Water is a valuable resource and so it’s important to use it wisely. Conserving water or using it efficiently will help ensure it’s available in the future for new generations of people, plants and animals.
But how can one person help? Is conserving water a habit in your daily life or could you and members of your family be doing more?
The Washington State Department of Ecology is part of a partnership program initiated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to protect the country’s supply of water. WaterSense, according to the EPA, aims to promote the value of water efficiency, decrease water use, encourage innovation in manufacturing water-efficient products, and helps to provide easy ways for consumer to save water.
The program uses a WaterSense label to help consumers locate and buy products and services that equate to smart, water-saving choices. Having the WaterSense label on products and services means they have been certified to be at least 20 percent more efficient.
Since the program began in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save a cumulative 287 billion gallons of water and over $4.7 billion in water and energy bills. The EPA’s WaterSense 2011 Accomplishment Report showed that the use of WaterSense labeled products by the end of the year resulted in reductions of 38.4 billion kWh of electricity and 13 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
The EPA also notes that every American uses an average of 100 gallons of water a day at home. By installing water-efficient fixtures, water use can be cut by 30 percent. In fact, the EPA says using an aerator and faucet with WaterSense labels could amount to saving 11,000 gallons of water.
The average household spends as much as $500 per year on their water and sewer bill and can save about $170 per year by installing water-efficient fixtures and appliances. The WaterSense label can currently be found on bathroom sink faucets and accessories, showerheads, toilets, urinals, new homes and weather-based irrigation controllers.
While it’s true that the largest use of water used inside the home is from inefficient fixtures, it’s also a good idea to get in the habit of using only what you need. Here’s 25 more ways to be water smart and not water short.
1. Run the clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full and save 1,000 gallons of water a month.
2. Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and it rains more often.
3. Wash fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
4. Check outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses for leaks.
5. Shave a minute or two minutes off your shower time and save up to 150 gallons of water per month.
6. Use roof water in your garden.
7. Decrease the number of glasses that need to be washed per day by refilling one glass or a water bottle with water every day.
8. Use a rain sensor on an irrigation controller so it won’t run when it’s raining.
9. Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
10. Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
11. Fix that leaky faucet and save 140 gallons a week.
12. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.
13. Replace your toilet flapper if it doesn’t close after flushing.
14. Keep soil cool and reduce evaporation by leaving lower branches on trees and shrubs and allowing leaf litter to accumulate on the soil.
15. Report broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers.
16. Throw trimmings and peelings from fruits and vegetables into your yard compost to prevent using the garbage disposal.
17. Turn off the water while you wash your hair to save up to 150 gallons a month.
18. Wash your pets outdoors in an area of lawn that needs water.
19. Consider reusing your towels.
20. Don’t let the water run while you lather when washing your hands.
21. Insulate hot water pipes for more immediate hot water at the faucet and for energy savings.
22. Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting.
23. Wash dark clothes in cold water.
24. Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car and save up to 100 gallons every time.
25. When you have ice left in your cup or if you drop an ice cube on the floor, dump it on a plant instead of in the trash.
To learn more about the WaterSense program and label visit www.epa.gov/watersense/about_us/what_is_ws.html. Visit www.wateruseitwisely.com for more ideas on how to conserve water.