Waterwise Wednesday: The Capetown Warning for Metro Areas

Capetown’s crisis is in the spotlight now, but other metropolitan areas could soon follow:

Cape Town’s taps are due to be turned off because of severe drought. It is not alone in having water woes.
BBC.COM

Waterwise Wednesday: Leaky Toilet

The bathroom toilet accounts for 25%-30% of daily water use in the U.S. home. A leaky toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water a day.

Check for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank, don’t flush. 
If the color reaches the bowl in 10-15 minutes there’s a leak. It’s likely the toilet flapper is worn and no longer seals.


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Waterwise Wednesday: Water Resolutions

Here are 10 top ways to save water in the New Year.

1. KNOW WHERE YOUR WATER IS WASTED
Scottsbluff pumps 6.6 million gallons a day in the heat of the summer and 2.8 million gallons a day the coldest month. The majority of the difference is for lawn irrigation. Limit outdoor w

ater waste with drought tolerant turf, xeriscaping, rain gardens and other sustainable landscape options.

2. UPGRADE YOUR APPLIANCES & FIXTURES
Choose a WaterSense labeled high-efficiency clothes washers, toilets, and showerheads to save more than 20% from conventional appliances.

3. WATER LESS
Water at dawn while cool and calm, to reduce evaporation. Water in short bursts, instead of a long soak, for better soil infiltration.

4. SHORTEN YOUR SHOWERS
Even a one- or two-minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month, for a family of four. Save up to 200 to 300 gallons per month by using a bucket or to capture what is waste while waiting for the shower or sink water to warm up, and use it on house-plants or in your garden.

5. SWEEP, DON’T HOSE
Save 150 gallons or more by sweeping instead of hosing driveways and sidewalks. Don’t run the hose while washing your car on the lawn. Instead, use a bucket of water and a quick hose rinse which saves 150 gallons each time and gives the lawn a water boost.

6. WATER THE GREEN, NOT THE GUTTER
Adjust sprinklers so that water lands on the lawn or garden – and only there. That can save 500 gallons per month. Check for broken or clogged sprinkler heads. Also, ensure that drip system nozzles and emitters are directed toward your plants and not at a sidewalk or driveway.

7. PLANT A NATIVE GARDEN
Native gardens require less maintenance, don’t need chemical fertilizers and attract butterflies and hummingbirds! Panhandle friendly plants can reduce a home’s water consumption by 60 percent.

8. DON’T WASTE THE RAIN
Capture rain runoff in a rain barrel to water the garden or design a swale to slow, spread, and sink rainwater into the soil. That way you’ll need to irrigate less and can conserve more.

9. DON’T WATER WHEN IT RAINS
It seems obvious, but don’t water during downpours or in the hours after a storm. Rain or soil moisture sensors can determine if and how long to water. Both devices can stand-alone or added on to existing controllers. They can reduce outdoor water use by up to 70 percent without sacrificing the quality or health of your landscape.

10. LOCATE THE LEAKS
A minor leak can waste 20 gallons a day and a leaky toilet wastes up to 200 gallons of water per day. Don’t let minor water leaks in your home go unfixed. Check for and repair leaks in all toilets, faucets and showerheads.

Photo: Fuzzbones/Dreamstime

Waterwise Wednesday: Let it Drip?!

Yes, it sounds strange, but keeping the water moving through a home’s water system in below-freezing weather greatly reduces the likelihood of freezing and bursting pipes. Turn on a faucet at the opposite end of the system from where it enters the building. Place a bucket under the faucet to catch the drip and use it later for flushing toilets or watering plants.

Waterwise Wednesday: Travel Tips

Water conservation doesn’t have to leave town when you do. Try these water savvy travel tips to encourage conservation wherever you go.

1. Close taps before leaving on holiday – including the automatic ice maker on the fridge. If possible, shut off the supply at the water main to prevent any water wastage.

2. Pack a re-usable water bottle. Empty it before going through airport security, then keep it filled for traveling, touring, the hotel, etc.

3. Keep your showers short and refrain from filling the bath tub.

4. Use the half flush button – many hotels and public areas are switching dual flush toilets. Using about a gallon to flush urine, about 1.6 gallons to flush feces.

5. Don’t let the water run. Turn off the water while soaping up and brushing teeth.

6. Reuse your towels. Hotels encourage their guests to reuse towels during their stay. A typical 300-room hotel can reduce its water usage by 51,840 gallons and detergent usage by 346 gallons yearly with a towel and linen reuse program, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).

7. Speak up. If you’re visiting somewhere and notice a leaky toilet or a dripping tap, mention it to your host or hotel reception. We’re all in this together!

Waterwise Wednesday: Trees Tame Stormwater

Trees play a critical role in managing our city’s stormwater runoff. Enjoy this interactive poster from the Arbor Day Foundation highlighting the role trees play in urban stormwater management.

https://www.arborday.org/trees/stormwater.cfm

Waterwise Wednesday: Cold Weather, Hot Water

We tend to compensate for cold temperatures with hotter showers and running water longer to make sure the water is definitely warm before sticking our hands under the tap.

Collect the water that runs while waiting for the warmer water for plants, pets, cooking, or drinking. Chances are, you’ll be saving two to eight gallons – plenty to take care of several tasks that don’t require hot water.

Photo: nikkytok

Waterwise Wednesday: Natural Clog Buster

Got a slow moving drain? Skip caustic chemicals and flush the drain with vinegar and baking soda. Vinegar and baking soda can clear out grease and dissolve organic material trapped in your pipes.

Start by pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain. Then sprinkle one cup of baking soda into the drain, quickly followed by a cup of vinegar. Insert the drain cap or a rag to keep the bubbles working in the pipe. Let the mixture sit in the pipes for 15 minutes to an hour Finish with one more flush of boiling water down the pipes.

Waterwise Wednesday: Policy Works

Researchers, led by Estelle Chaussard from the University of Buffalo, link ground water recovery in Santa Clara Valley California to the state’s newly instated water conservation efforts—policies that diverted surface water to refill aquifers

In 2013, interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSARa) measured a 2-centimeter decrease in ground-level elevation, followed by another 3 centimeters in 2014. The research team estimates a groundwater loss of about a tenth of a cubic kilometer caused the ground to shrink or lower.

Ground surfaces began to expand and rise in September 2015, rising nearly 2 centimeters over the next two years and were at pre-study levels by the end of 2016. This reflects the same time surface water diversion policy went into effect.

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