Water conservation benefits both you and the environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cites conservation as the most environmentally sound and cost-effective way to control our increasing demand for water (see References 1). Even small changes can make a big difference in reducing the amount of water you use each day. Your water savings also save electricity needed to treat and deliver that water to you (see References 3).
Items you will need:
- Food coloring
Shut off water when it isn't needed. Inside, turn off faucets while brushing teeth, shaving or washing dishes; outside don't let hoses run when you're not using them. If your faucet has a flow of 2 gallons of water per minute, closing the tap while you brush your teeth or shave, saves about 8 gallons of water each day, or about 240 gallons every month. (See References 4)
Fix drips and leaks yourself, or call a plumber to replace leaky faucets, broken washer valves or leaky pipes. The Groundwater Foundation advises that you can check for a leaky toilet by putting a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If it shows up in the bowl, you have a leak. Such a leak often means a gallon of water wasted every 24 minutes, or 60 gallons daily. Clean calcium deposits from the ball float and stopper valve inside the tank to ensure a good seal. (See References 2)
Change your water-use habits; take showers instead of baths. Irrigate plants and lawns wisely. The EPA cites bathing and showering as the activities consuming the greatest amount of water indoors (see References 1). Showering typically uses 20 to 30 gallons less than a taking a bath (see References 2). Some experts estimate that as much as 50 percent of water used on landscapes is wasted (see References 4). Water only when establishing new plantings or when it hasn't rained.
Run washers and dishwashers with full loads or choose smaller load selections for partial loads (see References 4).
Replace water-wasting appliances and fixtures. For example, as of 2009, Energy Star dishwashers consume a maximum of 5.8 gallons of water per cycle (see References 5). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense program standards for toilets specify just 1.28 gallons per flush (see References 6).
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Be Water Wise! How to Conserve Water and Use it Effectively
- The Groundwater Foundation: Easy Ways to Conserve Water
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense: Benefits of Water Efficiency
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense: What You Can Do
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Energy Star: Frequent Questions
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense: High-Efficiency Toilet Questions
Robert Korpella has been writing professionally since 2000. He is a certified Master Naturalist, regularly monitors stream water quality and is the editor of freshare.net, a site exploring the Ozarks outdoors. Korpella's work has appeared in a variety of publications. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Arkansas.
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