Celebrate World Water Day by Conserving Water

This Saturday, March 22nd is World Water Day, established by the United Nations in 1993 to raise awareness about water availability, usage, and conservation around the world. Many people don’t realize how much money they can save by taking simple steps to conserve water, and they don’t know the cumulative effects such small changes can have on water resources and environmental quality, according to the U.S. EPA.

For more information on World Water Day and water conservation, check out the following links:

NJ DEP: The Case for Water Conservation in New Jersey

Wikipedia: World Water Day

United Nations: World Water Day

EPA: New Jersey Water Sense Fact Sheet [PDF], WaterSense Homepage

For everyday steps you can take to conserve water, click below:

  1. Check for hidden water leaks — Read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak. Also, by reading your water meter at the same time of day for a week and logging the results, you can determine your actual daily water usage. This offers a helpful baseline for comparison when implementing water conservation measures.
  2. Check your toilets for leaks — Did you know that a leaky toilet can waste 20,000 gallons of water per year? Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.
  3. Don’t use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket — Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash, five to seven gallons of water is wasted. You also add an unnecessary load on the sewage treatment system. Put trash into a wastebasket and leave the toilet for its intended use.
  4. Put plastic bottles in your toilet tank–To cut down on water waste, put an inch or two of sand or pebbles inside each of two plastic bottles to weigh them down. Then, fill the bottles with water, screw the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. This may save ten or more gallons of water per day. Be sure at least 3 gallons of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly. For new installations, consider buying “low flush” toilets, which use 1 to 2 gallons per flush instead of the usual 3 to 5 gallons.
  5. Insulate your water pipes– It’s easy and inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You’ll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water, and energy, as it heats up.
  6. Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators — Your local hardware or plumbing supply store has inexpensive water-saving shower heads or restrictors that are easy for the homeowner to install. Also, long, hot showers can use five to ten gallons every unneeded minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off. Also, all household faucets should be fit with aerators. This single best home water conservation method is also the cheapest!
  7. Take shorter showers — One way to cut down on water use is to turn off the shower while soaping up, and then turn it back on to rinse. A 4-minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water.
  8. Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush — There is no need to keep the water running while brushing your teeth. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.
  9. Rinse your razor in the sink — Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water. This will rinse your razor just as well as running water, with far less waste of water.
  10. Check faucets and pipes for leaks — A small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste 20 gallons of water per day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons.
  11. Use your dishwasher and clothes washer for only full loads — Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation. Avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses an added 20 liters (5 gallons) for the extra rinse. For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load. If you’re in the market for a new clothes washer, consider buying a water-saving frontload washer. And always choose appliances with the ENERGY STAR logo.
  12. Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units — In-sink ‘garburators’ require lots of water to operate properly, and also add considerably to the volume of solids in a sewage system. Start a simple home compost pile in your backyard as an alternate method of disposing vegetable and fruit waste. Montclair provides clear and easy composting instructions, and sells home compost bins at low-cost to residents. Call the Office of Environmental Affairs at 973-509-5721.
  13. When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing — If you have a double-basin, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have a single-basin sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a panful of hot water.
  14. Don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables — Just rinse them in a stoppered sink or a pan of clean water.
  15. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge — Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful. Even in areas where water seems abundant, water conservation is important. Although it’s tough to see the connection, we can help improve water quality just by conserving at home. In addition to saving money on our utility bills, water conservation helps prevent water pollution in nearby streams and rivers throughout our watershed.

For further information, contact the Office of Environmental Affairs at 973-509-5721. This post is modified from the original posted at Money Saving Water Conservation Tips on MontclairNJUSA.org