CONSERVATION IN THE HOME
This article, written by the American Ground Water Trust was originally published in
THE AMERICAN WELL OWNER, 2001, Number 3]
Should homeowners on individual wells be concerned about water conservation? The immediate answer is yes, even if your well is in a productive aquifer. For a start, conservation saves you money. The less water you use, the less time your water pump and hot water heater operate, which reduces your energy bill. Lower water usage may also reduce your sewer bill or aid in the proper operation of your septic system. If too much water is flushed into a septic system it may inhibit the natural bacterial action and settling process, which could lead to premature failure of the system and potentially contaminate nearby surface and groundwater
Excessive pumping can lower ground water levels. Pumping from deeper in the aquifer uses more energy. Where there are several wells in the same aquifer, excessive use in one well can cause problems in adjacent wells. Not only is ground water of importance as a supply source for homes, but ground water also supplies many streams, ponds and wetlands. Excessive ground water use can therefore have a detrimental effect on the natural environment.
Even though water is a renewable resource, it is advisable not to withdraw and consume more than can naturally be replenished. Many communities are trying to educate people on the importance of water and the concept of sustainability in order to prevent water shortages and to avoid taking more drastic measures such as water rationing. Many businesses and water utilities actively promote water conservation in order to meet increasing demands for water without having to incur huge infrastructure costs in providing for additional storage and distribution. Here are some tips that you can follow to reduce your daily water use and your monthly energy bill.
§ Fix leaky faucets and valves (a slow leak can waste thousands of gallons a year)
§ Install water efficient appliances and fixtures (new clothes washers use less than half the water of older models)
§ Operate the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads
§ Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge to avoid running the tap water until it is cold
§ Place a plastic jug filed with sand in the toilet tank to take up space (unless you already have a low-flush toilet)
§ Insulate hot water heaters and pipes (reduces the amount of water needed to run before hot water delivery)
§ Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, shaving or washing dishes
§ Take shorter showers and install a low-flow shower head (available from hardware stores)
§ Water you garden and lawn in the evening or early morning to avoid excessive moisture loss (during the heat of the day evaporation rates are greatest)
Virtually all of America’s 15 million home wells operate on the basis of sustainability. The more home wells there are, the less need there is for investment in centralized water supply infrastructure. Homeowners do have a part to play in conserving the nation’s water resources. Over the next 50 years there will be an additional 100 million people in the US. Private wells are likely to be of increasing importance in helping to meet the rising nation-wide demands for water supply.
[© American Ground Water Trust. This article may be reprinted for non-commercial educational purposes provided it is used in its entirety and that reference is made to its source as an article in THE AMERICAN WELL OWNER, 2001, Number 3]