Saving money and water …. … … .
“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”
If you live in an area where water shortages are not an issue, consider yourself lucky. Nearly 450 million people in 29 countries face severe water shortages. Predictions indicate that within 5 years, at least 36 U.S. states will face water shortages due to a combination of rising temperatures, drought, population
growth, and waste.
But there is hope – research has shown that residential water use could be reduced by as much as 50 percent through efficiency. Here are a few simple, low-cost suggestions for reducing your family’s water consumption.
Reduce water use from showers and faucets
Although it’s often the smallest room in the house, the bathroom is where 75 percent of indoor household water consumption occurs. Seem impossible? Consider this: The average 6-minute shower uses about 20 gallons of water! Reduce this amount with the following tips:
- No cost: Limit shower time to 5 minutes or less.
- Less than $10: Install an on/off valve between the shower arm and showerhead. This temporarily shuts off the flow while maintaining the temperature, and can be a useful water-saver while soaping up or shaving.
- $10-$50: Install a low-flow (less than 2 gallons per minute) showerhead. Previous low-flow showerheads sacrificed water pressure for efficiency, but now there are many options (GAIAM and Delta make two of my favorites) that don’t simulate a dripping faucet.
- $20-$50: Insulate all accessible hot-water pipes, especially those within 3 feet of the water heater. You’ll get hot water faster, avoid wasting H20 while it heats up, and save energy in the process.
Finally, fit all household faucets with low-flow aerators (less than two gallons per minute). This is the best in-home water conservation method, and it’s also the cheapest.
Toilets are the enemy
Each day, the U.S. uses 5. 8 billion gallons of fresh water to flush waste. If you’re in the market for a new porcelain throne, check out options with either a very low (less than 1.6) gallon per flush (gpf) rating, or dual flush controls.
This new technology provides 2 buttons for flushing: one at 1.6 gpf for solid waste, and another at only 0.8 gpf for liquids. These double-duty flushers can reduce water usage by up to 67 percent compared with traditional toilets.
Feeling even earthier? Go for a waterless composting toilet and be the envy of all your neighbors!
And if you haven’t budgeted for a new toilet, try these quick fixes:
- Check for leaks: Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.