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Water-Saving Techniques

Our planet maintains a constant total water volume through the Earth’s hydro logic cycle, the physical processes of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, infiltration, runoff, and subsurface flow. Although the Earth’s water balance remains fairly constant, only about 1% of the water on the planet is accessible for human consumption, this would be our fresh water supply, or surface and ground water which is tapped for most of our water needs. The remaining water is, for the most part, salt water stored in the Earth’s oceans. There are other sources of fresh water such as glaciers and polar ice caps but access to these resources are limited and costly. Increasing climate changes and population shifts can cause dramatic reductions in our fresh water supply straining surface and ground water resources, without an abundant water supply to continuously feed our demand, amenities like indoor plumbing which consists of showers, sinks and sewage lines would not be available to us. Also, many people don’t understand the vital importance water plays in our electricity production, US power plants consume more water every year than all the US agriculture industries combined, requiring staggering amounts of water to cool the nuclear reactors as well as Cole and other power plant facilities. This produces waste water that is contaminated by minerals and chemicals that were used to treat the water prior to entering the cooling system and collects additional deposits as it cycles through the system, this water is regularly introduced back into the main water supply in states such as Pennsylvania who is experiencing a natural gas boom. Economic rewards often over shadow the environmental dangers, however, the environmental effects of these policies are still being investigated and future policies will hopefully be devised in reflection the results. Without water we have no indoor plumbing and no electricity, the results would be devastating increasing the cost of everything in our lives. How much does your job rely on electricity? Think of all the impact this will have on life as we know it.

Water conservation is pivotal in our efforts to sustain life on Earth. Using simple water conservation techniques we can help sustain fragile ecosystems and reduce the demand for water, allowing time for our aquifers, rivers and streams to raise their water levels and maintain adequate levels of flow. Plus as an added bonus it saves you money each month on your utility bill. A few of the simplest and most effective water saving practices that you can employ in your home are provided here, for more information do a quick internet search for “conserving water in the home.” In the meantime here are five wasteful water culprits.

  • Leaks. Check water fixtures, appliances and irrigation systems for leaks
  • Out of date toilets. An old toilet is probably the biggest water consumer in your home.
  • Out of date washing machines. Old laundry machines are the second largest water waster in the home. Modern models use 35%-50% less water and 50% percent less energy per load.
  • Plants. Consider the climate conditions in your area and select plants appropriately.
  • Unnecessary irrigation. Make sure your garden or lawn needs the water you’re giving it, this is how most water is wasted in the yard. When watering by hand use a timer to alert you that its time to move the water promptly.

Remember that not all of your laundry loads will need the same amount of water, smaller loads require less water to clean and adjusting the load size on your washing machine is practically effortless and can save you dollars by the gallon over a short period of time.

You can also install a flow restriction on faucet sinks by removing the aerator, and installing the restrictor inside. It is recommended that you remove any mineral deposits that may have accumulated by scrubbing it with an old toothbrush or a small wire brush, if during the removal or cleaning you damage the aerator, just replace it, you can find one at your local hardware store. Insert the flow restriction screen into the aerator and reinstall the aerator. Installing a flow restriction in a shower head is a similar procedure.

Installing an electronically controlled irrigation system can pay for itself in the money you save in your utility bill every month. The simplest and most affordable timers will reduce over watering and technology has made leaps and bounds over the years, now you can purchase new weather based controllers that evaluate weather conditions and only water when nature won’t.

It can take several seconds to almost a minute for hot water to reach the faucet being used, depending on the temperature setting of the hot water heater and its distance from the faucet, in the meantime cold water is being wasted. Collect the water and use it to water plants and pets.

Motion activated faucets switch the water on and off using sensors or detectors saving water by dispensing it only when needed, cutting the water off that you would normally keep running as you scrub your hands or dishes , once you’re ready to rinse it kicks back on. These are great for commercial bathrooms, but most people don’t see a use for them in residential bathrooms because of the high price of the units, but a similar and more affordable alternative would be a pedal activated valve which has easy installation is equally effective in water conservation.

Turn lights off when you are not in the room, unplug electrical appliances like TVs, stereos, and power stripes that provide power to numerous things you are not using at the moment. By reducing your electricity usage you by reflection reduce the water demand. Install energy efficient light bulbs, seal areas of your home that cause heat loss. You can install weather stripping in places like gaps in the doors and cover windows with curtains, blankets or plastic and lower your thermostat to cut down on energy usage. Some people will think your weird for turning the lights off all the time but keep your focus on the bigger picture and educate people on why you do it; eventually someone will recognize your genius and you will inspire them to do the same, if not for the environment, then for their wallets.