Take practical steps to conserve water

Adopting water conserving actions and activities can reduce high water bills and help the environment.

Bathrooms have the most potential for saving water since they account for 75% of indoor water use.Michigan and the entire Midwest has been experiencing warmer-than-normal temperatures and lower than average rainfall. This results in drought conditions as evidenced by the yellowing lawns, wilting flowers and rising produce prices.

The number of water-stressed states has continued to increase since the last major drought in 1988. The U.S. reported that in:

  • 1990: 30 states reported water-stressed conditions
  • 2000: 35 states reported water-stressed conditions
  • 2009: 40 states reported water-stressed conditions

With increased outdoor water use – watering lawns and gardens or filling pools, etc – homeowners can take simple steps to reduce indoor water use to balance total usage in order to save water and maintain or reduce water utility bills.

The average household uses 130,000 gallons of water per year. That’s 350 gallons a day. By installing and using water saving features and adopting water reduction activities, homeowners can reduce their water use by 35 percent. That’s 44,000 gallons a year and 125 gallons a day!

Saving water in the home does not need to be expensive. You don’t need to replace the toilet or other water using appliances, such as clothes or dish washers, unless they are broken or you are able and ready to replace these appliances with more energy-efficient models.

First, check your water meter. Do this at a time when there is no water being used. If the meter is showing water usage (the dial is moving) when everything is turned off or not in use, it probably means there’s a leak somewhere.

 Next, check for leaks in pipes or faucets. Studies show that leaks account for more than 10 percent of the household water used. A small faucet drip can waste 20 gallons a day. A large drip can waste hundreds of gallons.

Seventy-five percent of indoor water use is in the bathroom and 35 percent of that water is for the toilet. Installing low-flow aerators on faucets or a “tank bank” in the toilet can significantly reduce water use. “Low-flow” means the aerator uses less than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm). Aerators come in different sizes with the 2.5 gpm at the top of the “low flow” designation. While a 2.5 gpm aerator may be needed in the kitchen, a 1.5 gpm aerator might work nicely in bathroom faucets.

Photo: Bathrooms have the most potential for saving water since they account for 75 percent of indoor water use.

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