Water Conservation; Home Addition Reply

Source: aunz.siemens.com.au

Is water the most valuable natural resource in the world? Quite possibly. Whether fresh or salt, water is an essential element for the sustainability of life. “Earth may be known as the ‘water planet’, but even though about 70 percent of its surface is covered by water, less than 1 percent is available for human use” (EPA).  As a result, we need to take proactive approach to reduce our personal water consumption. In this edition of Blue Management, we examine  innovative cost reducing  water conservation products suitable for your home or office.

“Switching over to water-efficient plumbing fixtures could save the average household as much as $50 to $100 a year on water and wastewater bills” (GreenandSave.com) .

Water Efficient Toilets

Traditional American toilets made prior to the Energy Policy Act of 1992 use roughly 3.5 gallons per flush.  In turn, the Energy Policy Act of 1992 set forth new standards, requiring common flush toilets to meet a 1.6 gallon flush requirement by the end of 1994 .  Today, new ‘Low Flow’ and ‘High-Efficiency’ toilets use  roughly 1.3 gallons per flush. GreenandSave.com  

Water Efficient Shower Heads

“For maximum water efficiency, select a shower head with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gpm. There are two basic types of low-flow shower heads: aerating and laminar-flow” (U.S Department of Energy). Shower heads made prior to 1992, could be using up to nearly 5.5 gpm. 

Water Efficient Appliances

Look for Energy Star products, as they must earn this label by meeting strict energy reducing requirements set forth by the government.  For example, “a dishwasher built before 1994 wastes more than 10 gallons of water per cycle. A new, ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher will save, on average, 1,300 gallons of water over its lifetime” (EnergyStar.Gov).   Be sure to look for washing machines with this label as well. 

Water Efficient Faucets

“Faucets account for more than 15 percent of indoor household water use—more than 1 trillion gallons of water across the United States each year. WaterSense labeled bathroom sink faucets and accessories can reduce a sink’s water flow by 30 percent or more without sacrificing performance. We could save billions of gallons each year by retrofitting the country’s 222 million bathroom sink faucets with models that have earned the WaterSense Label” (EPA). Accordingly, the WaterSense Label is not limited to just faucets and can be found on a multitude of different home appliances and products. 

Sources & Additional Information

Why Water Conservation? 1


The better aware we are, the better we understand our surroundings.  Water is an element that drastically impacts our surroundings and is a shared commonality found across the globe.  “Humans need water to live, plain and simple”.¹

How long can the average healthy human live without water?  Roughly 3 to 5 days .¹ With only 3% of readily available fresh water and a growing population, we need to take an active stance in water conservation and become more aware.²

The Worlds Water

As we begin to discuss water, view earth as a “closed system,” like a terrarium.²  “That means that the Earth neither, as a whole, gains nor loses much matter, including water”. ² It moves continuously around, throughout, and above the Earth in the form of water vapor, liquid water, and ice.²  Research has revealed that some of the same water that existed on Earth millions of years ago is still exists on Earth today.²   With its many forms, water should be considered a driving force for most forms of conservation.  

Figure 1                      

The figure to the left  shows all of the earth’s water (liquid, ice, freshwater, saline) if it were condensed into a sphere.² The water sphere would have a diameter of about 860 miles, ranging from Salt Lake City, Utah to Topeka, Kansas, USA. ²It would have a height (towards your vision) of 860 miles high as well, so still a huge amount of water.²  The true value of this image is to image that only 3% of the sphere is readily available drinking water.² From recycling to gas emissions, conservation as a whole actively benefits water conservation.

Figure 1(Credit: Illustration by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; USGS.)

Learn More & Get Involved


¹ Bryant, Charles W..  “How long can you go without food and water?”  11 February 2008. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/death-dying/live-without-food-and-water.htm&gt;  15 October 2011.

² U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/mwater.html