Take shorter showers!
That’s the big take-away for today’s Water Wise House Call. The Ssnta Clara Valley Water District offers it free as part of their water conservation program. I signed up a few weeks ago as part of my own effort to maximize energy/resource efficiency in my new rental house.
Some things the surveyor did:
- Calculated our average water usage. Average daily in my county (Santa Clara, California) is 60 gallons per person. At 124 gallons, my two-person household is a little above. Hence, shorter showers.
- Measured water flow of the faucets–target is 1.5 gpm (gallons per minute) and found one without an aerator so it was way over–and showers–target is 2.5 gpm.
- Checked toilets for leaks. None.
- Checked the water heater for leaks. None.
- Checked the yard irrigation system. We turned it off since we moved in during the rainy season. The surveyor changed to controls to turn off the parts (the whole backyard) that isn’t working anyway, and reprogrammed the front for spring, summer and fall settings. He optimized these by checking how the sprinklers work now. Apparently, we need to aerate the compacted soil–now where are my golf shoes?–and get rid of thatched grass. Hmm.
- He tried to check the water meter, but it was buried under dirt and scary spiders: brown and black widows. We skipped that step. But makes me wonder, how are they getting my water meter readings?
What I learned:
- It’s tough to conserve water. I think I’m pretty conscientious, but even with the lawn sprinkler off, washing only full loads of clothes and dishes, taking short showers–at least I do; I can’t say the same for the other person in the house–, we’re a little above average.
- Knowledge helps. Now I know some steps I can take to make a difference.
- Fix aerator on faucet.
- Check the watering systems and use the optimized program.
- Aerate the soil.
- De-thatch the turf.
And, it should be easier to take shorter showers in the summer when it’s warm. This will offset the water for the lawn and the veggies, I hope.
Does your town/county have its own Water Wise program?
A quick Google search yielded these free audits, all over the country:
- San Jose Water Audit
- San Antonio Home Water Audit,
- Portland, Oregon offers free conservation devices
- Columbia, MO includes as part of their energy audit
- Albuquerque Bernalillo County residential water audit
- Panama City, Florida free water audit
And there are many resources for conducting your own. I’ll check into those later.
Until then, shorter showers!