It’s Blog Action Day 2010 and it’s all about Water

It’s fitting that my first blog in a while is an activist one.  I’ve been busy offline trying to get people motivated to vote and pay more attention to what happening around them.  Being aware of what’s happening outside one’s door is not a bad thing, nor is it socialist to want to help one’s fellow man.  We should be afraid of the real problems out there and not the ones the fanatical talking heads are screaming about. 

But today is not about the upcoming midterm elections or talking heads.  It’s about water.  We all need clean water to live, but not all of us have it.  Some of us waste water by letting the faucet run while we brush our teeth or neglecting to fix a leak while others are lucky to find just enough to hydrate themselves. 

I’m not going to preach at you.  I just want you to think about something we take for granted.  I did.  We had a leaking toilet when we moved in.  It sounded like water was always running, but the dye tank test showed no leak.  I ignored it, but knew something wasn’t right.  When the water bill increased, I figured the extra loads of laundry, gardening, and dishwasher were to blame.  Until we broke the $70 mark after a few months.  I knew we had to do something quickly.  Not just because the wasted water bothered me, but hit to my wallet was a nasty one. 

I’d  purchased a new fill valve and faucet for the bath and let them sit for over a year while we concentrated on other projects.  Silly me.  It took a $72.37 water bill to send me into the bath to install that valve – two weeks after I read the bill!  It took all of 8 minutes and resulted in a $8 drop in two weeks.  That excited me and had me more excited about the next one.  I am happy to say the best $12 I’ve spent in the bath resulted in a $30 drop in the bill overall.  Yes, the money is great, but we cut the amount of water used in half!  After happy dancing, I decided we needed to do more.  Home Depot carries dual flush converters, so we spent $19 on the MJSI HYR270 HydroRight Drop-in Dual Flush Converter and spent 5 minutes installing it in a different bathroom.  I can’t wait to see what the bill and water consumption will be next month! 

Yes, I rambled a bit, but I am excited.  Maybe making this more about money than consumption will inspire some of you.  Maybe you’ll be like me, excited about the money at first, then bummed about the amount that was wasted.  Consumption down by half!  The water was just pouring in and out and could have been used elsewhere.  Sigh.  But instead of letting guilt overwhelm me, I’m going to do more!  The plans include snagging another dual flush converter for the main bath, getting a rain barrel (or making one),and  switching to low flow fixtures.

I’ve been playing with the H2O Conserve Water Calculator and am not sure how I feel about my results.  Our household average is 3, 915.93 gallons a day; 978.98 gallons each.  Yes, it’s better than it would have been a couple of months ago (and lover than the average American usage of 1190.5 gallons), but I think I can do better.  After the other changes are in place, I’ll play again.  Play with it and let me know how you did. 

I could launch into the stats on water and food production, but I’ll save that for another day.  Water conservation is not just about money, but the planet. I am very lucky to be in a place where I have access to clean water and sanitation and need to show my appreciation by not wasting it.

Peace.

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