In an effort to aid Southern California water conservation, the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to create a municipal ordinance requiring the installation of ultralow-flush toilets in all newly constructed buildings and in certain buildings that are extensively remodeled or renovated.
The proposed ordinance would help prevent the amount of water wasted by toilets from increasing significantly in coming years, officials said.
The city estimates that toilets account for about 36% of the total water used in Santa Monica. The new ordinance would result in an estimated 34% reduction in the city's water use and would reduce the city's sewage output by 20%.
In 1982, California limited tank sizes for flush toilets to 3.5 gallons in all new buildings, but the proposed ordinance would further reduce tank sizes to 1.5 gallons in Santa Monica.
Councilwoman Christine Reed included within the new ordinance a motion to investigate the possible benefits of installing the low-flush toilets in Santa Monica's public schools.
Reed suggested that the city also explore the possibility of raising the city's sewer-user fee as a means of paying for refitting the schools with the water-conserving toilets.
The ordinance will be drawn up by the city attorney's office and voted on at a later date.