11:32 am - Monday May 28, 2012

Water Conservation

Water conservation is the most cost-effective and environmentally sound way to reduce our demand for water. This stretches our supplies farther, and protects places like Mono Lake. For example, the city of Los Angeles has grown by one million people since the 1970s, but still uses the same amount of water. Using less water also puts less pressure on our sewage treatment facilities, and uses less energy for water heating.

Saving water also saves energy. 6.5% of the energy used in the state of California is for pumping and treating water-in fact, pumping water south (and uphill) in the State Water Project accounts for 2–3% of all the electricity used in the state. And for your personal energy bill, using less hot water saves on water heating. On the flip side, saving energy and using alternative energy saves water-electricity production from fossil fuels and nuclear energy is responsible for 39% of all freshwater withdrawals in the nation.

There are many effective ways to conserve water in and around your home. Look through this list for ways that will work for you. Many of these tips were gleaned from materials published by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). Indoor savings are based on a family of two adults and one child.

Household Applications

1. Make sure your toilet is an ultra-low flush model, which uses only one and a half gallons per flush.
2. If you’re taking a shower, don’t waste cold water while waiting for hot water to reach the shower head. Catch that water in a container to use on your outside plants or to flush your toilet. Saves 200 to 300 gallons a month.
3. Check toilet for leaks. Put dye tablets or food coloring into the tank. If color appears in the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak that should be repaired. Saves 400 gallons a month.
4. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Saves three gallons each day.
5. Turn off the water while shaving. Fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of water to rinse your razor. Saves three gallons each day.

Commercial Applications

Many water-saving devices (such as low-flush toilets) that are useful in homes can also be useful for business water saving. Other water-saving technology for businesses includes:

  • Waterless urinals
  • Waterless car washes
  • Infrared or foot-operated taps, which can save water by using short bursts of water for rinsing in a kitchen or bathroom
  • Pressurized waterbrooms, which can be used instead of a hose to clean sidewalks
  • X-ray film processor re-circulation systems
  • Cooling tower conductivity controllers
  • Water-saving steam sterilizers, for use in hospitals and health care facilities.
  • Rain water harvesting.
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