Water Conservation

by / Friday, 15 April 2016 / Published in Business, Green Building Consulting
water conservation tips

Water Conservation Practices and Options

California is Still in a drought, or haven’t you heard? Conservation is still needed. Read on for water conservation tips.

El Nino has come and gone, even though he gave us a good dose of exactly what our state needed, we will continue to need water conservation measures to preserve our precious water resources.

For the last 19 years California has been running a deficit for water consumption against water supplied by rainfall. There are several facets to this, but the main one is that California’s population has been growing for quite some time and the current engineered water storage systems that California has was only designed to support half our current population.

What can be done? When looking at any supply problem there are 3 things to consider.

  • Conservation
  • Storage Capacity
  • Supply

Looking at any one of these without considering the others is shortsighted.

water conservation tips

Xeriscaping Garden

Water Conservation Tips – What can you do?

On a personal level, decreasing consumption or increased efficiency can be performed most easily by making lifestyle choices and changes to your home and office.

  • Lifestyle
    • On average, a vegan, a person who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet.
  • A quarter pound burger is worth more than 30 average American showers. One of the easiest ways to slim your water footprint is to eat less meat and dairy.
    • A cup of coffee takes 55 gallons of water to make, with most of that H2O used to grow the coffee beans.
    • Recycling a pound of paper, less than the weight of your average newspaper, saves about 3.5 gallons of water. Buying recycled paper products saves water too, as it takes about six gallons of water to produce a dollar worth of paper.
  • Choose companies that are making plans to take water from water-rich areas of the nation. Starbucks has been building water bottling plants in Pennsylvania, to name one. Avoid Nestle and other companies that are bottling in drought-ridden areas to sell to water-rich areas of the nation/world.
  • Home Maintenance for Water Conservation75% of the water use in the home is due to bathroom activities. 25% is from the toilet alone.water conservation tips
    • Verify that there are no leaky irrigation pipes, toilets, faucets, showers or baths in your home. Small drips can waste 20 gallons daily and larger leaks can waste up to hundreds of gallons daily.
    • Check the crawlspace and attic to make sure there are no leaks from the water pipes.
    • Install water-saving shower head and low-flow faucet aerators.
    • Install low-flow toilets or adjust the amount of water per flush in the toilet. Older style toilets can waste 5 to 7 gallons per flush. Newer style low-flow toilets use only 1 to 2 gallons per flush.
    • Install a demand switch recirculation pump on the longest hot and cold water line pair of the house. Triggering the recirculation pump quickly pumps 2-3 gallons of water from the hot line into the cold line. No water is lost but after the recirculation pump has run the water in the loop, hot water is available. This way, no water is lost ‘running’ the hot water faucets/showers until the hot water is available.
    • Insulate your hot water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. Helps to minimize hot water availability lag time.
  • Landscaping – Nearly 60% of a person’s household water footprint can go toward lawn and garden maintenance.
    • Plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants. Look up Xeriscaping and follow the principles for a low-maintenance, drought resistant yard. The typical lawn will use 35,000 per year.
    • Install drip irrigation for the plants of the yard.
    • Add a layer of mulch around trees and plants to decrease evaporation of the moisture.

Storage Capacity – Petition your lawmakers

  • Too little, too late for now. Increase can help with future droughts after many years of supply heavy rain.
  • The rainwater and snow runoff builds up in the reservoirs to which the public utilities draw from.
  • Some water companies have been drawing from the reservoirs, further taking it from away from public water consumption and agriculture needs. What sense does this make? Taking water from drought-ridden areas to sell to water rich areas?

Supply of Water – Petition your lawmakers

  • Rainwater and Snowpack – fickle and is dependent on climate change fluctuations.
  • Aqua ducts from Oregon – Oregon is experiencing the drought as well. It doesn’t make sense to take from a drought ridden area to supply a water rich area, just the same, from one drought ridden area to another drought ridden area. Does not make sense.
  • Desalinization Plants – Expensive to run, but California is sitting next to the largest body of water on the planet, the Pacific Ocean. It is a confirmed technology that has been used in the Middle East for years. California also has one of the strongest economies in the world, stronger than many countries.
  • Covering our existing aqua ducts with solar panels or other protection against evaporation in the direct sunlight.
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3 Responses to “Water Conservation”

  1. DURP says :

    A good article on water conservation

  2. joseph says :

    Lovely piece and commendable initiative there, keep going

  3. David Sasse says :

    Great Blog!

    While I agree with 90% of your recommendations I do have one comment:

    While I believe your comment about coffee is correct:
    “A cup of coffee takes 55 gallons of water to make, with most of that H2O used to grow the coffee beans.”
    However, NO coffee is grown in the continental United States. It is a tropical plant. In fact, Hawaii is the only state that grows coffee.
    Our drought is concentrated in California and the western United States.
    So while coffee may in fact take 55 gallons of water to make, most of that is used to grow the coffee and the regions that coffee is grown may not be suffering from a drought. Coffee may be a very sustainable crop and essential to the economy of those regions.

    If we are serious about conservation, locally grown items such as dairy and meat will provide much more actual water savings in California.

    Also, conservation, home maintenance, and infrastructure repairs and improvements are going to have a much greater impact than cutting out coffee.

    Just my 2 cents (which won’t come close to buying a cup of coffee) :-p

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