Water Conservation - Simple Suggestions to Reduce Water Consumption
The Need for Water Conservation
Water conservation refers to any activities that manage fresh water as a sustainable resource. Plants, animals and humans all need water to exist. However, only about 1% of the Earth’s water is fresh and usable. Given the ever-increasing demand for fresh water in private homes, commercial manufacturing, and agricultural irrigation, water conservation needs to be more than a popular cause of the “green” crowd. Reducing water consumption must become a major priority or our lovely blue planet will become a dead brown ball.
Helpful, “How-To” Water Conservation Tips
A personal water conservation program can be easy and surprisingly inexpensive.
1. Check faucets, toilets and pipes for leaks. Drips may seem insignificant, but even a single small drip can waste up to 20 gallons of water a day. Be sure faucets are completely turned off when not in use. Replace worn washers in faucets and shower heads. Add water-saving aerators to all household faucet heads. Replace leaking toilet wax seals, neoprene gaskets and flappers.
2. Take shorter showers. A single 4-minute shower uses 20 to 40 gallons of water, so limit your shower to the time it takes to wash and rinse. Further reduce water usage to less than 2.5 gallons per minute by installing a water-saving, low-flow shower head.
3. Avoid running water when brushing teeth or rinsing dishes. Brushing teeth, wet the toothbrush then turn off the water until it’s time to rinse. When hand washing dishes, put clean dishes in a dish drainer and use the sprayer to rinse when the drainer is full. If using an automatic dishwasher, run only full loads and avoid pre-rinsing.
4. Fit toilets with a tank bank. This device attaches to the side of the tank and provides displacement, reducing the amount of water necessary to re-fill the tank after flushing. Replacing your old commode with a “low-flow” toilet can reduce water usage from 3-5 gallons per flush to 1-2 gallons, a water savings of nearly 70% per flush. This measure alone can reduce in indoor water consumption by nearly 30%.
5. Adjust water level to laundry load size. Full loads are best, but for smaller loads, adjust water level to load size. Avoid the permanent-press cycle which adds an additional 5 gallon rinse. Replace an old top-load washer with an Energy Star, front loader, which uses 35-50% less water and 50% less energy per load.
1. Select plants suitable for your location. Check with your county extension office or local greenhouses to determine which types of grasses and plants will thrive in your area. Native plants use less water and are more disease resistant. Group plants by their watering needs. Plant slopes with low maintenance ground cover or grass to reduce water run-off.
2. Use mulch. Applying a 2-4” layer of mulch around plants and trees cools the soil and reduces evaporation, allowing plants to make better use of available moisture.
3. Water effectively. Avoid daily surface sprinkling. Instead, water deeply (1-2”) once or twice per week with a soaker hose. Water in the evening or early morning to allow for beneficial soil saturation and encourage deep root growth. Adjust automatic sprinklers to produce a low, efficient water pattern that will water your lawn and garden - not your roof and sidewalk
4. Set your mower a little higher. Keep your lawn approximately 3 inches long. At this length, lawns are more resilient during hot, dry conditions.
5. Use brooms and buckets for outdoor clean-up rather than your hose.
The Benefits of Water Conservation
Reducing water consumption has many positive ecological and financial benefits. In addition to significant savings on your utility bills, responsible water conservation practices extend the life of private and municipal waste systems by reducing soil saturation and overloads. This, in turn, dramatically reduces the potential for costly raw sewage pollution of nearby lakes, rivers, and watersheds.
It’s time to take water conservation seriously. “Water-stress” was reported in 30 states in 1990. By 2009, less than 20 years later, that number had risen to 45 states with no signs of slowing. Saving Earth’s usable water means saving us all. For more information on water-saving, low-flow toilets and shower heads, and on-demand, tankless water heaters, contact the plumbing experts at Casa Mechanical, successfully serving the needs of central Texas residents since 2001.