Contributed by Nora DePalma
Gas prices are up, heating and cooling costs are up. Who cares about water? Just turn on the tap for a less than a dollar a day and give me something real to worry about.
Did you know that in 2007, the town of Orme, TN actually ran out of water? Just 150 miles from Atlanta, residents turned on the tap and nothing happened. The creek had literally ran dry. For a few months, the townspeople had to make do with three hours of water per day. Tony Reames, the town mayor at the time, told FOX News that while the town of 145 residents could deal with it for the short period, "I feel for the folks in Atlanta...you've got 4.5 million people down there. What are they going to do? It's a scary thought."
Are we doomed to a future of globe-spanning deserts and tall, refreshing glasses of treated sewage? No, not in the US. We’ll just raise taxes to build more treatment facilities.
Wait…did I just say raise taxes? Maybe that’s why of the three states that passed water conservation legislation, two are the redder-than-red Texas and Georgia. (The other is uber-green/blue California.)
So, water conservation isn’t some weirdo pinko liberal talking point. It’s a direct wallet hit, right behind gasoline and home comfort costs. Luckily, small changes that don’t feel like sacrifice can pay off big time. Here’s a few things to do today inside your home and office that will start to add up nicely to have a big impact on water savings:
Changes You Can Make Today:
-Don’t keep the water running while brushing your teeth or shaving. (I was amazed how ingrained the habit was to run the water while brushing. I still have to be aware and stop myself after six months.)
-Shorten your shower! Trimming your shower time to just 5 minutes can save 80 gallons of water per week. Reward yourself by using the time you've saved to sleep in an extra ten minutes!
-Dripping faucets and leaky toilets waste 10,000 gallons of water a day in the average American home, so get them fixed. Check your toilet for leaks by adding food coloring to your toilet tank. If it shows up in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak.
-A full dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand. Skipping the pre-rinse earns you even more eco points, not mention a grateful husband and kids who have one less chore.
-No half-loads of laundry. Save up for a full load.
-Keep a pitcher of cold filtered water in the fridge, rather than letting the water run until it gets cold.
Long-Term Changes for Conservation Champs
-Keep warm! That time you spend waiting for water to warm up isn't just annoying - it's also wasteful. Insulate your hot water pipes to save time, water, heating oil, money, carbon emissions - need we go on? A hot water heater booster closer to point of use can also help.
-When you're ready to upgrade to a new faucet, showerhead, or toilet, look for products that carry the EPA's WaterSense label. It's this season's most fashionable label, and it also indicates that product claims about water efficiency and performance were evaluated by an independent third party, so you can shop with confidence.
NEXT WEEK: slow down outdoor water use.
Posted: 3/1/2012 12:54:04 PM by
Heather Wallace | with 2 comments