| There is as much water in the world today as there was thousands
of years ago. Actually, it's the same water. The water from your faucet
could contain molecules that dinosaurs drank. Perhaps Columbus sailed across
||Nearly 97% of the world's water is salty or otherwise undrinkable.
Another 2% is locked in icecaps and glaciers. That leaves just 1% for all
of humanity's needs - all its agricultural, manufacturing, community, and
personal household needs.
||The United States uses some 450 billion gallons of water
every day. Only about 6% of that - 27 billion gallons - is taken by public
water supply systems. The U.S. daily average of water pumped by those systems
is 185 gallons per person.
|We drink very little of our drinking water. Generally speaking,
less than 1% of the treated water produced by water utilities is actually
consumed. The rest goes on lawns, in washing machines, and down toilets
||For the price of a single 12 - ounce can of soda - about
50 cents - many communities deliver up to 1,000 gallons of fresh, clean
drinking water to homes 24 hours a day. If drinking water and soda pop were
equally costly, your water bill would skyrocket more than 10,000%.
||If everyone in the United States flushed the toilet just
one less time per day, we could save a lakeful 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. Since
nearly 70 million meals are served each day in U.S. restaurants, we'd save
more than 26 million gallons of water if only one person in four declined
the complimentary glassful.
||If you have a lawn, chances are it's your biggest water gobbler.
Typically, at least 50% of water consumed by households is used outdoors.
Inside your house, bathroom facilities claim nearly 75% of the water used.
||Indoor water use statistics vary from family to family and
in various parts of the country, but they average out pretty reliably. Nearly
40% gets flushed down toilets, more than 30% is used in showers and baths,
the laundry and dishwashing take about 15%, leaks claim 5% or more, which
leaves about 10% for everything else.
|How many times a day is the toilet flushed in your house?
If U.S. citizens averaged only four or five flushes per day, it would amount
to more than 5 billion gallons of water down the drain. That's enough to
supply drinking water to the entire population of Chicago for more than
||Little leaks add up in a hurry. A faucet drip or invisible
toilet leak that totals only two tablespoons a minute comes to 15 gallons
a day. That's 105 gallons a week and 5,460 wasted gallons of water a year.
||Ultra - low - flush toilets, which may cost from under $100
to over $300, depending on the type purchased, 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%.
|Which uses more water, a shower or a tub bath? It all depends.
A partially filled tub uses much less than a long shower, while a short
shower is much more water efficient than a brimful tub. If you shower in
a bathtub, check yourself y plugging the tub to see how hight the water
comes when you're finished. Do you use more or less than that amount when
you take a bath?
||Any showerhead now manufactured in the United States is required
by law to release no more than 3.2 gallons of water per minute. Super low-flow
shower heads that deliver as little as 1.25 gallons per minute, cost anywhere
from $5 to $75.
||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 thoughtlessly flush away tissues and other bits
of trash in the toilet. Using a wastebasket, instead, will save all those
gallons of water that otherwise go wastefully down the drain.
||If someone in your family likes to shave with water running
in the basin, they probably use at least one gallon per minute, most of
it wasted. A stoppered basin needs one-half gallon or so of water for adequate
||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.
||If everyone in the United States could manage to use just
one less gallon of water per shower every day, we could save some 85 billion
gallons per year. How do you do it? By keeping the shower pressure lower
or by making your showers a few seconds shorter.
|| 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 of
just a few items. Also, ther's really no need to fully wash dishes vefore
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.
|| Which is more water efficient, washing dishes in an automatic
dishwasher or doing them by hand in the sink? It depends. But you can check
by testing how many gallons a full sink basin holds compared with the 9.5
to 12 gallons dishwashing machines use during a regular cycle.
|| Instead of letting the water run in the sink when you want
a cool drink, keep a jug or pitcherful cooling in the refrigerator. If you
detect and kislike the taste of chlorine in your water, which is used by
many communities for disinfection, an uncovered jug or pitcher will allow
chlorine molecules to escape into the air, thus improving the taste.
| Check every faucet in the house for leaks. A single drinpping
faucet can waste far more water in a single day than one person needs for
drinking in an intire week. Don't wait to fix a drip. Do it now!
|| If you like to rinse off vegetables and fruits, stopper
the sink instead of using running water. Stopper the sink when you wash
dishes by hand, too; and when you're finished, turn on the garbabe disposal
as you pull the plug.
|| Here's a two-for-one idea if you have a fish tank in the
house. When you clean the tank, use the dirty water on your house plants.
