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John Schommer, Inventor - Naturalist conserves water

Many naturalists, and conservationists have made a serious committment to stewardship of our natural treasures. Water is one such treasure, and John Schommer is one such conservationist.

A self-proclaimed inventor all his life, John Schommer decided to focus on water conservation in 1991 because he couldn't believe how little was being done about it.

John and Kathy Schommer invent and manufacture Watermiser products at their San Marcos, California company because "everybody talks about water conservation but not a lot of people really do anything about it,” John says.

Now 63, Schommer continues to invent and sell his Watermiser brand water-conservation products. Their small business has five employees and his inventions are used by hundreds of businesses in Southern California.

The products include the Watermiser Waterbroom, which saves 60 percent more water than a conventional hose; Miserblue, a toilet leak detector; and a Watermiser flow control valve for leaky sinks.

Most Watermiser customers are companies that use a lot of water, but residential customers are growing.

It costs much less money to fix a leaky toilet or sink than to let it keep on dripping.

Watermiser has been nominated for the first-ever Environmental Protection Agency Water Efficiency Leader Award.

  • Los Angeles Convention Center saves millions of gallons of water a year using the Watermiser Waterbroom to clean its walkways and driveways.
  • Several Las Vegas hotels will begin using his Watermiser flow control valves this year. A hotel with about 3,000 rooms will save about $90,000 on water alone
  • And consumers are affected, as well. Leaky toilets drip about one cup of water per minute. That adds up to 76,000 gallons of water wasted a year, or enough to fill three swimming pools.

Schommer became an inventor while working on a dairy farm in Wisconsin as a boy. “On a farm something always needs to be fixed,” he said. “Most inventors see ways to improve everything they see -- it becomes a way of life and thinking!”

Schommer decided to focus on water because he wanted to leave the world a little better than he had found it.

Watermiser's biggest competition comes from large toilet manufacturers such as Sloan, American Standard and Kohler, who are developing better quality low-flush toilets. As a conservationist, Schommer considers that good news! Conservation needs to permeate every nook and cranny of our society...and every company.

Conservation is as much a psychological issue as economic: If it doesn't anger you, you don't mind wasting water. But if it upsets your lifestyle, you're not going to do it. That's human nature. The same rule applies to conservation -- solutions have to fit our way of life.

For more information about Watermiser products, go to

SOURCE: San Diego Union-Tribune.