—by Debra Shore, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner
Here’s how you can conserve water, starting now!
- Replace an older toilet (pre-1994) with a new low-flow or dual flush model. Why? Toilets are the biggest water guzzlers in our homes, older toilets use approximately 3.5 gallons per flush (pre-1980 toilets can use as much as seven gallons per flush), and the typical American flushes five times a day at home. A family of four could save as much as 11,096 gallons a year by installing a 1.6 gallon per flush toilet. A 1999 research study found that Americans use 5.7 billion gallons of clean drinking water a day to flush waste down toilets—now that’s a waste.
- Run the dishwasher and laundry machine only when full.
- High-efficiency washing machines with Energy Star ratings use up to 50 percent less energy and water each year.
- While waiting for the shower water to warm up, capture that water in a bucket and use it to water your plants, your garden or to flush your toilet. It’s perfectly good potable water flowing down the drain while we wait for the shower to heat up.
- Install low-flow showerheads and take shorter showers.
- Get a rain barrel to capture water from the downspouts and use that water to irrigate your lawn or garden or wash your car.
- Fix leaky faucets. One drop per second can amount to 3,000 gallons a year.