Water Conservation Practices and Options
California is Still in a drought and 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 California’s current engineered water storage systems 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:
- Storage Capacity
Looking at any one of these without considering the others is shortsighted.
Water Conservation Tips – What can You do?
On a personal level, decreasing consumption or increasing efficiency can be performed most easily by making lifestyle choices and changes to your home and office.
- On average, a vegan 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’s worth of paper.
- Choose companies that are making plans to utilize 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 bottle in drought ridden areas to sell to water rich areas of the nation/world.
- Home Maintenance for Water Conservation– 75% of water use in the home is due to bathroom activities. 25% is from the toilet alone.
- 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 water pipes.
- Install a 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 re-circulation pump on the longest hot and cold water line pair of the house. Triggering the re-circulation pump quickly pumps 2-3 gallons of water from the hot line into the cold line. No water is lost but after the re-circulation 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, which minimizes 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 gallons per year.
- Install drip irrigation for plants of the yard.
- Add a layer of mulch around trees and plants to decrease evaporation of ground moisture.
Storage Capacity – Petition your lawmakers
- Increasing storage capacity can help with future droughts after many years of supply heavy rain.
- Rainwater and snow runoff builds up in reservoirs which public utilities draw from.
- Some water bottling companies have been drawing from public reservoirs, further taking it from away from public water consumption and agriculture needs. What sense does it make to take water from drought ridden areas to sell to water rich areas?
California’s Water Supply Sources – Petition your lawmakers
- Rainwater and snowpack are fickle and dependent on climate change fluctuations.
- Aqueducts 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 – are expensive to run, but California sits 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 aqueducts with solar panels or other protection against evaporation in the direct sunlight will help preserve our supply.
Who is Healthy Building Science?
Environmental Testing Services at HBS
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