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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What About Water?

80% of the Earth is covered with water, yet only 3% of it is fresh water, and less than 1% of all water is ok for human consumption. The rest of the water is salty ocean water, or fresh water that is frozen in a glacier. And of that tiny 1% of fresh water that we can use, an even tinier amount is used as drinking water. There are many places in the world that are reaching the limits of their water supplies. As populations rise, and the climate gets warmer, more and more people will not have access to fresh water. In fact, it is predicted that 2 out of every 3 people with suffer from water shortages in the next few decades.

Here’s what you can do:

Did you know that every time you flush the toilet, it uses five to seven gallons of water? That means that in a year you will flush about 13,000 gallons of fresh water down the toilet! Luckily there is an easy solution if your home does not already have ultra–low flush toilets. Find a small plastic juice or water bottle, soak off the label, fill the bottle with water and close the cap tightly. Place the bottle in the tank of the toilet, making sure to position so that it won’t get in the way of the flushing mechanism. This is called displacement. The bottle will fill part of the space in the tank that water would normally fill. You will save 1 to 2 gallons every time you flush! Try this in all of the toilets in your home, and estimate how many gallons of water your family will save.

Other tips for saving water:

–Turn the water off while brushing your teeth, washing your hands and doing the dishes.
–Take shorter showers. See if you can get your shower time down to less than 5 minutes.
–If you help out with the dishes, fill the sink or a tub with hot water to wash the dishes in. Rinse the clean dishes in another tub of hot water or rinse them all under the faucet at once to reduce the time that the water is running. Make sure to only run the dishwasher when it is full.
–The same applies to laundry, only run your washing machine when you have a full load.
–Water your lawn and plants in the morning or evening. Water evaporates 4 to 8 times faster during the heat of the day. Use a watering can instead of a hose.

How much water does it take to...

-Take a shower or bath…17 to 24 gallons
-Brush my teeth…2 to 5 gallons
-Wash the car…50 gallons
-Use the dishwasher…8 to 15 gallons
-Run the washing machine 35 to 50 gallons for each load
-Watering the lawn with a sprinkler…210 gallons per hour

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