Arizonans were engaged in some serious give and take before the Legislature passed a drought contingency plan by the Jan. 31 deadline set by the federal government. Now the federal bureaucracy says Arizona and California still have work to do on completing the agreement for use of Colorado River water. But that seems to be moving along. The pact is admirable, but it contains some pain, especially for Pinal County farmers, once Lake Mead reaches a minimum level.
Meanwhile, an Arizona legislator is offering some help in a small way toward the long-term situation: requiring waterless urinals in public buildings during remodeling, and in all state buildings within two years. The potential savings are not trivial: Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, said the number is about 40,000 gallons of water a year per unit.
The models in use since the 1990s work well. They have a filter and oil to seal off the smell as the urine goes into the pipes. Thorpe told The Arizona Republic that the water savings can pay for the replacement cost in a year and a half.
Thorpe also said he would like to see House Bill 2428 amended so that it applies to all new commercial buildings and those with remodeling valued at more than $10,000.
This change would not solve all water problems in the desert, but it certainly would help, and it is worthwhile.