Friday, August 10, 2012

My Water Conservation Challenge

by Jamie Kelley, Program Manager

You don’t have to look too hard these days to find an article about water. It seems every day there is a new article circulating that is related to water.

Most recently I have been hearing about the lack of water and the urge to conserve.

So am I doing my part? After reading and hearing and even talking about the need to conserve, have I used less water?

Our yard is covered with dry brown grass with a few spots of green. The grass doesn’t get watered much, if at all. Our planters once filled with luscious ferns and other flora, are empty, the dried out plants have since been removed. Only a few sturdy tall grasses, hostas, and succulents remain. It’s not pretty but I feel it is a sign we haven’t been wasting water. We have earned our “brown badge” as a co-worker referred to the brown state of once green lawns.

So should I get a gold star for my conservation?

Looking at our last water bill I find that we have used 24 units of water, that is 17,952 gallons (1 unit equals 748 gallons.) I am a person who pays attention to my water use, talks about conservation and I was shocked to learn, my household (which includes only my husband and myself) used on average 299 gallons of water per day in the last 60 days. That’s 149 gallons per person!

Can I do better?

Here is how I will improve my water conservation habits:
  • I have a shower timer in my shower. When I first got it I used it quite frequently but not all the time. It was “fun” to see how much water I used in the shower. Now I will begin to use the timer for every shower. Did you know for each minute the shower runs I use 2 gallons of water? Reducing the length of my shower can save gallons.
  • Loads of laundry, with just the two of us you would think laundry was a once a week chore but sadly I could do a load every day. I tend to get a little anxious as the laundry pile grows. But I will try to withhold the desire to have every article of clothing clean at any given moment and wait to fill up the washer with a full load. I can save 25-40 gallons of water per load.
  • Watering our garden, my beloved plants…well really I was excited about growing sweet corn which has since been eaten and pulled. The broccoli didn’t do well. The peas are just some shriveled vines. (I apparently didn’t get my father’s green thumb.) But the thought of letting what is left, a few cherry tomato plants and some very overbearing squash plants, go without watering. Eeek, that will be the most difficult challenge for me. I pledge to only water the garden very early in the morning and only once a week. Our produce might not be so bountiful but our aquifer will be!
  • Something else, which I haven’t yet done, is check for leaks. What if there was a little drip somewhere in my home. So what? Right? Actually, a leaky faucet or toilet can cause an extra 10,000 gallons of water to be wasted a year. I learned more about how to check for leaks here: Now I will be on the hunt for those little drips!
Do you think my water savings will make a difference? If everyone does their part, small changes can add up and make a big impact. What other suggestions do you have for ways I can reduce my water use?


Unknown said...

Very interesting. We discuss water conservation and more at our blog, where we deal with using greywater to cut down on waste. Go Green, Go Grey

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad there are still people out there who are concerned with conserving water. In Calgary, I keep trying to get at least the people in my neighborhood to conserve water, but it seems like nobody cares about it but me. What can I do to show them how important it really is?

The Groundwater Foundation said...

Maria, our Groundwater Guardian program ( might be the perfect vehicle to mobilize your community into taking action. Also, check out the Take Action section of our website ( for more ideas on how to get others interested and involved.