Conserve Water-Save Energy & Flush Your Water Bill!


Conserve water, save energy & flush your water bill!  Our thinking that we have abundant resources of fresh water and drinking water is just not true.  We lose thousands of gallons of water just from the toilet and faucet.  Some think its far fetched to think we’ll run out of our water supply from nature.  Without water how does that effect our life on earth?

Life on earth began in water, and has always depended on it for its very existence on water.  With water, life can thrive and bloom, without water we die.  Yet most of us are so used to having this precious resource at our fingertips that we have come to take it for granted.  Sadly, we are fast approaching the time when we will be forced to learn the inestimable value of this natural treasure the hard way.  Our supply of good water is disappearing at a terrifying rate.

Americans use a lot of water-and we waste a lot, too.  We waste it because it seems abundant (it’s there whenever you turn on the tap, after all) and practically free.  In fact, of course, it’s neither.  Both the quality and the supply of water varies enormously across the globe.  Even where it seems abundant, it is in fact limited.  And not just in dry parts of the country either.  The availability of fresh water is finite, and international organizations increasingly see it as one of the defining issues for the future.  Then there’s the cost: Collecting, treating, distributing, and ultimately disposing of fresh water is expensive in both dollars and, of course, energy.

How much water does the average American use every day?  It’s anyone’s guess.  For one thing, where do you start?  Do you just measure what comes out of the faucet or flushes down the toilet inside your home? Do you include the water you use in your garden or on your lawn if you have one?  Or do you count the water that gets used to make every product you use each day and everything you eat and drink?

Here are a few startling examples:  Did you know it takes an average of 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of meat?  Whereas producing 1 serving (4.3 oz.) of tomatoes requires only 8 gallons of water.  (Vegetarian, anyone?)  We rarely think about water when we see an automobile, for example, but producing a typical U.S. car requires more than 50 times its weight in water (39,090 gallons)!  Producing 1 lb of bread requires 500 gallons of water.  Producing 1 serving (8 oz.) of chicken requires 330 gallons of water. Growing just one cotton T-shirt requires 256 gallons of water!

See what I mean?  Our water use also varies according to both the climate where we live and the way we live.  If you’ve got a private well, you probably know how much water that hole in the ground can produce per hour, but not how much you actually use in any given day.  If you’re on a public system and your water use is metered then you know exactly how much you use: it’s in you water bill.  But millions of public water system users aren’t metered.

The last time anyone took a shot a figuring out how much water an average person uses was in 1999, when the American Water Works Association estimated that we each use somewhere between sixty and seventy gallons a day.  But that was just indoor use.  And since then, things have changed.  New buildings and houses are required to use water-restricting showerheads and low-flow toilets in many places.  And cities hare giving big cash rebates to people who buy water-saving washing machines and other appliances.  Why?  Because it’s far cheaper for them to give you cash for saving water than it is to develop new sources of water.  Its simple economics.

What really matters, then, is knowing where the water you do use actually goes and therefore, where you can conserve.  Some of the biggest savings can come form switching to a water-miserly front-loading washing machine, (which also gets your clothes cleaner with less detergent) low-flush toilets, flow-restricting showerheads and from fixing leaks.  How do you know if you have a leak?  If your water is metered, check to see if the meter is running when no water is running anywhere in or outside your home.  Some leaks are hard to find.  Toilets, for example, often leak without making a sound.  To find out whether yours is, put a little vegetable dye in the  tank and see if some of the color ends up in the bowl before you flush it next.  Then there’s that blatant waste that occurs when running the water continuously while shaving or brushing your teeth.  You really don’t need to have it running the whole time so just turn it off after you’ve filled some in the sink for shaving and only turn it on to rinse your mouth after you’re done brushing.  Many of us are guilty of wasting the water when running the faucet for the tub or shower until it gets hot.  Have a couple small pails in the bathroom and collect that water and use it to water your indoor or outdoor plants.

Making small changes like these can cut your household water use by as much as 35 percent, saving you money while also conserving our planets water resources.

The dollar and water saving steps can be taken outside your home as well.  Lawns can also be wasteful and harmfulIf you water your lawn with sprinklers, a big percentage of that water never reaches the roots!  It evaporates, especially on sunny days.  And those chemical weed killers, pesticides, and fertilizers?  Most of them wash right off your land and can enter your groundwater or neighboring streams and rivers.  Your flower or vegetable garden?  Unless your using judicious amounts of organic fertilizers you’re creating polluted runoff, too.  And any watering system, except slow-drip systems, where the water goes directly into the soil, uses almost as much water as if you were spraying a lawn.  When you do water, do it at night, when evaporation is lowest, and consider replacing some of your lawn with plantings that require less maintenance and less water.

The message here is pretty basic: it’s important to know where the water you use every day came from and what it’s carrying – but it’s just as important to think about how carefully you use it and where it’s going next.  You and I are just stages through which water passes; we’re “borrowing” it, temporarily, from nature.

There is a lot you and I can do to conserve water so it will be available for this and future generations.  It comes down to the daily choices we make and even small changes can have a huge positive impact.

“The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives.”   Buddhist Proverb


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