LESS THAN 1% OF ALL WATER ON PLANET EARTH IS READILY AVAILABLE FOR DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION
Water conservation is everybody’s responsibility. Here are a few sobering statistics:
- Of all water on earth, 97.5% is salt water, and of the remaining 2.5% fresh water, some 70% is frozen in the polar icecaps. The other 30% is mostly present as soil moisture or lies in underground aquifers. In the end, less than 1% of the world’s fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human uses. It is found in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and in underground sources shallow enough to be tapped at affordable cost.
- If all the earth’s water fit in a gallon jug, available fresh water would equal just over a tablespoon.
- A person needs four to five gallons of water per day to survive.
- The average American uses 100 to 176 gallons of water at home each day.
- The average African family uses about five gallons of water each day.
What can you do to conserve water? There are many ways. Some require the use of readily available hardware, and some are simple changes in habit.
Water Conservation Hardware: Replace your old toilet with one of the new highly efficient, 1.6 gallon per flush units. Some of the new toilets utilize water pressure to create a flush that is more efficient than most older style toilets that use 5 to 7-1/2 gallons per flush.
Replace your old shower head with a water conserving shower head. The typical shower head has a flow rate of five to seven gallons per minute. New water conserving shower heads use 1.6 to 2.5 gallons per minute. This conservation effort not only saves water, but also saves on the cost of energy to heat the water, resulting in a payback typically taking less than one year.
Replace your old faucet aerators. The typical old style faucet aerator uses around 3.5 gallons per minute. New aerators use 1.6 gallons per minute. This results in a reduction of over 50% for water used through a typical lavatory faucet.
Replace your top loading clothes washer with a front loader. New machines with the Energy Star label use only 18 — 25 gallons of water per load (compared to 40 gallons per load for the typical machine) and save about 7,000 gallons of water a year. In fact, these machines — often with a front-loading design — are up to 40% more water efficient and 70% more energy efficient than conventional top-loading washers.
Install a domestic hot water re-circulation system, so when you start using hot water in the morning, you don’t waste water down the drain waiting for the water to get hot.
Change exterior landscaping to water conserving Xeriscape landscaping. This not only reduces water consumption, but can also result in less time spent mowing lawns and makes for more time available for doing other things.
Changes in habits: Simple changes in habits can result in significant water savings. Habit shifts like shutting off the water between razor rinsings when shaving. Or purchasing an electric razor and getting rid of your straight edge razor completely.
Shut off the water while you are brushing your teeth.
Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator to keep it cool instead of running water down the drain waiting for the water to get cooler. If you must run the water for a long time, capture the wasted water in a bucket and use it for watering plants and pets, or for spot watering in your vegetable garden.
Water your lawn in the early morning with a slow, deep soaking method. Don’t water between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. when water evaporation is the highest.
Take a shower instead of a bath. A bath typically uses around 40 gallons of water. A short shower (less than 10 minutes) will use approximately 25 gallons of water with a low flow shower head.
Don’t run the dishwasher or clothes washer until you have a full load. The dishwasher will use the same amount of water with a half load as it does with a full load of dishes.
Use the automatic dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand.
Go to the car wash to wash your car instead of washing it by hand. Many car washes re-cycle their water. Even if they don’t re-cycle, you will use considerably less water than would be used in hand washing.
Many municipalities offer rebate programs for conserving water and energy. Contact your plumbing, heating, cooling professional for more information products that can help you reduce water consumption in your home and save you money.