It's rich in nitrogen and phosphorous, shich gives you a nice fertilizer
while you use the same water twice.
| Check the water taps in your home to see if they all have
aerators or spray taps. An aerator mixes air with the water, which not only
cuts the flow but reduces splahing. The spray tap is similar, but also can
swing from side to side like a tiny showerhead.
|| Select the appropriate water level for the size of your
load of laundry. Most washers now offer preset water levels for small, medium,
and large loads. Use full loads whenever possible.
|| Do you wash your car at home? Please don't let the hose
run. Instead, wet the car thoroughly, then turn off the hose while you swab
the car with soapy water from a bucket. Use the hose again for a final rinse.
A trigger nozzle is best because it turns off automatically.
|Sweep outside with a broom, not the hose. Yes, it's lots
more fun using water, but just five minutes of hosing will waste, unneccessarily
some 25 gallons of water. Sweeping the sidewald and driveway will get them
|| What if ther's a catastrophe? What if a water pipe bursts
in your home? Do you know where the master shutoff valve is located? You
could experience terrible flooding and property damage, not to mention immense
water waste, if you don't located the valve and mark it for quick identification.
Be sure to show everyone in the family where it is.
|| When you walk on your lawn, do you leave footprints behind?
That's a sign the grass needs water. It's to dry to spring back when you
walk on it. Another sign is grass that turns a dull grey-green color. Give
that off-color grass a good drink.
|Don't sprinkle grass lightly, deep-soak it. Light watering
can't get water down deep into the soil. The grass develops shallower roots
and is both less drought-resistant and more prone to winterkill.
|| If you have an automatic 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. Sprinkling at night is
fine for dry climates, but in humid climates the relatively cool, moist
conditions can create an ideal environment for lawn diseases to develop.
| 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 your to move the sprinkler
to a new area.
|| Not all soil is the same. If your grass grows on mostly
clay soil, between 1/4 and 1/2 inch of water per hour can be absorbed before
it starts running off wastefully. If you have sandy soil, you'll need to
water more often and for shorter periods of time.
|| Grassy areas on sunny southern sides of buildings or on
slopes and areas near sidewalks and drive ways need to be watered more often.
Shady areas and northern exposures need water less frequently.
|Lawn and garden areas near sidewlks, driveways, and patios
tend to dry out faster than the rest of the yard. To water more effectively,
push a root feeder or water aerator into the soil about a foot from the
concrete. Push it in about six inches. When the grass raises up like a bubble,
pull out the probe and repeat the operation a foot or so farther along the
|| Use root feeder or water-aerator probes around trees and
bushes. Even for the giggest trees, you need go no deeper than 18 inches,
while 8 to 12 inches is plenty deep for smaller trees and shrubs. The probes
get water precisely where it's needed and simultaneously create lots of
little holes that provide aeration benefits.
||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. It also delays the first time you have to mow the
|How to apply water to your lawn can be just as important
as the amount of water you use. If your lawn thrives on 45 minutes of water
every two or three days, it will not remain as healthy if you water 15 or
20 minutes every day.
|| More water is dispensed faster with a larger diameter hose.
Sprinklers that throw large drops in a flat pattern are much more effective
than those with fine, high sprays, which can be blown about and evaporate
|| Adjust lawn watering to the weather. Following a heavy rain,
for instance, skip your regular watering day until the grass needs it again.
Teach the family how to turn off an automatic sprinkler system in case a
storm comes up during the spinkling cycle.
|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 highter setting. The grass blades
grow longer and shade one another, as well as the ground, helping to fight
off heat and hold moisture longer.
|| Mow the lawn often, at least once a week. Try to cut no
more than one third of the grass blade, removing about one half to three
quarters of an inch at a time. If you mow the grass shorter than this, excessive
shock occurs that causes grass to turn yellow despite your best sprinkling
| Minimize grass areas in your yard, because less grass means
less water demand. Survey the lawn and consder whether it might make sense
to remove grass from areas that aren't used much. Replace it with lowwater
|| Try the concept of Xeriscape (pronounced Zer-i-scape), which
means "landscaping for water conservation." The idea is to use 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
|| 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.
| Unless you're lucky enough to have super soil, be sure to
add compost, well-aged manure, or other organic material when preparing
the ground for a new lawn. Add at least three cubic yards per 1,000 square
feet and till to a depth of six inches.
|| 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-sixe
pool with average sun and wind exposure loses approximately 1,000 gallons
of water per month, enough to keep a family of four in drinking water for
nearly a year and a half. A pool cover cuts the loss by 90%.
| Water is a precious commodity and there is
a limited supply in most comunities. Remember to use only the amount you
actually need. Encourage your family to keep looking for new ways to conserve
water in and around your home.