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Retrofitting cities. New York, Miami, London, South Australia, Las Vegas … errr.. Middle East

If a car plant can make 1 complex car every 30 seconds – it can make 100,000 waterless toilets an hour? Rip the old ones out and fit waterless. Do a whole town in a weekend?

Sao Paulo JUNE 2015 no water – California 40M people 1 year left – New york? Detroit, , Las Vegas , London – July flash floods cover rail lines and roads – Ankle deep: commuters remove shoes and trudge through the rain water - Coventry flooded UK, sewage in the streets – Basingstoke – Australia – Middle East – etc..

The fabric of our society is threatened by our mismanagement of water via @guardian

Every household in the northern or southern hemisphere with a flushing toilet gets paid – 250,000 water pounds EVERY YEAR from now on until we either fix the planet or die trying. We rig up our towns with these and use the clean drinking water and energy saved to make cooking gas, laughter and repair the family.

We flush 250,00 litres of clean drinking water away every year in the West – that’s about 50% of daily use in the home and coal powered stations fill our upper atmostphere making it warmer and wetter and so more flash floods.

And so more …..

SEWAGE in your towns and cities :)

Waterless toilets don’t need water, electricity and don’t smell. Why don’t we fit them in floody zones to stop people wading in sewage and emergency services fixing people up?

Retrofit Assembly lines – anyone :) please?

Also ..

50% off everyones water bill.

50% less energy cleaning and pumping it to a cistern on the toilet wall only to flush clean drining water away.

50% less global power stations needed – whatever energy and wasted war effort they use to burn to pump up toilet water?

Heck – why not create a water bond & kickstart the ecological revolution? – jobs and action.

Ecological retrofit 2014 :) lets go

. . . . . .

Our epiphany moment was hurricane haiyan, when we saw that we blew our lid – we knew then that this is going global and that we need to help each other out.

Perhaps we’ll stand together and give it a real go?

Sounds better than falling apart.

Retrofitting cities.

If this all sounds counter intuitive don’t worry – please don’t dismiss it too quickly.

Water first.

Sadly many areas of the world keep getting hit with water shortages or too much.

In the case of Miami – another 12 inches and the whole sewage systems gone. To counter that it’s going to become important to think in slightly different ways that you’re perhaps used to now.

wow –  @gas2green @blindspotting Didn’t know there were 3000 + coastal towns, cities, counties and states at risk!

Lets just stop a minute

Stone Age – In London – we used to thow poo in the street and people dies of Cholera.

Industrial Age –  Then we somehow got to flushing toilets. Linear economy (resource limits including water)

Ecological Age – Circular economy – Where we’re rather have water for drinking and agriculture than flushing down the loo !


There are two driving forces – lack of water in say California would lead you to design sewage systems around Waterless infrastructure (that’s right waterless toilets that don’t need power either – that way if your grid goes down your sanitation is happy as larry :) – will grids go down? Oh yes in polar vorex or ice storm for sure) – you may also do that for earthquake reasons to avoid pipe damage. In coastal areas you might put waterless toilets in a floor higher so you’re retrofitting potential flood zones so that residents have access to Waterless infrastructure right across the neihbourhoods as these events happen more often. Try not to think in terms of rental values of what were once prime properties, this is the right time to start thinking differently – we’re really talking about making safe places to live in. You can then remove other water infrastructure before it beomes a hazard or repurpose it. Too much water – So in the case or Miami you don’t want sewage floating around in the sea – got to think about perhaps putting it in an AD digestor up a floor or two safe, making some cooking gas from it so you don’t need to frack your ground water and using the compost from AD so that can go back on the land out of the city as part of urban agriculture.

So in a way you’re adapting what you’ve already got to the coming sea and storms.

That’s where repurposing assembly lines come in – so in the case of England UK we wrote a piece about adapting 45 Million toilets. Because like Miami London has a building boom and it was a way to draw attention to how much clean drinking water cities flush down the toilet. Ok we don’t have the same water shortages that some areas have but London and the south east are dry regions because we suck ground water and rivers dry to flush 40-50% of it down the toilet!

Apparently the average person flushes 50 litres a day 5000 times a year = 250,000 litres of clean drinking water every year. Ok ..

and just in 70% of the worlds global 500 firms say water is a material risk to their business already - that’s a trend that’s up from 56% since 2011. So there you go – there are no stock markets then are there – until we fit waterless toilets?

So you’ve got to kind of ask how many of these things do you need and where can they get made – and that fits in nicely with less cars being made for cities and so you say perfect – and perhaps repurposing say a car assembly line to make several million of these things for your east and west coasts.

So what we’ve just down then is adapt the towns and cities so that at least if you loose power for days on end you’ve got clean water less and powerless toilets.

You’ll also take a considerable base load off the grid pumping water that’s no longer needed – that can be redirected to agriculture, schools, hospitals.

You’ll also help out the emergency services who won’t be running around fixing as many sick people.

The water cities don’t waste is the water of life.

@NYCMayorsOffice @BilldeBlasio @nycoem

@GMlowcarbonhub @GMLEP @LiverpoolLEP @cabinetofficeuk

If you were going to set a bunch of policies to adapt he’s a well rounded set of 7 policies from @blindspotting who’s given this 30+ years of thought.

Good luck.. :)

Oh just in 14.7.14

Thinking of retiring to Perth?

40% reduction in rainfall creates #water #crisis in Southern #Australia : @guardian 

Oh – Las Vegas too – trump tower just gone bankrupt – what to do?

Might be worth your city planners and residents getting together with ford assembly lines and …

Get a waterless loo…

Drive in your old car – get a waterless loo fitted and an electric bike.

If a car plant can make 1 complex car every 30 seconds – it can make 100,000 waterless toilets an hour? Rip the old ones out and fit waterless. Do a whole town in a weekend?

50% off everyones water bill.

50% less energy cleaning and pumping it.

50% less global power stations needed.

Heck – why not pay every home to retrofit – jobs and action.

Or watch the whole global stock market run out of water?






  1. Yes – the planet needs a retrofit!

    Here’s a fun example from home. Our tomatoes are doing better on pee (2 on left) than commercial tomato feed (2 on right). The pee is collected in bottles rather than flushed with drinking water in the loo. When the loo is flushed I use grey water from the bath. No mains water needed. The grey water is filtered with charcoal made as byproduct of cooking outside. Eventually the charcoal ends up mixed into the compost bin then in soil where it boosts all the plants and reduces watering to the point where no mains water is needed for the whole garden.

    Anyhow, just thinking that much of the old infrastructure can be easily ‘upcycled’ to behave in the new ways. Great blog thanks!

  2. TT Bolton says:

    Your right James – oh – july 2014 seems a lifetime ago – water is just getting the attention it deserves :)

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