Water Conservation Facts

Water conservation is something we all should practice. Except for the air we breathe, water is the single most important element in our lives. It's too precious to waste. Here are some useful facts and simple suggestions that will help you understand more about water. They'll help you save hundreds, even thousands, of gallons per month without any great inconvenience.

· There's as much water in the world today as there was thousands of years ago. The water from your faucet could contain molecules that dinosaurs once drank!

· Nearly 97% of the world's water is salty or otherwise undrinkable. Another 2% is locked in ice caps and glaciers. That leaves just 1% for all agricultural, manufacturing, community, and personal household needs.

· We drink very little of our drinking water. Less than 1% of the treated water produced by water utilities is actually consumed. The rest goes on lawns, washing machines, and down toilets and drains.

· If everyone in the United States flushed the toilet just one less time per day, we could save a lake of water about a mile long, a mile wide, and four feet deep every day.

· Every glass of water brought to your table in a restaurant requires another two glasses of water to wash and rinse the glass. We'd save million gallons of water if they were brought to the table by request only.

· If you have a lawn, chances are it's your biggest water user. Typically, at least 50% of water consumed by households is used outdoors. Inside your house, bathroom facilities claim nearly 75% of the water used.

· Ultra-low-flush toilets use only about 1.5 gallons of water per flush. That could cut your family's total indoor water use by as much as 20%.

· Any showerhead manufactured in the United States is required by law to release no more than 3.2 gallons of water per minute. 

· Is it possible your toilet has a secret leak? You can test it by putting 10 drops of food coloring in the tank. Don't flush for 15 minutes. If the colored water shows up in the bowl, the tank is leaking.

· Some people flush tissues and other bits of trash in the toilet. Use a wastebasket instead to save water.

· Have you ever heard of showering "The Navy Way"? Because fresh water is relatively scarce on ships, sailors were taught to just get wet, and then turn off the shower while soaping and scrubbing and turn it on again briefly to rinse off. It's a great water conservation technique.

· Don't let the water run when you brush your teeth or when washing your face. Most of it will be wasted. Just take what you need and save the rest

· Fill your dishwasher full because it will use the same amount of water for a normal cycle, whether it contains a full load of dishes or just a few items. Also, there's no need to wash dishes before loading in the dishwasher. Just scrape off food scraps and rinse.

· Water heaters often are set at 140 degrees. You can save energy by turning the temperature on your water heater down to 130 degrees. Don't go any lower because some harmful bacteria could survive.

· Instead of letting the water run in the sink when you want a cool drink, keep a jug cooling in the refrigerator.

· A single dripping faucet can waste far more water in a single day than one person needs for drinking in an entire week. Don't wait to fix a drip!

· If you have a fish tank and it’s time for cleaning, use the dirty water on your houseplants. It's rich, in nitrogen and phosphorous, which gives you a nice fertilizer while you use the same water twice.

· Select the appropriate water level for the size of your load of laundry. Most washers offer preset water levels for small, medium, and large loads. Use full loads whenever possible.

· Do you wash your car or boat at home? Wet thoroughly, then turn off the hose while you swab with soapy water from a bucket. Use the hose again for a final rinse.

· If you have an automatic lawn sprinkler system, check the heads periodically. Be sure they haven't shifted direction to spray water on the side of the house, driveway, or sidewalk instead of the lawn.

· Do your lawn sprinkling early in the morning, between 4 and 6 a.m., when water demand is low. After about 10 a.m., both heat and evaporation go up, robbing the lawn of moisture. 

· Don't water your lawn too much. An automatic system can be preset, but a sprinkler on the end of a hose needs your personal attention. Buy timer attachments that hook on between the faucet and hose, or set a kitchen timer to ring in 15 or 20 minutes to remind you to move the sprinkler to a new area.

· Delay regular lawn watering during the first cool weeks of spring. This encourages deeper rooting and makes your lawn healthier for the rest of the summer.

· Adjust lawn watering to the weather. Install a rain sensor. 

· For any small area of grass, water by hand to avoid waste. On steep slopes, try a soaker hose to help prevent wasteful runoff.

· Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. The grass blades grow longer and shade one another, as well as the ground, helping fight off heat and hold moisture longer.

· Minimize grass areas in your yard, because less grass means less water demand. Survey the lawn and consider whether it might make sense to remove grass from areas that aren't used much. Replace it with low-water native landscaping.

· Try the concept of Xeriscape™ which means "landscaping for water conservation." The idea is to use native plants that require less water. You also can decorate creatively with interesting objects that need no water at all, such as rocks, bricks, benches, gravel, and deck areas.

· Mulch planting areas. Mulch covers open areas with tasteful good looks, helps keep the ground from overheating, holds moisture that otherwise would evaporate, and discourages weeds.

· Consider installing drip irrigation for individual bushes, trees, flowers, and garden areas. Drip systems are designed to get water slowly and directly to the roots of plants where they need it most. They deliver water in terms of quarts or gallons per hour instead of per minute.

· If you have a swimming pool, get a cover for it. Evaporation can make hundreds, even thousands, of gallons of water disappear. An average-size pool with average sun and wind exposure loses approximately 1,000 gallons of water per month. A pool cover cuts the loss by 90%.