Don’t Doubt the Drought!
Large parts of New Jersey have been listed as either under drought warning or drought watch as a result of the extreme heat this year as well as lack of rainfall.
Many of the State’s drinking water reservoirs are at historic lows and one large rain, while helpful, is not a cure. Given that parts of this state have seen up to 10 inches less rain than normal, the State has a long way to go to make up for our long term lack of rain.
That means there are many things as individuals we can do to reduce our water usage and reduce the stress on these systems.
The Watershed Association works to encourage water conservation by promoting efforts to reduce daily water usage. As the local community is experiencing longer term drought conditions, it is important to be educated about the individual impact one can have. Below are various simple suggestions and tips that can help you to increase water conservation in your home.
The average family of four in the United States consumes 400 gallons of water – daily. The five largest uses of water in the home each day are:
1. Toilets – 3 gallons each
2. Washing machines – 40 gallons
3. Showers – about 10-17 gallons
4. Dishes – about 10 gallons
5. Brushing teeth – 2 gallons
*Bonus Fact: Eliminating the equivalent of four ounces of beef (1/4 lb.) from one’s diet each day would be a more impactful change on water use (and carbon footprint) than completely eliminating all health and hygiene-related water uses including: bathing, dish washing, toilet flushing, tooth brushing, and clothes washing combined!
What Can You Do?
There are many easy ways to reduce water usage in each of these areas.
1. By limiting the frequency of toilet flushes, and by refraining from discarding unnecessary items into the toilet, you can reduce the overall amount of flushes, and therefore reduce water flow by an average of two to three gallons every time. You can also easily install devices to make your current toilet more efficient for under $5.
2. Washing machines comprise the bulk of household water usage. Try wearing clothes more than once when possible, rather than immediately tossing them in the washing machine. Front loading washers and high efficiency machines use less water, but avoiding unnecessary wash cycles can still conserve up to 40 gallons each load for the average household unit.
3. Showers are another substantial source of water usage, as we tend to spend more time in the shower than is necessary. Five minute showers can cut seven gallons off of your overall daily water use . Every little bit helps, and being conscious of the minutes we spend in the shower is a simple task to avoid wasting water. See this simple shower timer for under $10.
4. When washing dishes by hand or using a dishwasher, a lot of water can be wasted. By scraping, rather than rinsing, dishes before using the dishwasher, you can save nearly six gallons of water per load. When washing by hand, turning the faucet off while soaping up dishes, soaking, or simply being conscious of whether you are washing efficiently, can conserve running water.
5. Though brushing teeth may seem like a quick and insignificant action, we often leave the water running at unnecessary times. Try brushing your teeth with the faucet turned off to save an average of one gallon of water every time. Even a small act can have a large impact on water conservation.
Saturday, March 4, 6:00-7:30PM, Adults & Families (children 6yo+), Free
Join Education Director Jeff Hoagland at dusk as we watch and learn more about the spring courtship dance and fascinating life of this bird. Hike is co-sponsored by Washington Crossing Audubon Society.Call or email to register.
Learn more about all our programs for the coming weeks!