Water Conservation and Drought Information
Sometimes, after a long period without much rain, and especially in the heat of summer, cornfields and other crops may appear dry and shriveled and even fail to produce. Streams that were flowing and full of water and life just a few months before may become dry patches of land instead. This is a drought, and during these times, it is important for everyone to conserve as much water as possible.
Water is a precious resource. Without water, there could be no life. We live on a “water planet.” When viewed from space, the Earth is blue and white. The blue is the all of the oceans and other bodies of water, and the white is water vapor. All living things depend on water to survive. Most living things are largely composed of water. For instance, the human body is about 75% water. Tomatoes are 90% water, potatoes are 80% water, and, like humans, chickens are 75% water. Unfortunately, while the Earth is covered in water, less than 2% of that water is fresh water suitable for use and consumption. Nearly 50% of the world's population lacks access to clean water for sanitation, drinking, and other needs.
Below are a few facts about water usage that may help you conserve water (and save on your water bill).
- The average home uses more than 200 gallons of water per day.
- Almost two-thirds of home water use is for toilet flushing and bathing.
- An average of 8% of all home water use is wasted through leaks. Fixing a leak can save 500 gallons of water each month. A leaky faucet alone can waste 100 gallons of water a day.
- Turning off the water while you brush your teeth can save 4 gallons of water a minute. That’s 200 gallons a week for a family of four.
- Turning off the water while you shave can save more than 100 gallons of water a week.
- Every toilet flush you eliminate can save between two and seven gallons of water.
- Taking showers instead of baths can save 30 gallons of water. (Filling the bathtub uses about 50 gallons of water.)
- Keeping your shower under 5 minutes can save up to 1000 gallons a month, and turning off water while shampooing and conditioning hair can save 50 gallons a week.
- Using a water-saving showerhead can save your family 500 gallons a week.
- Running your dishwasher and washing machine only when they are completely filled can save 1,000 gallons a month.
- Choosing a water-saving model when replacing a washing machine can save up to 20 gallons per load.
- Using a hose nozzle and turning off the water while you wash your car can save more than 100 gallons of water.
- Choosing a low water use plant when replacing or adding a flower or shrub can save 550 gallons each year.
- One newspaper a day means the use of 66,000 gallons of water a day.
- It takes 6 gallons of water to produce one gallon of gasoline.
About 75% of your brain is water--use it wisely to learn to make water conservation an everyday habit.
Follow these DOs and DON'Ts to save hundreds of gallons of water per week!
IN THE BATHROOM:
- DO fill the bath tub only halfway and save 10-15 gallons.
- DO take shorter showers and save 3-5 gallons of water a minute.
- DON'T use the toilet as a waste basket. Throw trash in a trash basket and avoid flushing unnecessarily.
- DON'T leave the water running when you brush your teeth or wash your hands or face. Faucets use about 2-3 gallons every minute.
IN THE KITCHEN AND LAUNDRY:
- DO make sure the dishwasher is full before turning it on. Dishwashers use between 8 and 12 gallons of water per load.
- DO make sure your clothes washer is full before turning it on. Each load of laundry usually requires 50 gallons or more of water.
- DO use a bowl of water to clean fruits and vegetables rather than running water over them. Reuse the water in the bowl to water your houseplants.
- DO store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water.
- DON'T let the water run when washing dishes.
IN THE GARDEN:
- DO use a self-closing nozzle on your garden hose.
- DO use native plants in your garden (plants that normally grow in the area you live and do not need a lot of water or care).
- DON'T water gardens or lawns during the heat of day. Up to 90% of the water you use is lost through evaporation.
- DON'T use water to clean off your sidewalks or driveways--use a broom and sweep them instead.
REMEMBER... Never pour water down a drain if it can be used for something else such as watering a garden or cleaning. Educate and encourage your family, friends, neighbors, and school to practice water conservation Try to do one thing each day to conserve water. EVERY DROP COUNTS.