Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Can we afford to keep letting water go down the drain?

By Lynne Geller, Communication and Outreach, Water Resources Program

What’s easy, uncontroversial, saves money, gives you a good feeling and you can start doing today?

Stop wasting water.

Come on. There is no downside here. I know you don’t think wasting water is a good thing.

But you may think, “What difference can I make?” Of course, no one person can solve the daunting problem of growing demands on a finite resource. But this is a case of the power of collective impact: each of us making small changes results in big changes. 

So what can one person do? You may be surprised that a simple action like turning off the water when shaving or brushing your teeth can save up to 4 gallons a minute – or up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four! Multiply that by hundreds of thousands of households and we are talking a lot of water.

It’s all about using water wisely. No one is asking you to go without. Rather, it is all about using the water we have efficiently and avoid wasting it.

And watching your water bill go down is a wonderful additional benefit!

Simple, easy, no-fuss actions you can start today for good habits tomorrow

One great thing about conserving water is that no special equipment is needed. At first it is just a matter of remembering. Start by choosing just one or two small actions. Tape a reminder note on the bathroom mirror, near your kitchen sink, or wherever you want to start saving water. After you do these actions for a short while, they will begin to be habits. And then you won’t have to think about them at all. You’ll save water and money without giving it a thought. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Here are some easy things you can begin doing today:

  • Keep your shower under 5 minutes and you’ll save up to 1,000 gallons a month. 
  • Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  • Grab a wrench and fix a leaky faucet, and you can save 140 gallons a week. Household water leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons per year.
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  • Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them. Toilets account for nearly 30 percent of water used in the home. Older models can use up to 6 gallons per flush; newer low-flow toilets use from 1.6 to 3.5 gallons. Putting trash in the wastebasket uses none. 

Don’t forget that outdoor water uses account for approximately 30 percent of total household water use. There are lots of easy things you can do to use less water outside. You can find dozens of tips on-line.

Every day is a good day to save water

You are hearing about the drought currently affecting parts of our state. Looking at the potential impact of limited water on homes, farms, businesses, and the environment is a sobering reminder that we can’t take water for granted. It is a precious resource – we can’t live without it. Conserving water is not just for water-short times. It’s important to do all year, every year.

No new water is being made. We still have the same amount of water as we did when dinosaurs wandered the Earth. And yet the demands on water continue to increase. Our state population is predicted to grow to 8.8 million by 2040, and there still needs to be enough water for fish, wildlife, and the environment. There can be enough water for all the many demands on it, now and into the future, if we choose to be water smart.

Learn more at Ecology’s Water Conservation page. Links to additional resources are included. 

No comments: