Conservation program leaves city flush with money
Gardena, Calif. — The city has discovered a new way to increase revenue, and, in the process, raised almost enough money to fund its annual $90,000 Community Promotions budget. As part of a public/private partnership with the Southern California Water Company, Gardena turned toilets into money; specifically, 1,376 ultra low flush toilets, which were distributed to city residents as part of a water conservation program sponsored by the water company and the West Basin Water District. The project began in June 1996, when the city became the first to adopt the Drought Proof 2000 program.
The toilet distribution and collection (old toilets will be crushed and used as road bed material) took place in the city’s Rowley park on two Saturdays in November. A festival atmosphere surrounded the event, during which residents exchanged 1,365 toilets for the new Niagara models. The city collected $120 per returned toilet, pocketing $81,662 after expenses.