Toilets flowing freely

In October, Cal Water's free offer of water-saving toilets to residents of Stockton, Calif., was flushed with success. Citizens lined up around the block to get their gratis potties—which use only 1.6 gallons of water per flush—until all 1100 toilets were gone. The only catch: Recipients had to promise to dump off their old toilets for disposal by Oct. 28. While the toilets (from manufacturer Niagara Conservation Co.) cost the water agency a pretty penny (around $200 for each), each low-flush loo will save users as much as $35 annually on their water bills.

Uncle Sam enlists waterless urinals

The U.S. Army has given an order: waterless urinals in all new construction and major retrofits. Annette Stumpf, an architect at the Army's Engineer Research and Development Center, says the directive will save the Army up to 45,000 gallons of water a year, reduce maintenance costs, and eliminate the need for batteries, transformers, or other electronics needed for pumps. Sir, yes, sir!

Pay as you go in ‘Frisco

In reaction to San Franciscans' concerns about a lack of sufficient public toilet facilities, the city has installed a number of automatic toilets. The program comes at no cost to the city—in exchange for the service, the contractor is allowed to rake in revenue from advertising kiosks—but citizens must pay a quarter each time they want to do their business.