March 22, 2011

World Water Day

Today is World Water Day. Calculate your water footprint with this calculator from National Geographic. It offers tips on water conservation as you proceed through the questionnaire. You may discover some ways you're unknowingly wasting water.

Here are my own top tips for water conservation:

  • Install low-flow shower heads to save water without sacrificing pressure. An efficient shower head will save a family of four up to $285 per year. They typically cost less than $15 and are simple to install.
  • Put an aerator on all household faucets and cut your annual water consumption by 50%.
  • Install a low-flow toilet. They use only 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons per flush for pre-1994 models. If you have an older model, adjust your float valve to admit less water into the toilet's tank.
  • Only run the washing machine and dishwasher when full.
  • Landscape your yard to use less water. Go with more flowerbeds, walkways and drought-tolerant plants.
  • Install a rain barrel to collect rainwater that can be used for watering indoor and outdoor plants as well as other non-potable uses such as car washing.
  • Take a look at your everyday habits. Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you'll save up to 150 gallons per month. Using a broom instead of the garden hose to clean your driveway can save 80 gallons of water and turning the water off when you brush your teeth will save 4.5 gallons each time.

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