April 21, 2016

April is Water Awareness Month and Earth Month. The Water – Use It Wisely partners have many activities throughout the month of April to celebrate. See the Events calendar for exciting happenings around the valley including workshops, tree plantings, festivals, and more.

One such event is the Water – Use It Wisely Water Tower that could be traveling to a city near you. The tower will be at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library (3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd.) until the end of April. It is composed of 136 one-gallon jugs. This represents the amount of water the average person uses per day. This is water that is used for washing dishes, taking a shower, watering a landscape, doing laundry, preparing meals, flushing the toilet, brushing teeth, and washing hands as well as for drinking. This does not include water that is needed to make everyday objects.

Water is an important ingredient in just about everything we use. Things like books, cars, mobile phones, video games, packaging, medicine, or clothing would not be possible without water. Let’s also not forget the water needed to grow crops or raise animals for food. Without a doubt, water is one of the Earth’s most precious resources. Since we all need water to survive, we should all take part in using it wisely. There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.

By now, most of us know not to run the water while brushing our teeth. There are many more simple things each of us can do to conserve water. For instance, checking for leaks is one of the best ways to save water at home. The EPA estimates that the average household loses more than 10,000 gallons of water each year through leaks. Toilet leaks are the most common household leak, and often are so quiet you may not even know you have one. Test your toilet for leaks with food coloring each month. Read the instructions.

If you are a landlord, encourage your tenants to check their toilets, and be sure to replace defective flappers. Free toilet test cards including dye strips and instructions are available from most of the Valley’s water providers. Offer tenants free faucet aerators and water-efficient showerheads.

Look for the WaterSense labelIf you are a tenant, check your toilets and let your landlord know if you find a leak. Install water-efficient devices such as faucet aerators and WaterSense labeled showerheads. WaterSense labeled toilets use 1.28 gallons of water per flush. Homes built prior to 1992 may still have toilets that use 3 to 7 gallons of water per flush. Ask your landlord to replace older toilets (often, the gallons per flush rating can be found on the toilet).

Many water providers offer rebates to help offset the cost. Consider upgrading even if a rebate isn’t available, as more efficient devices will save money and water. Landlords and tenants working together can save water.

lw-lgSince up to 70% of our water is used outdoors, it makes sense to look for leaks outside. If you use an irrigation controller, check to make sure it is set properly for your plant types as well as for the weather. Watering by the Numbers will help you set you your controller correctly. If you water with a hose, be sure to always use a timer to avoid over watering. Check your pool for leaks with the Bucket Test: read the instructions or watch the video.

Smart Home Water Guide Water Use It WiselyGet to know your landscape and your irrigation system. Each month, take a walk around your property before your irrigation runs. Look for out-of-place wet spots and inspect your pool equipment for leaks. Next, turn on your irrigation system and walk your property again. This time look and listen for broken sprinkler heads, bubblers, and missing drip emitters. Take a look at your water meter. Is the low flow indicator or the sweep hand moving when seemingly there is no water use occurring? Use Find & Fix Leaks that are Draining your Budget to learn how or watch this video.

Want to see it in a classroom? Scottsdale Water is offering a free class on finding leaks on Thursday, April 21 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library.

Finally, subscribe to the Water – Use It Wisely newsletter to receive tips and event updates. We’re giving away a $50 gift card each month to one lucky new subscriber. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. Share the information with your friends, family, neighbors, employers, and the business you frequent, and encourage them to join you in saving water. Even though April is the official Water Awareness Month and Earth Month, water is so precious that it deserves our attention all year long. Each of us can do our part by being aware, alert, and water-wise.

Remember, there are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you!

Jennifer Davidson is a Water Conservation Specialist with Scottsdale Water, one of fifteen Water – Use It Wisely partners to offer water-saving advice and programs.