California’s drought has marked one of the worst on record, with 100 percent of the state affected. But while some parts of the state are completely tapped out, other areas continue to use water with little regard. Which is why a group of San Francisco entrepreneurs got the bright idea to turn an old money-saving trick into one that could help California save 6 billion gallons of water in just three months.
The Drop-A-Brick project began as a joke among the group about the double meaning of “dropping a brick,” but became an actual solution once the group recognized just how much Californians were flushing away.
Placing a brick in your toilet’s tank can save around a half of gallon of water per flush (a family of four save around 50 gallons a week). For a state under such dire conditions as California, it’s a method worth trying.

“We realized that toilets are the number one user of water in the home,” says Greg Hadden, one of the founders of the project. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates about 26.7 percent of municipal water is flushed away at residential households and California, in particular, wastes around 203 million gallons each day.

“All of us felt that while we were in this huge drought, there’s a massive lack of awareness of it. Nobody really seemed to understand how serious the situation is,” Hadden tells Fast Company

After researching the practice, Hadden said they realized that actual bricks can dissolve, cause clogging and lead to a pricey visit from the plumber. Instead, the group decided to design their own lightweight, environmentally-friendly rubber brick. Their unique version contains a dye tablet to help identify leaks as another means of water conservation and also ships flat in the mail, plus it doesn’t expand until added to water thanks to a hydrogel technology. The brick is also adaptable and can be formed into different shapes based on toilet design.

“While we’d like to get a lot of bricks out there — we think it’s a great icon for a public awareness campaign — really what we’d like to do is just get people thinking about urban water conservation and how to save water at home,” Hadden says.

The Drop-A-Bricks project is crowdfunding via Indiegogo and is also accepting additional donations to send extra bricks to some of the state’s worst areas that are relying on outsourced water. While the campaign is taking a lighthearted approach to raising awareness about the “big bowl movement,” the drop-a-brick project is a real solution to helping Californians conserve their valuable H2O.


MORE: The Silver Lining to California’s Terrible Drought