There is no better time to learn about groundwater conservation and spread the word than on Protect Your Groundwater Day this Sept. 13, according to the National Groundwater Association.
Conservation is an important way citizens can protect groundwater, said Cliff Treyens, public awareness director for NGWA, which sponsors the annual recognition event.
“As Texas grapples with water scarcity, the good news is that every person can do something to conserve,” Treyens said. “We each have a personal responsibility to protect groundwater. A small adjustment in one’s daily water use habits can make a big difference.”
Almost three-quarters of water used inside the home occurs in the bathroom, with 41 percent used for toilet flushing and 33 percent for bathing. The remainder of indoor water use is divided between clothes washing and kitchen use, including dish washing, according to the U.S. EPA.
Outdoor water use varies greatly across the country. For instance, in California, 44 percent of all household water use is outdoors, while in Pennsylvania only 7 percent is used outdoors.
In addition to any state or local restrictions on water use, here are some basic indoor water conservation tips:
• Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering your indoor plants or garden.
• Repair dripping faucets and toilets. One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water a year.
• Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors.
• Choose appliances that are water and energy-efficient.
• Don’t run a faucet when you’re not using the water, such as while brushing your teeth.
• Only run the dishwasher when it is fully loaded and use the “light wash” feature, if available, to use less water.
• Store drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap until the water is cool.
• Avoid wasting water waiting for it to get hot. Capture it for other uses such as plant watering.
• Operate clothes washers only when they are fully loaded, or set the water level to match the size of your load.
Here are some basic outdoor water conservation tips:
• Check your well pump periodically. If the automatic pump turns on and off while water is not being used, you could have a leak.
• Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground cover, shrubs and trees. Once established, they do not need water as frequently and usually will survive a dry period.
• Install irrigation devices that are the most water efficient for each use. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are examples of efficient devices.
• Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil.
• Avoid buying recreational water toys that require a constant stream of water.
• Use a shutoff nozzle on the hose that can be adjusted down to a fine spray.
•Position sprinklers so that water lands on the lawn and shrubs and not on paved areas.
• Raise the mower blade to a higher level. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture.
Learn other ways to protect groundwater, access NGWA’s Protect Your Groundwater Day Web page at www.wellowner.org.