manage your water

We’ve been so blessed with water in the US that we take it for granted. Great rivers and lakes and forested watersheds have provided abundant water to most areas of the country. But pollution, drought, plus increasing population and agricultural demand have brought us to a point where planners predict serious shortfalls in the future. We’re already experiencing shortages of clean water in many locales, and the problem will only get worse.

As consumers of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of gallons of water per household per day, we can contribute directly to mitigating this crisis by conserving at home. As with power management, water conservation begins with awareness. A basic water management system that reports daily household use to your tablet or smart phone makes this easy.

First take simple steps, like installing low-flush toilets and low-flow shower heads. Consider an instant hot water heater located in the master bath (unless it’s next to the water heater), to save all of that not-quite-hot water you watch going down the drain while waiting to shave.

And don’t forget to check for leaks: running toilets, dripping faucets inside and out, and sprinkler systems for the garden are the main culprits. When you think you’re done, check the water meter with everything turned off, to confirm that you got them all.

Then move on to more active solutions. Fine tune sprinkler head patterns, flow, and timing, so you’ll use the minimum water needed; better yet, commit to a plan to transition to a drought-resistant garden. Is a shower timer too radical? In submarines, sailors get a minute or so to shower. Does your son really need a half an hour? Most importantly, link the monitoring and control of water-consuming devices into your integrated home plan, so it becomes a part of your daily (or weekly) review, and so you can change schedules, times and temperatures to meet changing family plans or weather conditions.

Fine tune your water use to your lifestyle. You’ll conserve water and money. To recap…

First check for leaks:
• Toilets
• Water Main
• Faucets
• Irrigation system

Then focus on:
• Low-flow fixtures
• Automated irrigation
• Daily awareness