Water conservation is becoming increasingly more important to protect our future and our environment. Each year, weather patterns seem more unpredictable. Our towns and cities draw vast amounts of water from our lakes and rivers. In a dry year this can contribute to critical water shortages.
Rural properties can be affected as well. The greater the demand for water, the deeper people are required to drill their wells, in order to reach sufficient supply.
Given the potential for water shortages it is wise for us to develop more water conservation techniques to protect this precious resource.
It is amazing how quickly literally drops of water add up. Do you know how much water you're losing from a leaky faucet? A slow leak - about one drop every two seconds - wastes three gallons a day. That's the equivalent of taking an extra twenty-seven baths every year. Worse - a leaky toilet can lose about twenty two gallons a day!
There are 3 significant ways a toilet can loose water.
First of all, if the shutoff is too delayed or does not shut off completely, it will constantly trickle into the overflow and down into the toilet bowl. The second problem area is the flapper that drops into position at the bottom of the tank after a flush. If it is worn or broken, it can allow a constant trickle of water out of the tank into the bowl and thus out into the sewer. These items need to be replaced when they stop being totally effective. If it sounds like the water is still trickling after it should have turned off, then it is. The third potential problem area is a flush handle that gets stuck in the flush position.
It's the little stuff that counts when it comes to reducing waste.
Low flush toilets
There is a large variety of water reducing toilets. They use the water for flushing much more effectively. Some units come with a dual flush system. These are the most efficient. They use a different flush for liquids and for solids.
. If you pay attention to these details, you'll ultimately save money and have a much lower environmental impact.
There are are a couple of additional adapters that are very effective for saving water. The first is a low flow aerator that can be screwed onto the end of the spout of a kitchen or bathroom fawcet. The other very effective water saver is a low-flow shower head. These small devices can reduce consumption, nearly by half.
Rain Barrels can be an excellent water conservation device. They can be used to collect water from the eves trough at the edge of the roof and then it can be used during the time between rain showers. Rain water is especially beneficial for watering plants or some types of washing. It is considered a soft water because it contains no minerals. This allows for the use of less detergent for washing clothes or less soap when washing hair etc. In many older homes sisterns are still being used. These are usually part of the basement or cellar that was set aside for water storage. The rain water from the roof is directed into the sistern and is kept for washing clothes, bathing or for watering plants etc.
Ground cover is another good water conservation option. It is often used instead of grass. Lush green lawns can put a huge drain on a communities water resources. Ground cover is often comprised of indigenous plants or in other words, plants that are native to the locality. In this case these plants usually will not need extra watering because they have developed a tolerance to local conditions. Another advantage of ground cover is that it needs very little maintenance such as weeding or mowing, after it is established.
Garden mulching is a system of covering the earth near plants with decaying vegetable matter such as compost or tree leaves, to prevent evaporation of moisture from the soil. A depth of 2 to 3 inches or 5 to 7 centimetres is required to be effective. This can reduce the frequency of garden watering from every day or so to maybe once or twice a week.
If it is necessary to water plants, it is best to water early in the morning. Water in the evening can cause mildew or some other diseases. Watering during the day can result in much of the precious water evaporating before it gets into the ground. For the same reason it is important to water when there is very little wind. For the same reason it is best if the sprinkler produces larger droplets instead of fine spray.
It is also, important that garden hoses and taps be in good condition. Otherwise water is lost with no benefit.
There are some things to keep in mind if you have a backyard pool. It is important that all connections are leak-proof because a drip here and there can really add up.
A pool cover has several advantages. First of all, it will reduce loss of water through evaporation, during the time the pool is not being used. The second significant advantage, is that there is less heat loss due to evaporation. The cover can also collect heat from the sun and transfer it to the water in the pool.
Reforestation is extremely beneficial for water conservation. The great canopy of leaves keep the earth cooler thus reducing evaporation. Every fall these leaves drop and establish a new layer of natural mulch each year to hold in moisture. Particularly, during heavy rain storms the leaves absorbe much of the force of the rain and the roots hold the soil together, thus slowing the run-off of water and preventing soil erosion. In cooler regions the melting of snow can be delayed by several weeks in forested areas keeping the moisture from running off as quickly.
Even in residential areas trees help with water conservation by slowing down the evaporation of water. The shade that we crave during hot weather keeps the sun of the earth, preventing it from drying the soil.
Every tree we can plant will benefit the environment, whether it is a reforestation project or a tree in our back yard.
There is a financial advantage for reducing water consumption. If we live in an urban community, we probably have a meter indicating the amount we consume and we pay accordingly. There are costs for the municipality for purifying the water to make it safe to drink and then there is the cost of treatment after we have made use of it. It must meet certain standards before it is released back into the environment.
For residents in the country there is a cost for electricity to pump the water out of the ground. There is an additional cost if our consumption exceeds the supply of our well and we then have to drill a deeper well.
These are some ways we can practice water conservation and thus save money and protect the environment at the same time.
Return from Water Conservation to Home Page