Water Conservation Tips
According to the American Water Works Association, a typical, single family home consumes 72.5 gallons of water per person per day. Water is generally used in the following manner:
- Baths use 1.6%
- Clothes washers use 20.9%
- Dish washers use 1.3%
- Faucets use 15.3%
- Leaks-yes, leaks-account for an amazing 13.8%
- Other domestic uses represent 2.1%
- Showers use 17.3%
- Toilets use 27.7%
Why should you conserve water? Water is one of our most abundant yet precious resources, which we seldom appreciate. Why? Because it is so plentiful and easy to obtain. All we do to get water is turn on any of our spigots 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it’s there. It appears just like magic. Now we know water just doesn’t magically appear.
After extensive treatment processes and traveling through miles of pipeline, potable water is a valuable resource that shouldn’t be wasted. Did you know that just 1% of the entire water supply on this planet is available for human use-the rest is salty or locked in glaciers or ice caps. And just 1% of that amount is actually used for drinking purposes-the rest goes to watering lawns and gardens, washing machines and down toilets and drains. And remember, you pay for every drop, whether it’s used or wasted, so water conservation is something we all should practice.
Do you know that when you conserve water, you also save on other services. When you use less hot water, there is less energy needed to heat that water, thereby reducing your gas or electric bill. When you use less water, you also put less water down your sewer drains, thereby reducing your sewer bill or reducing the burden on your private septic system. By implementing a simple conservation program, you are helping the environment by helping ease the burden on water storage, purification, distribution and treatment facilities.
Four Basic Steps to a Water Conservation Program
- Step 1: Economize! - Look at your water habits which you have developed over a lifetime. A large amount of water goes down the drain because we have always thought of water as being plentiful and cheap. As a general rule, inside your house, the bathroom facilities make up nearly 75% of the water used. Become aware of the amount of water you use and look for ways to use less. The most important thing to do to economize: Think as you use water!
- Step 2: Repair Leaks! - A small leak of just one drop per second wastes 2,400 gallons of water a year. Leaks are one of the great enemies of your water conservation program and they shouldn’t be taken lightly. And don't forget the leaky hot water faucet; you'll save both water and energy.
- Step 3: Install Water Saving Devices! - There are many devices you can buy and install fairly easily to reduce your water consumption. These include faucet aerators; flow regulators for shower heads; and displacement devices for toilets to reduce water consumption. Investing a little money, time and labor can have big paybacks to reduce your water use. Installing high-efficiency faucets or faucet aerators could reduce a household's faucet water by more than 500 gallons annually, can have a payback period as little as one year and could save between 2,850 and 8,500 gallons and as much as $50 over the lifetime of the product! In the future you'll be able to look for WaterSense labeled faucets and faucet accessories like aerators. WaterSense labeled products perform as well as or better than other products in the marketplace and perform at least 20% more efficiently than their less efficient counterparts. Check EPA's website for more information.
- Step 4: Reuse Water! - Unused or slightly used water is often suitable for other purposes, even with no treatment or filtration. During a severe drought, reusing water may become a necessity. When maximum conservation is called for, make the most of any water before you let it go down the drain!
Saving Water Outdoors
Did you ever realize that sometimes half or more of the water piped into homes is going right back out through hoses onto lawns and gardens. It’s a fact of life that when more water is used outside, more is wasted there. But you don’t have to let your lawn turn brown or the car get dirty to conserve water. Just use some simple common sense instead. Using the hose to wet your car beforehand.
For instance, once you set a lawn sprinkler out and turn it on, it’s easy to forget just how much water you can waste in a short period of time. A single lawn sprinkler spraying five gallons per minute uses 50% more water in just one hour than a combination of ten toilet flushes, two 5-minute showers, two dishwasher loads and a full load of clothes!
The basic principle of lawn and garden watering is not to give your lawn and plants more than they need. Don’t follow a fixed watering schedule. Water when the grass or plants show signs of needing it. Over watering is bad for plants and lawns.
Did You Know…
Leaking toilets can leak over 1,000 gallons of water every single day. Every flush uses 3-1/2 to 7 gallons of water. An unrestricted shower head runs at 5 to 10 gallons a minute. You pay for every drop, whether it's used wisely or wasted.
View even more ways to conserve water.