• Published
  • 78th Civil Engineer Group

The average person uses around 200 gallons of water a day to bathe, wash dishes, flush toilets, water the lawn, and perform other everyday tasks.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the population has doubled over the last 50 years, and water demand has tripled. With increasing water demand and limited drinking water supply, the federal government continues to promote water management plans and best practices.

By decreasing our daily water demand, we can protect water quality, decrease the stress on our wastewater treatment facilities, and keep costs for water down. Fortunately, saving water can be easy, and everyone can participate.

Below are some tips for conserving water in your home:

- Leaks: Check your home regularly for leaky pipes, faucets and toilets. According to the National Environmental Education Foundation, a dripping faucet can waste more than 10,000 gallons of water per year.

- Showering and bathing: More than a quarter of the water used in an average American household comes from showering and bathing, and over half of total water demand is used in bathrooms. To reduce water demands, consider taking shorter showers and only showering once per day. Turn off the water as much as possible when shaving, brushing teeth, or washing your face. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth can save three gallons per day. You can also install low flow sink faucets and showerheads to conserve water.

- Washing dishes: Handwashing of dishes can consume 20 gallons of water. If you do the dishes by hand, fill the sink with soapy water rather than letting the faucet run constantly. Scraping waste from plates into the trash or compost can reduce water required for rinsing. Alternatively, use a dishwasher; it requires only eight to 12 gallons per load to accomplish the same task. Also, to optimize efficiency, only run the dishwasher when it is full.

- Washing clothes: Although washing machines are relatively efficient, washing clothes still consumes a large amount of water. To decrease water use, only run the washing machine when you have a full load.

- Landscaping: Avoid watering the lawn on hot or windy days to limit evaporation. Use mulch around trees, shrubs and flowers to minimize water demand by holding moisture in the soil. Use commercially available timers on your lawn sprinklers to minimize excess watering and runoff into storm sewer systems. Use brooms and blowers to clean pavement, rather than spraying water.


Editor’s Note: Stormwater Straight Talk is a quarterly column intended to educate and inform base personnel and families about stormwater management. For more information, call 478-926-9645.