Conservation Made Easy

There are practical reasons to conserve water, like saving money. If you have a water company, you’ll pay less if you use less.

If you have a private well, you’ll extend the life of your pump and septic system. Remember, your water isn’t free. Someone paid for the installation of the well and septic system. You not only need to maintain it but you also use electricity to pump up the water. Also, every time your pump starts, it died a little and is one start closer to failing.

Less water entering your septic will go a long way to preventing its failure. All the water that goes into the holding tank comes out the opposite side. Water moving quickly through does not allow time for solids to settle and they will be carried into your drain field which shortens its life.

Everyone is familiar with some kind of water saving measure. Yet did you know that the average American uses 80 gallons of water per day and 40 percent (about 32 gallons) of that water goes straight down the drain?

That figure covers indoor use only. Showers and faucets run at 4 to 6 gallons per minute, top-load washers use 40 to 50 gallons per load to wash and rinse and toilets range from 1.5 to 3 gallons per use. You can purchase more efficient appliances and better plumbing accessories, but ultimately, people need to change their habits to conserve.

Drinking more water can actually save water! Our water resources must be used by industry to produce beverages like coffee, beer, soda etc. Beverages with caffeine can dehydrate you too, causing you to drink even more. So when you’re thirsty, reach for water instead.

There are many ways to conserve. All you have to do is look at your lifestyle and use a little common sense.

Here are some tips you can apply to help conserve water inside and outside your home.

Inside:

  • Check plumbing for leaks.
  • Adjust all water-using appliances to use the minimum amount of water needed to operate.
  • Install a toilet dam or water displacement device to reduce the amount of water used when flushing. · Leaky toilets can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day. To find out if your toilet is leaking, add a few drops of food coloring to the tank. If the coloring finds its way into the toilet bowl, you need to make repairs.
  • Don’t let water run when doing dishes, brushing teeth, shaving, and washing hands and face.
  • Refrigerate a bottle of water instead of letting water run to get cold.
  • Pre-rinsing dishes for the dishwasher is usually unnecessary. Only run dishwasher when full.
  • Use proper water level settings for the washing machine and only run when full.
  • Take shorter showers. Five to seven gallons can be saved for every minute. Turn off water while you lather and shampoo. Turn on again to rinse.
  • Install low-flow shower heads and aerators on household faucets.
  • On average, daily personal hygiene uses about 15 gallons of water per person. Sometimes a wrapped towelette or instant hand sanitizer is all you need to wash up.

Outside:

  • Wash your car at a public car wash facility where the water is recycled.
  • Water plants only when necessary. Watering lawns and gardens can double the water usage in your household during the summer months. Refrain from unnecessary lawn watering. Avoid watering between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Most lawns need only one inch of water every five to seven days in the summer. When mowing, raise the blade on your lawn mower to at least three inches high or to the highest level.
  • Landscaping with less grass and more native, and drought-resistant plants can help reduce your need for extra water, as well as time spent mowing, weeding and fertilizing. Our native plant species require less water than ornamentals. Check the Carbon County Environmental Education Center’s Library for books on this topic.
  • Install rain barrels or redirect downspouts towards lawns or flowerbeds.
  • Sweep paved surfaces such as driveways, streets, sidewalks, garages, and patios. Do not hose down.
  • Mulching shrubs and plants will reduce evaporation.

Conservation helps all of us right now. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention sustainability, which is preserving the amount and quality of our water and other natural resources for future generations.

We are all polluters, whether we know it or not. The mere fact that we’re alive contributes to pollution. So, you and I have a choice as to whether we do nothing or minimize our effect and protect the environment for our children and grandchildren.

We all directly or indirectly cause pollution when we drive cars, use electricity and purchase items. Industry produces everything we have and use, and causes pollution on a global scale.

Just think about how much garbage goes to a landfill where it may poison groundwater in the future. There is a countywide recycling program and taking advantage of it is a good first step.

What kind of nasty stuff do we pour down the drain, onto the ground or burn in our barrel? Activities in our own house and backyard can be a source of pollution.

Whether pollution is in our air, on the ground or in our water doesn’t really matter. The Water Cycle is a continuous loop, moving water from the ground into the air and back down into our water supply. In the process, water grabs whatever it finds and delivers it to our kitchen faucet.

I try to be a good steward so I have clean water today, and my grandchildren have clean water tomorrow. I hope you’ll join me in this effort.

See the water level in Carbon County’s observation well or observation wells across Pennsylvania.

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