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WNY GOING GREEN: CONSERVING WATER IN THE HOME

Friday, 02.11.2011 / 12:43 PM / Blue & Gold Make Green
By Michael Jafari  - Graduate Assistant (2010)
Western New York is privileged to be located so close to the Great Lakes considering that one-third of the world’s population lives in “water-stressed” countries.  

Water is vital for all life forms that roam the earth.  It covers 70.9% of the earth and also makes up about 60% of the average human body.  Although it may seem like we have an endless supply of water, the truth is, we don’t. 

According to livescience.com, 97% of that percentage is salty ocean water and not suitable for drinking.  The article suggests that the amount of freshwater on earth would fill a lake in the United States 90 miles deep.  In fact, 70% of the earth’s freshwater is locked in ice caps on the north and south poles.  However, most of these icecaps float on the ocean surfaces, which means they would eventually merge into salt water.

Since water is the most important resource in the world, it is important for everyone to conserve it as much as possible.  Here are a few tips on how to conserve water right from your own home.

Everyone uses water for washing laundry and cleaning dishes in their homes.  Washing machines typically use 43 gallons of water, while your dishwasher consumes 15 gallons to operate.  You can save almost 1,000 gallons of water a month by making sure your washing machine and dishwasher are full before you run them.  Another way you can limit the use of water is by washing your dishes by hand.  However, it is more energy efficient if you don't let the water run while rinsing. Instead, you should fill one side of your kitchen sink with wash water and the other with rinse water. 

Another way you can conserve water is by shortening your time in the shower.  It isn’t the most pleasant way to preserve water, but by shortening your showers by a minute or two, you can save up to 150 gallons a month.  Can you just imagine the gallons used by big family households on an everyday basis?

Of all household appliances, the toilet could potentially consume the most water.  If you have an older toilet, you could easily be using up to two gallons per flush.  You could be using even more if you have a leak from the toilet pump to the actual bowl.  One way you can determine a leak is to put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing the leak can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.  If you don’t want to fix an old toilet, or spend more money than what it’s worth, you can buy an energy efficient toilet that consumes less than a gallon on every flush.

For tips on helping blue and gold make green or to become a Green Team member, click here.

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