Water, Water, Everywhere

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Peter Yost created a blog on water efficiency which you can find here.

I came across this article and knew I had to post. Recently, this blog has been focusing a lot of going green through saving energy. Now, we should move on focus on ways of going green through our water habits. Below is an article by Peter Yost that I know everyone should not only read, but follow:

Water: The Backseat Driver

When we talk about the environment and environmentally responsible building, it’s almost always energy that takes the spotlight, with water pretty far down the list. But it’s not hard to see just how much of a back seat driver water can be:

We don’t have any substitutes for clean water and we use a ton of it every day.Actually, more like a ton and a half; the typical US household uses 400 gallons of water a day and that’s about 3200 pounds! (Source: EPA WaterSense)
• Even in areas of the country with long histories of more than 40 inches of precipitation a year, we can be just a few short years away from not enough water to support our needs. Atlanta averages more than 50 inches of rain a year but it was just a few short years ago that Atlanta was experiencing a severe prolonged drought. (Source: US Drought Monitor)
In many areas of our country, the connections between water and energy are deep—in the state of California, more than one-sixth of all energy consumed is related to meeting water demands. Nationwide, about 80% of municipal water processing costs are for electricity. (Source: Center for Sustainable Systems)

And water is essential to more than just environmental quality; it is increasingly becoming a driver economically as well:

Water and sewer infrastructure costs: EPA reports that updating our water and sewer infrastructure could cost nearly $500 billion over the next 20 years. (Source: EPA)
Impact fees: In 2009, the impact fees for a water hook-up alone (not including sewer) averaged $3,582 in Florida; $5,792 in Virginia; $6,879 in Colorado. And forget about beautiful Oro Valley in Arizona—hook-up fees for new homes there are a whopping $27,381 per lot. (Source: National Impact Fee Survey: 2009)
Water rates: In general, we have pretty low water rates, but that’s not true across-the-board. Typical monthly water bills for both Seattle and Atlanta are well over $70, and in Santa Fe are over $120. (Source: The Price of Water: A Comparison of Water Rates, Usage in 30 US Cities)

After reading this, how can we help in reducing the amount of water we use on a daily basis?

  • Take shorter showers to reduce water use. This will lower your water and heating bills too.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap
  • Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful
  • Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, then reuse it to water houseplants.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month
  • Washing dark clothes in cold water saves both on water and energy while it helps your clothes to keep their colors.
  • When you are washing your hands, don’t let the water run while you lather
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