Stewardship tip: 3 ways to conserve water

Sunday, August 6, 2017

As recent as this week, Iowa is suffering from a moderate to severe drought. Almost two thirds of the state is affected by the lack of rain. One report shows a 4-foot ruler lowered into a crack in a farmer’s field with all but a foot below ground level.

We’d all like to install Ultra Low Flow or waterless toilets to conserve water. It’d be nice to redo our plumbing so that our gray water is recycled into our lawns. These can be expensive projects and while they’d be nice, the fact is, you can conserve water at little or no cost. Here are three simple tips to help you conserve.

Conserve water in your shower:

Install a low flow or ultra-low flow showerhead. This is one of the easiest ways to conserve water in the home. Most non-conserving showerheads will use 5 to 8 gallons of water per minute. A low flow showerhead uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute, an ultra-low flow showerhead will use 1.5 or less.

Conserve water in your toilet:

Install a displacement device, a tank dam, or an early-close flapper valve. A displacement device is nothing more than something to take up space in your tank. Fill a 32-ounce plastic soda bottle with gravel, cap it, and place it in the tank. Tank dams, pieces of flexible plastic wedged into the tank on either side of the flush valve, reduce the amount of water available per flush by holding a small amount out of use. An early-close flapper valve is a valve that will shut before all the water in the tank can flow into the bowl. Early-close flappers often are adjustable, so that you can find a good balance between saving water and having the toilet bowl reliably cleared.

Conserve water your yard:

Eliminate all runoff. Observe your sprinkler and make sure that water does not get on the sidewalk, driveway, or street. Even the smallest overlap will send gallons of fresh water into the sewer.

Why it is important to the fish

By conserving the amount of water that we use, we reduce that amount of water that we discharge from our homes. Water from showers and toilets is discharged into the sanitary sewer. In some areas sanitary sewers are combined with sewers that channel natural runoff. A series of dams in the sewers prevent sanitary sewage from entering the watershed. During heavy rains, combined sewers can overflow their dams and discharge raw sewage directly into a stream or river. Needless to say, raw sewage in a stream can spell disaster for our fish.

Every effort you make at home will make a difference to our lakes, rivers and streams. Remember that our lifestyle does run downstream. Be a steward, teach your kids to do the same and remember to take care of the resources we all enjoy here in Iowa.

Tight Lines All!

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