|Water Conservation Tips Save You Money - EPA|
Dateline: August 21, 2002
American families could save over $115 a year in water supply charges and help protect the environment by applying simple water conservation tips, like finding and fixing plumbing leaks, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Christie Whitman.
In announcing EPA's new water conservation tips Web site -- H2Ouse -- (http://www.h2ouse.org), Whitman urged Americans to find ways to eliminate the 14 percent preventable loss of water the average U.S. household experiences every day.
Wasted water costs families money
"Nationally, an average of 14 percent of the water we buy is lost through leaks without our ever using it - that's like paying a 14 percent sales tax on something you don't get to use," Whitman said. August is "Water Efficiency Month," part of EPA's celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act.
According to the EPA, a typical U.S. family of four spends around $820 every year on water and sewer fees, plus another $230 in energy charges for heating water. In many cities, says EPA, water and sewer costs can be more than twice those amounts. Many people do not realize how much money they can save by taking simple steps to save water and they don't know the cumulative effects such small changes can have on water resources and environmental quality.
"Water is truly a staple of our existence and using that water efficiently needs to be part of our daily lives," said Whitman. "Fixing a leaky faucet, toilet or lawn watering system can reduce water consumption. Changing to water-efficient plumbing fixtures and appliances can be major water and energy savers as well.
"I believe water is the biggest environmental issue we face in the 21st century in terms of both quantity and quality," said Whitman. "The drought this summer is reminding many Americans of the need to appreciate clean water as an invaluable resource. As the U.S. population increases, the need for clean water supplies continues to grow dramatically and puts additional stress on our limited water resources. We can all take steps to save and conserve this valuable resource."
Water conservation leads to energy conservation
Reducing water usage also contributes to critical energy savings in other areas, as some eight percent of America's total annual energy consumption goes to heating, treating and pumping water. In addition, the EPA stresses that reducing wasted water and energy will improve the environment. Diverting less water for municipal uses preserves more streamflow to maintain a healthy aquatic environment. Less energy demand results in fewer pollutants from power plants.
Five household steps to water conservation
Highlighting the vast quantity of information on its H2Ouse Web site about how Americans can save water -- and money -- around the house, EPA suggests five main steps homeowners should take right away:
- Stop Those Leaks!
Check your indoor water using appliances and devices for leaks. Pay particular attention to outdoor irrigation systems.
- Replace your old Toilet,
the largest water user inside your home. If your home was built before 1992 and the toilet has never been replaced, then it is very likely that you do not have a water efficient 1.6 gallon per flush toilet.
- Replace your Clothes Washer,
the second largest water user in your home. Energy Star™ rated washers that also have a Water Factor at or lower than 9.5, use 35-50% less water and 50% less energy per load. This saves you money on both your water and energy bills.
- Plant the Right Plants with Proper Landscape Design & Irrigation
Whether you are putting in a new landscape or slowing changing the current landscaping at your home, select plants that are appropriate for your local climate conditions. Having yard with 100% lawn turf area in a dry desert climate uses significant amounts of water. Also consider the trend towards Xeriscape™ and a more natural landscape or wildscape.
- Water Only What Your Plants Need
Most water is wasted in your garden by watering when you plants do not need the water or by not maintaining the irrigation system. Be attentive if you are manual watering by setting your oven timer or some other reminder to move the water promptly. Make sure your irrigation controller has a rain shutoff device and that it's appropriately scheduled.
Indoors and out, learn even more ways to save water all-around the house by taking the EPA's Virtual Tour.
For more information: For more water conservation tips and energy saving ideas for businesses, industries and individuals, visit the EPA's main Water Use Efficiency Web site at: http://www.epa.gov/owm/water-efficiency/index.htm. You can also order the EPA report, "Cases in Water Conservation: How Efficiency Programs Help Water Utilities Save Water and Avoid Costs," by calling 513-489-8190 and asking for publication number EPA832-B-02-003.