals at the district’s schools, but many of them are inefficient, dated or in disrepair. LAUSD plans to replace many of the toilets to help save on water.
There are tens of thousands of water closets and urinals at the district’s schools, but many of them are inefficient, dated or in disrepair. LAUSD plans to replace many of the toilets to help save on water.
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The Los Angeles Unified school board approved $5 million Tuesday to replace 8,500 water closets and urinals as part of a growing initiative to conserve water during the California drought. 

Swapping out inefficient, dated or broken toilets will save 100 million gallons of water annually, LAUSD facilities officials estimate.

"Old-fashioned toilets use almost three gallons of waters per flush," said Robert Laughton, director of environmental health and safety for the district.

Americans use more water flushing the toilets each day than washing dishes or taking a shower, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

But toilets are not the district's largest use of water; Laughton said grassy fields suck up the most water at school campuses.

On the heels of Gov. Jerry Brown's order directing communities to reduce water consumption by 25 percent, Laughton said his team is assessing each of the district's 800 schools for potential savings.

Over the years, the district has replaced more than 50 artificial athletic fields with artificial turf.

“Groom and broom it once a month and you can play on it 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Laughton said.