Mary Campbell, Pinellas County Extension Director, Urban Sustainability Agent
Here is a quiz. On average, how many gallons of water per day does one person use? Take a guess. If you guessed about 50 gallons/day you are wrong. Ok, I will stop fooling around; the answer is about 100 gallons.
Have you looked at your water bill lately to see how much you use? I was shocked to see that I was using considerably more than the 100 gallons per day per person in my home. I started to try and figure out what was going on, which led me to a leak in an outside line in the garden that was losing about 10,000 gallons per month.
It was not easy to find, so don’t give up if you think you have a leak. Turn everything off in the house and go outside to the meter and see if the little leak detector is spinning. If it is – start hunting. Leaks are a huge water waster and you are paying for that water.
In one year, a faucet that drips at the rate of one drop per second translates into 2,700 gallons of water down the drain. Do-it-yourselfers can remedy the problem by replacing worn washers or the entire faucet; if you’re not up to the job, call in a qualified professional.Toilets are the biggest water hog, accounting for 28 percent of all home water use. Consider replacing an older model with a more efficient, low-flow one that uses just 1 to 2 gallons per flush, or consider upgrading to a pressure-assisted, vacuum-assisted, or dual-flush model. Low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators are two additional water-wise bathroom must-haves that will further cut water use by hundreds of gallons per month.
Here’s a water-wasting habit that’s easy to break: letting the water run while brushing teeth, washing hands, or shaving. See for yourself how much water you’ll save by putting the stopper in the sink and leaving the water running. Fills up pretty fast, doesn’t it? Simply by turning off the water when you’re not actually using it, you’ll save gallons per minute.
Watering our landscapes is another area that we need to be very careful even if you are using a well. Our groundwater resources are also important. To learn more about conserving water in the landscape: http://pinellas.ifas.ufl.edu/fyn/index.shtml
Water is an important resource that we need to conserve. Only three percent of the planets water is fit to drink – so let’s not waste what we have!