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Green Living: Water conservation countdown

by Jack Kirven . Q-Notes staff

The Carolinas are currently experiencing one of the region’s worst droughts on record. It is critical that individuals, households, businesses and organizations conserve water during this time. Curbing wasteful habits — such as Duke University and University of North Carolina of Chapel Hill’s practice of watering Astroturf before every drill and game — is the key to avoiding water shortage emergencies.

Following the tips listed below can greatly reduce your usage and wastage of fresh water.

Top 10 ways to save water

• Capture the cold water that comes out of your showerhead before it warms up and use it to water your houseplants or garden. (200-300 gallons per month)

• Adjust sprinklers so they aren’t watering the street or sidewalk. (500 gallons per month)
• Don’t use your toilet as an ashtray (or better yet, quit smoking). (400-600 gallons per month)
• Sweep your driveway and sidewalk rather than hosing them off. (600 gallons per month)
• Shorten your shower by two minutes each day (two showers per day per person saves almost 12 gallons per shower per person). (700 gallons per month per person)
• Only run full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher. (800 gallons per month)
• Install water-saving shower heads. (500-800 gallons per month per person)
• Use a bucket of soapy water to wash your car and run the hose only for rinsing. (150 gallons per week per car)
• Water your lawn only when needed. Hint: Walk through your grass; if you leave footprints it needs water. If the grass springs back, it doesn’t. (Also, consider replacing grass with minimal water-use plants, native plants and rock garden formations.) (750-1,500 gallons per month)
• Fix leaks from inside and outside faucets. (20 gallons per day per leak)
Top five bathroom water savers
• Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. (100 gallons per month per person)
• Turn off the water while shaving. (100 gallons per month per person)
• Displace water in your seven-gallon toilet tank with a bottle filled with rocks and water. (300-400 gallons per month per person)
• Check toilet for leaks by putting liquid food coloring in the tank. If the water in the bowl changes color without flushing, fix the leak. (400 gallons per month per toilet)
• Replace seven-gallon toilets with 1.5-gallon toilets. (600 gallons per month per person)
Top five kitchen water savers
• Soak fruits and veggies, don’t rinse them under running water. (50-150 gallons per month)
• Use the least amount of soap possible when hand-washing dishes. It will require less rinse water. (50-150 gallons per month)
• Use a microwave to defrost frozen foods, not running water. (150-250 gallons per month)
• Keep drinking water in the refrigerator so you don’t have to run the tap to cool it off. (200-300 gallons per month)
• Fill sinks for wash and rinse rather than letting the water run. (200-500 gallons per month)
Top 10 lawn and car water savers
• Rinse car in the lawn after washing it. (200-400 gallons per month)
• Cut down watering on overcast and cool days. Avoid watering on rainy days. (300 gallons per session)
• Water grass when it’s cool to lower evaporation. Dawn is better than dusk to avoid the growth of fungi. (300 gallons per month)
• Make the kids play in the sprinkler only when it’s already running to water the plants. (10 gallons per minute per session)
• Avoid watering the yard on windy days to reduce evaporation. (300 gallons per session)
• If you have an evaporative air conditioner, direct the water drain line into a flower bed. (500 gallons per month)
• Set your lawnmower blades one step higher. Taller grass shades the ground better, decreasing evaporation. (500-1,500 gallons per month)
• Keep mulch around trees and bushes to lower evaporation. (750-1,500 gallons per month)
• Use car washes that recycle rinse water. (1,250 gallons per car per week)
• Dispose of hazardous waste properly. (One quart of oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water. Also, do not flush medications down the toilet.)

info: For more water-saving ideas, see the link below.
— Q-Notes’ “Health and Wellness” column rotates between physical fitness, spirituality, medical wellness and green living.


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