Water is one of our most wasted natural resources; probably because it is so plentiful in our area of the country. Recent studies suggest that ensuring safe and sufficient water will be one of the major issues facing us in the coming decades. Despite the fact that ocean water covers over 70% of our planet, there is a finite supply of the freshwater needed to stay alive. The numerous stresses on that supply include, but are not limited to: (1) climate change, which will cause longer and more frequent droughts, shrink water supplies and lead to saltwater incursion; (2) exploding population growth which results in building in locations where freshwater supplies are insufficient; (3) lack of proper water sanitation, where water can become tainted with any number of diseases and parasites; (4) agricultural pressures; and (5) pollution.
USE WATER WISELY
Change Personal Habits
The average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of two gallons per minute. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth in the morning and at bedtime to save up to 8-gallons of water per day, which equals 240 gallons a month. Also, take shorter showers.
Use Water Appliances Efficiently
There are a number of actions you can take to use water more efficiently within your home. Be sure to fix any leaks in your faucets. Replace older showerheads with low-flow fixtures and install low-volume toilets. Use water-efficient dishwashers and clothes washers and run them only when full.
Outdoor Water Use
Minimizing the amount of water you need to manage your property will benefit the environment. (1) Harvest rainwater where allowed with rain barrels. (2) Install a
rain garden to collect and filter water runoff – see our page on Rain Gardens for more information. (3) Landscape your yard with native plants. They are adapted to the area and need less supplemental watering. (4) If you must irrigate, water your lawns and gardens in the morning to minimize evaporation. (5) Reduce the amount of water guzzling lawn on your property. Install a garden of native plants. (6) Wash your car only at a car wash – they are required by law to recycle the water used.
Help Reduce Pollution
Use phosphate free detergents. Buy nonhazardous, biodegradable and phosphorous free household cleaning products. Never dump motor oil, grass trimmings, leaves, animal waste or other pollutants into the roadway or storm water catch basins.
Grey water comes from showers, sinks, laundry, humidity from air conditioners, etc.
It is distinguished from black water, and is anything not flushed down the commode. Sanitized grey water can be reclaimed for use in toilet tanks and irrigation for lawns and gardening as long as your cleaning agents do not contain phosphates. Saving bathwater for a pet’s bath, sharing the shower, using the water in which you cooked vegetables into a soup are examples of simple water recycling efforts. However, a grey water harvesting system which processes particles in the water through a complex system of filtration, straining, and sterilization methods connected directly to your drainage pipes, can be purchased through reputable dealers. Be sure to check with your municipality for regulations regarding the use of grey water.