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Water conservation tips to help your community combat waste

Governing Magazine listed the cost of water as one of “The Top 10 Legislative Issues to Watch in 2015.” To quote Tom Curtis, the head of government affairs for American Water Works, “The era of cheap water is really coming to an end.” It is predicted that the rising cost of water will substantially affect state and local government decision-making.There are numerous reasons for the predicted cost increases. Nationwide, century-old pipes need replacing, which is estimated to cost the country more than $2 trillion over the next 25 years. Other systems require major upgrades to meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements. And many communities facing water shortages are spurring the search for new sources.

Although there’s not much to be done about the extensive approaching costs, we can all do our part to conserve. Keep reading for simple tips the entire community can use in an effort to save on water consumption.

The three R’s of water conservation

As the cost of water rises, utilities have no choice but to pass the burden on to customers, but conservation education can help. We’ve all heard of the four R’s of sustainability—reduce, reuse, recycle and recover. Similarly, there are three R’s of water preservation. Share these with your community and agency staff alike.

  • Repurpose: We often don’t think of other uses for the water we’re dumping down the drain. For example, letting the faucet run to warm up before washing hands is an opportunity to collect water that can be used for cleaning or watering a plant.
  • Remedy: Some may think water leaks are par for the course. However, utility company American Water says that a leak as tiny as the period at the end of this sentence could waste more than 4,000 gallons of fresh water every month. Help your community uncover hidden water leaks by communicating the following: First, check your water meter; then refrain from using any water for two hours. After the two hours are up, check your meter again. If there is a change, there is a leak. Print this simple technique on magnets or jar openers that can easily be mailed in tax or water bills.
  • Review: Conducting a thorough review or audit of water consumption is a great way to identify ways to save. You may even want to challenge your community members to a “save-off.” Hold a Facebook® contest, and ask followers to comment on how they plan to lower water bills this summer. Reward best answers with a recycled water bottle or tote. Or, hold a prize drawing for those who achieve the greatest cost savings.  A Water-Powered Alarm Clock or solar-powered charger makes a great prize.

Remember, there’s not much we can do to keep the rising cost of water down, but we can do our part to help our community use water more wisely. Promote the three R’s and watch the savings pour in.

“The Top 10 Legislative Issues to Watch in 2015.” Governing States and Localities. N.p., Jan. 2015. Web. Retrieved 24 Feb. 2015.

“50 Ways To Save Water.” The Water Conservation School. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 26 Feb. 2015.

“The Water Leak Detection Kit.” American Water. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 26 Feb. 2015.


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