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Home > Green Months > September, National Water Conservation Month

Green Months: September, National Water Conservation Month.

National Water Conservation Month
Greencompletely.com declares September to be National Water Conservation Month. Read below for the reasons why and the things you can do.

Overview:
Why crown September National Water Conservation Month? It makes sense. This is the time of year when water starts to be stored on land instead of all flowing out to the ocean.
     The mountains begin to store snow at the very tops but more importantly the water tables have a chance to catch up on the water taken out throughout the year. Since most harvesting is over, irrigation water is not pumped out of the ground into the fields. Likewise, people lessen the amount of water they put onto their lawns and many outdoor pools close.
    
precipitation per month.
Why Participate?

Your Economics!

We once saw a satirical Youtube video where a guy was changing out his showerhead. He said, "I am changing out my showerhead to be low flow so that big oil companies can frack oil!" The message of this video seems to be, "Why bother conserving water?"
     We do not take such a dim view. While oil companies and agriculture use a lot of water, the rest of us do as well. We believe that conserving water will help you save money now and well into the future. But first a little background.

Background:
Without getting into all the whys and wherefores of Hydrology, water is stored on land in the mountains, lakes and in the aquifers. The mountain storage (snow) is generally an annual replenishment of our river water sources. Rain falling on the land replenishes the lakes and aquifers. Some aquifers take 1 year to recharge and some, up to 1000 years. Rivers and aquifers are our main source of water.
     Data released from the USGS states that there is a trend of falling water levels in the aquifers across the nation (more levels falling than rising). This can create a strain on the current systems that provide us with water.

Long Term:
The struggle to keep the water flowing to our houses, farms and oil companies may mean more drilling of water wells, more water pipelines and, in general, more expense. Water conservation may mean that the water sources can sustain us longer without a lot of added expense. Water may be cheap now, but added expense is always passed on to the consumer, you.
Short Term And Why September:
Conserving water saves money. There we finally said it. Your water utility may charge you about $2-$3 per 100 cubic feet (748 gallons) for water pumped into your home/business. That may not sound like much but we ask you to consider, much of that water is heated for showers, washing dishes and clothes and other things. Therefore, the return on investment can happen very quickly (under a year) because of the energy savings for most water conserving changes you will make.

Your sewer rates. This is the main economic reason to make these changes in September. Many cities will base your sewer charge on your water consumption. Some cities realize it may not be fair to do that year round. Spring and summer activities like irrigating your lawn and garden is water not processed by the sewer. Therefore, sewer companies will base the sewer charge on your water consumption during the winter months and charge you that flat rate all year long. We say, make the changes in September. That way you have time to make the changes your are comfortable with. This even gives you time to change your mind on some choices.
     If you would like to estimate the achievable savings, a visit to our "green calculators" page may help. Currently, we have calculators for low flow shower heads, toilets, water heaters and sinks. Our research efforts are ongoing so we will have more calculators in the future.

Things You Can Do:

  • Lessen Irrigation: Many people blow out their sprinklers in October. There is a tendency to keep sprinklers going the same amount till blow out. We suggest you program your sprinklers to do a little bit less time, each week, until you are near the minimum times by the end of the month.

  • Consider Low Flow Shower Heads: Low flow shower heads are not all created equally. You want a comfortable shower without the feeling like you need 10 minutes just to rinse off. While there are many choices out there, we feel that Oxygenics has done some of the best work in the field. See our page on Shower Heads for more information.

  • Sink: If your sinks do not have aerators, installing them is a good start. They pay for themselves very quickly. Also, many people have a habit of leaving the water running for activities like brushing teeth, shaving face or legs. We simply ask you to evaluate that habit, and if you actually need the water to be continuously running. You will be surprised at just how much water you can save turning the water off. Get more information in our Sinks section.

  • Agricultural Irrigation: For many farms, September means the crop is harvested and it is time to take a small breather before getting back onto the plow. We suggest that after you figure out the expenses and income of your last crop you look at some of your equipment. Namely, the irrigation. Is your current method efficient? What would the cost be to switch to pivot or drip? Can I get any rebates or subsidies for purchasing this equipment? Will I be able to get nearly the same yield or better if I switched? The time to make these evaluations should be well before the next crop is planted. This way, if equipment is bought, it can be installed and tested before winter comes.  We do not have a section written yet about agricultural irrigation yet, that is coming soon.

  • Close Your Outdoor Pool: Many Hotels that have an outdoor pool only have them open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. A residential pool is different (you can close it anytime you want). All we ask is that you ask your self, "If I keep my pool open will anyone swim in it?". You might be able to save a few hundred gallons of water by closing it a few weeks early. More information in our Pool & Hot Tub section.

  • Fix Leaks: It is estimated that 14% of all water pumped into our homes and businesses is leaked out. We suggest you always fix leaks promptly throughout the year. However, we further suggest that in September you inspect your home/business from top to bottom.

  • Toilet: Many homes and businesses still have a toilet that uses about 3.5 gallons per flush. More modern toilets use about 1.6 gallons a flush. You could replace your toilet and realize a return on investment in a year or so. However, if the toilet is still good, you might want to retro fit the toilets with a dual flush system. They are near $30 so your return on investment can be a few months. Also, you are not filling up the landfill with good porcelain. See more information in our Toilets section.

  • Washing Clothes: September is a great time to evaluate the effectiveness of your clothes washer. Chances are, you are moving from lighter to heavier clothing. In recent years, there have been great advances in lowering the amount of water required to get clothes clean. This is especially true for front loading clothes washers, but there are many HE top loading clothes washers. Many washing machines also have sensors so that it uses less water on loads that are not as full. Soap formulas have also advanced to allow for cooler temperature water to to get the clothes clean. We will have a clothes washing section soon.

  • Oil Companies: September is a great time to evaluate oil extraction processes. After looking through the annual reports of a few of the big oil companies, they seem to be generally concerned with environmental issues. This is what we propose. Sharing. That is all. A sharing in September between the Scientists and Engineers of the different oil companies. We feel that each company has great expertise in the art of extraction. Imagine how that can be improved if they were to work together. The ground is warm and easier to conduct tests. It might be better to do this than wait for governments to regulate the oil companies out of business.

  • Other Changes: We encourage you to think about how you use water. Period. This can include washing cars, dishes or driveways. Be creative, be imaginative, who knows, you may do something everyone will want to do as well.

Some changes may require the services of a Plumber. Check out Plumbers at Angie's List.

Remember, you or your company may be able to get tax breaks, rebates, subsidies or low interest loans for purchasing water conserving equipment. These rebates may come from your water utility. The rebates may even come from your gas or electric utility depending on how your water is heated.

Glossary Of Terms:

  • USGS: United States Geological Survey.

  • 100 Cubic Feet of Water: About 748 gallons of water.
  • GPM: Gallons Per Minute.

  • Brass: An alloy of Copper, Lead, Zinc and Tin.

References:

http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/1323/, Ground-Water Availability in the United States, Circular 1323, page contains link to .pdf of Circular 1323. taken 9/1/13.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer, Ogallala Aquifer, Wikipedia, taken 9/1/13.

http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?id=ww, USGS, WaterWatch, taken 9/1/13.

Water on Tap, EPA document, Published Dec, 2009, (.pdf)

Water conserving products in our Amazon.com store.

  • Showerheads:
    Showerheads ________________
  • Sink & Faucet:
    Sink And Faucet ________________
  • Hot Water Heaters:
    Hot Water Heaters ________________
  • Toilet:
    Toilet ________________
  • Swimming Pool & Hot Tub:
    Swimming Pool & Hot Tub ________________

 

 
 

Check out WaterSense at the EPA: