save water

Saving Water Saves Money and our Planet

By Lorne LaMonica

Here in New York, water is relatively abundant compared, say, to Arizona or Nevada.  However, did you know that almost 30% of New York State has experienced a moderate drought for over the last nine weeks?  Right now, over 23% of the state is experiencing a moderate drought (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_state.htm?NY,NE ).  And, New York is not alone: this summer, the drought that has settled over more than half of the continental United States is the most widespread in more than half a century and it is likely to grow worse. ( http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/science/topics/drought/index.html ).

How can we do our part to use water more efficiently?  We encourage everyone to learn about WaterSense, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency partnership program.

The WaterSense program seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes and services.

WaterSense brings together a variety of stakeholders to:

•Promote the value of water efficiency.

•Provide consumers easy ways to save water through product labels and information.

•Encourage innovation in manufacturing.

•Decrease water use and reduce strain on water resources and infrastructure.

Look out for products with the WaterSense label to save energy and cut costs.

The WaterSense program can help consumers make smart water choices that save money and maintain high environmental standards without compromising performance. Products and services that have earned the WaterSense label have been certified to be at least 20 percent more efficient without sacrificing performance.

If only one in every 10 homes in the United States were to install WaterSense labeled faucets or faucet accessories in their bathrooms, it could save six billion gallons of water per year, and more than $50 million in the energy costs to supply, heat, and treat that water!

The WaterSense program is making a difference. Since 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save a cumulative 287 billion gallons of water and over $4.7 billion in water and energy bills. To learn more about how you can save water and money, visit the WaterSense (http://www.epa.gov/watersense/index.html ) web site.

About the author: Lorne LaMonica is a senior Environmental Scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. LaMonica has been with the EPA for over 20 years and has worked in many of EPA’s environmental programs, including its hazardous waste, NEPA, and State Revolving Fund programs.  Lorne is the Region 2 Liasion for the national EPA WaterSense program, a contributing web content author, and is a Project Officer for several grants under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Pollution Prevention grants programs. Lorne works in the Pollution Prevention and Climate Change Section in EPA Region 2.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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A New Shower Head

By Gina Snyder

It started with me trying to take the shower head off my shower and clear off some of the mineral build-up. I broke it. So, I went to the local hardware store and looked at the options. Who knew you could spend hundreds of dollars for just a shower head?

I looked on the lower shelf and saw what I was looking for – a reasonably priced, low-flow shower head. This one had the new label – “Water Sense”. WaterSense, I knew, is a partnership program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency meant “to help consumers make smart water choices that save money and maintain high environmental standards without compromising performance.”

“Hah,” I thought, “I can put this one on, save water, and do an experiment at the same time.”

I have a daughter away at college. So, I put the Water Sense shower fixture on and waited to see what would happen when she came home for spring break. But, it turned out that if I was hoping for a shriek from the shower, I was going to have a long time to wait.

I finally asked her if she’d noticed the new shower head. “Yeah,” she said…

“Well?”

“Well what?”

And so, I had to own up. “Did you notice it was a super duper water saving shower head?”

While she had noticed the different, streamlined look, she didn’t sense any difference in the amount of water. “Imagine that,” I thought, “even a teenager is happy with this new Water Sense fixture.”

According to WaterSense, showering accounts for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use, or about 30 gallons per household per day. That’s nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of water used in the United States annually just for showering.

While I had one of those restricting washers on my old shower head, the water sense fixture saves even more. A home without a water saving fixture could save more than 2,300 gallons per year by installing WaterSense showerheads.

And it’s not just water savings, those teenager showers are long and hot, so I’m going to save on water heating costs, too. I could save 300 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power a television for about a year.

WaterSense has other fixtures too. Look for the WaterSense label on showerheads along with faucets, faucet accessories, and toilets to help you identify models that save water and perform well.

About the author: Gina Snyder works at EPA’s New England regional office in Boston.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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How Do You Use Less Water?

go to Pick 5 for the EnvironmentHave you joined Pick 5 for the Environment, where you can choose 5 actions out of 10 and commit to them? We launched Pick 5 on Earth Day this year, and so far 2,300 people have taken the pledge.

Beyond signing up, though, we want to hear from you: what you’ve done, how you did it, etc.  We’re going to start working our way through the 10 actions.  Please share your stories as comments below.

Let’s start with Pick 5 Action #1: Use less water.

I’ve done several things around my home to achieve this goal: I placed a timer in the bathrooms to shorten showers and replaced my old toilet with water saving toilets.  I also make my laundry loads larger instead of doing several small loads. To use less hot water, which saves energy, I also cold water to wash laundry instead of hot water.  Finally, by placing barrels under my rain spouts, I’ve been able to use the recycled water to water my garden and outdoor plants.

Now it’s your turn:  what do you do to use less water?

Note: to ward off advertisers using our blog as a platform, we don’t allow specific product endorsements.  But feel free to suggest Web sites that review products, suggest types of products, and share your experiences using them!

About the author: Denise Owens has worked at EPA for over twenty years. She is currently working in the Office of Public Affairs in Washington, DC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.