Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Saturday, July 13, 2024

Waterless Urinals

Waterless urinals function without the use of water. Waterless urinals look very much like conventional urinals in design and these can be used in the same manner. However, waterless urinals do not require water for flushing and thus result in saving anything between 56,800 litres to 1, 70,000 litres of water per urinal per year.


On an average, a person urinates about four to five times a day. Urine, which is usually sterile and contains mostly water, does not require additional water for flushing to make it flow into drainage lines. Therefore, installing waterless urinals can make large reduction in quantity of fresh water used for flushing as also in the corresponding volume of sewage.


Waterless urinals do not need water and expensive plumbing accessories usually required for flushing. Also, the dry operation of waterless urinals and touch free operations reduce spreading of communicable diseases. Odour trap mechanisms using sealant liquid, microbial control, membrane and curtain valve fitted to waterless urinals assist in preventing odour developed inside the drainage lines connected to urinals.


In recent years, Human Urine has been identified as a potential resource that can be beneficially used for agriculture and industrial purposes. Human urine contains significant portion of essential plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphate and potassium excreted by human beings. Urine and faeces can also be separated employing systems such as urine diverting toilets.In the light of diminishing world’s phosphate and oil reserves whichdetermine availability as well as pricing of mineral fertilisers, harvesting urine for reuse in agriculture assumes significant importance.


Advantages of Waterless Urinals and Reuse of Urine


  • Save enormous quantities of freshwater
  • Enhance efficiencies of sewer lines and wastewater treatment plants
  • Optimize cost of plumbing accessories at supply & consumption ends
  • Conserve electricity used for pumping water & treating wastewater
  • Replace chemical fertilizers with urine to grow crops
  • Produce fertilizer & other chemicals from urine (industrial feedstock)
  • Recover hydrogen for producing energy and fuel
  • Reduce emission of green house gases and pollution of water bodies


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Waterless Urinals - A Solution to Industrial Sanitation


Recent decision of Delhi civic bodies banning 800 waterless urinals across the city and installing conventional urinals sparked new controversies right from their procurement process to the viability of its gel based cartridge-waterless urinal solution. Anil Nair, Joint GM-Essar Oil Ltd, talks about another affordable and retrofitting waterless urinal technology that is operational at the Essar campus for the last six months. The technology is an outcome of a three-year research at IIT Delhi and has recorded more than 6000 installations over nine months’ time.




A conventional urinal in India uses an average of three-five litres of water per flush, which amounts to substantial water wastage. Besides, lack of disciplined use of water also adds to sanitation problems. “To mitigate this problem we explored waterless urinals at our refinery and found that some of the urinals were being offered at a high cost of `40,000 or more per urinal besides the spend on a lot of consumables.” Uttam Banerjee, an IIT-Delhi alumini and Dr Vijayaraghavan M Chariar, Prof-IITD who have successfully introduced an innovative product (now patented by IIT- Delhi) in the market – ZERODOR – which saves water and minimizes odour; thereby providing improved hygiene and sanitation to restrooms at nearly 1/10th of the cost offered by other manufacturers with no expenditure on consumables.


The IIT incubated Ekam Eco Solutions does not change the existing urinal pots but modifies and provides retrofits to befit the waterless urinal system. No consumable or cartridge or chemicals are needed as is seen in other waterless urinals. The water supply to the pots are also disconnected.


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Waterless Urinals: A New Paradigm in City Sanitation


For a developing country like India–marked by multi-dimensional demographics, highly diversified socio-economic patterns and population of over one billion–civic sanitation is a perennial issue. Water plays a pivotal role in keeping any city clean and hygienic, but with increasing shortage of this precious resource, city municipalities across India are finding it difficult to adhere to the stipulated standard of cleanliness.



A major portion of the water supplied by civic authorities to households, commercial establishments and industries, goes down the drain by way of flushing in toilets and urinals (See table below). A conventional urinal in India uses an average of 3-5 litres of water per flush, which amounts to substantial water wastage. Besides, lack of disciplined use of water causes sanitation problems which are difficult to control.


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Waterless urinals, biogas cars on display at IIT-Delhi open house


A car that runs on biogas instead of conventional CNG, low cost waterless urinals capable of saving over 100 thousand litres of water per urinal per day, fibre wrapping to protect buildings from earthquakes and solar-powered refrigeration systems - these are some projects that will be showcased at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi on April 19.


Over 140 demo projects will be on display at IIT-D's Open House, the annual technical exposition displaying the finest student projects of the institution. Read more....