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New York City launches $23 million toilet replacement program

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A brand-new $23 million toilet replacement program will replace ineffective toilets in chosen residential properties across the five boroughs, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd announced on Friday.

The program plans to replace as many as 200,000 older toilets in up to 10,000 buildings. The DEP anticipates that the program will save roughly 10 million gallons of water per day. The first phase of the program is scheduled to start later this spring and will focus on anywhere from 7,000 to 10,000 building owners who are members of the DEP's Multifamily Conservation Program.

"In many parts of the country, cities and towns are struggling through some of the worst drought conditions in recent history, and that should remind New Yorkers that we need to make thoughtful investments now that will protect the city’s growing population from the effects of climate change," Lloyd said in a statement.

The toilet replacement program is part of the DEP's plan to decrease the demand for water by 5 percent throughout the city, just as the planned shutdown and repair of the Delaware Aqueduct is scheduled to take place. The aqueduct is responsible for roughly 50 percent of the city's drinking water. The 5 percent reduction should also help reduce electricity, chemicals and other costs related to running the water system.

Over the next few weeks, the DEP plans to mail out information on how to participate in the program to eligible customers. Eligible customers must fill out an application on the DEP website to receive a $125 voucher that they can redeem at a participating vendor for the purchase of a high-efficiency toilet. The department will eventually expand the program to include smaller residential buildings, replacing an additional 550,000 toilets and saving 30 million gallons of water daily by 2018.

The new toilet replacement program is expanding upon a similar program that ran from 1994 to 1997. That program replaced 1.3 million toilets, reducing water consumption citywide by 90 million gallons each day.