As environmental threats continue to rise and new concerns are brought to light, drinking water conservation and protection is one at the very top of the list, but yet probably the most difficult to achieve.  Cloth and reusable bags have become very popular in aiding with plastic disposal, compost bins are becoming used for more frequently resulting in less food waste, and recycle centers are open in most counties and cities resulting in less landfill waste.  But what can we do as everyday citizens to aid in the conservation and protection of drinking water?

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency[1], the average family wastes 180 gallons of water per week, which equals 9,400 gallons of potable water each year.  Just as easily as we fill our recycle bins, and carry our reusable bags into the market, we can all do our part to conserve our drinking water.

What can we do to help, you ask?  These simple tips will make a significant impact on the conservation of our drinking water supply.

  1. Turn off the water in your shower while washing your hair and body.
  2. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth can save up to 8 gallons of water per day according to the United States EPA[1].
  3. It is also highly recommended you turn off the water while shaving and washing your hands.
  4. Running the dishwasher only when the dishwasher is completely full or hand washing when you have a small amount of dishes to wash is also a great way to conserve our water supply.
  5. Outdoor water use should be used responsibly. Turn off water sprinkles during rain events and limit outdoor water use in times of drought.  Rain barrels are also a great alternative for outdoor water use.
  6. Replacing old or broken faucets and inefficient toilet parts will also greatly reduce the waste of potable water.
  7. Upgrading shower heads, faucets, and toilets to energy efficient products can not only lessen the waste of water, but can also assist in lowering your energy bill.
  8. Washing only full loads of laundry or ensuring the proper load size setting is selected on your washing machine is another great tip.

Each and everyone one of us is responsible for protecting one of our most precious environmental resources.  The protection of drinking water is just as equally important as the conservation.

Many household items can contribute to the contamination and destruction of our drinking water supply.  These household items include, but are not limited to, Motor Oil, Pesticides, Paint, Flea collars, household cleaners, and pharmaceutical medications.  You can make a significant impact on the safety of your community’s water supply by following these simple steps:

  1. You can properly dispose of paint and motor oil at your local trash and recycle center.
  2. Limit the use of Pesticides. Pesticides leach through the soil and contaminate the ground water supply which then runs off into rivers, streams, and lakes used for drinking water supply.
  3. Maintain a healthy septic system. Per the United States EPA[1], it recommended that your septic tank be inspected every three years by a professional septic service technician.  Chemicals, virus’, and bacteria found in waste water, can wreak havoc on the water supply resulting in illness of clients that have consumed the contaminated water.
  4. Flushing pharmaceutical medications down the toilet will leach in the ground, and then into the groundwater supply. In areas where the septic tanks are connected to waste water treatment plants, these medications will contaminate the wastewater which is treated and then disbursed back into steams and rivers.  Most waste water treatment plants are not engineered to remove pharmaceutical medications. Most pharmacies offer collection and proper disposal of unwanted medications.
  5. Volunteering for local clean up is a great and fun way to help protect the cleanliness and safety of our water supply. Most of us spend time with family and friends on the weekends, so what better way to spend that time helping your community.
  6. Attending local board hall meetings can give you an opportunity to network and talk about the importance of water conservation and protection.

Each and everyone of us uses water on a daily basis.  With the simple turn of a faucet, we are able to shower, brush our teeth, cook, clean, become hydrated, wash laundry, and water our lawns.  Clean and safe water is an imperative part of our lives and we should all do our very best in helping to conserve, protect, and value our most precious natural resource.

[1] (April 10, 2017) Water Conservation Tips for Residents November 25, 2020

Katrina Cooke

Senior Project Manager