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Cutting Water Demand Drop by Precious Drop

Posted August 14, 2007

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— From the sink to the toilet to the lawn, Raleigh has been using a record amount of water.

Ed Buchan, the city's water conservation specialist, says cutting back is key during a drought. Phil Torchio and his fiancee opened their door to him to find out the best ways to conserve.

For less than $5, you can replace your old shower head with a high-efficiency model that allows less water to flow through. Because it has smaller holes, however, you won't notice much difference in pressure, Buchan said.

“This is going to allow water to come out at pretty equal pressure to the original one, also going to have a significant water savings,” Buchan told the couple.

The same can be said for the faucet on their sink.

"This one is a lot smaller, versus this area right here where all the water can flow through,” Buchan noted of the new aerator he installed. He said it's a quick and inexpensive way to save water.

"If it only takes five minutes and it makes that much of a difference you probably save a lot of money on your water bill and also help conserve some water in Raleigh," Torchio said.

Buchan says checking for water leaks requires nothing more than food coloring you probably have your kitchen cabinet.

"You can put this in the tank of the toilet, and if you start to see the color leak into the actual bowl, you'll know you'll have a leak," Buchan said.

That leak could add up to hundreds of gallons of water each week going down the drain at a time when every drop counts.

What’s more, it's not just conserving inside, but outside as well. We use a lot of water when we irrigate our lawns.

One simple device will let you know how much water your lawn is getting — and experts say you only need about an inch a week.

If you have an irrigation system, a rain sensor is a small investment — about $30. It will automatically shut off your system if it senses rain.

20 Comments

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  • Made In USA Aug 15, 2007

    One could get rich if they invented a device that does what I am doing manually by reusing their shower water. It would save thousands of gallons yearly per household.

  • Made In USA Aug 15, 2007

    I've been placing flat and wide storage containers in my shower - collecting all the shower water - and using it to flush the comode. Hardly a drop of water used for showering is wasted, but rather recycled.

  • mrtwinturbo Aug 15, 2007

    Here's a quick test to determine whether you should replace a showerhead:

    Place a bucket—marked in gallon increments—under your shower head.
    Turn on the shower at the normal water pressure you use.
    Time how many seconds it takes to fill the bucket to the 1-gallon (3.8 liter) mark.
    If it takes less than 20 seconds to reach the 1-gallon mark, you could benefit from a low-flow shower head.

  • Iron Man Aug 15, 2007

    Deb1003 I guess you know some of us work for the system, others work the system (your neighbor).

  • Iron Man Aug 15, 2007

    jeebk04 Thanks. I'm going to look at Lowes and/or Home Depot. Wal Mart or Target may have them

  • feisty Aug 15, 2007

    Duh! Tell the truth and stop making it sound like we aren't doing what we can to conserve! Some do, some don't. It's that simple! More people means more water. Hasn't NC/Raleigh & suburbs populations increased in 10 years?

  • Deb1003 Aug 15, 2007

    I think my neighbor has found a loophole in the water restrictions. She puts a sprinkler and one of those makeshift ground waterslides out in her yard. She turns on the water at 8am and her kids play in her frontyard til 7pm at night. Of course they take a lunch break, but the water keeps flowing.

  • chargernut69 Aug 15, 2007

    I know how to cut water... Have an incentive plan: If you know your neightbor is watering unlawfully, turn them in to the Public Works department & then get a discount off your own water bill for turning them in. Would be a great reason to cut back!

  • Worland Aug 15, 2007

    I've been here in NC for 9 years and have never had to water my lawn once. It's always green in the summer and grows like crazy. I cut it twice a month and just leave the clippings on the lawn. Nothing special.

    I've taken enough 1 minute showers in the desert over the last 20 years. Even at home, it's 5 minutes in & out. I Don't run the water the whole time while I'm shaving either. It adds up over time.

  • kitelover110 Aug 15, 2007

    Conserve water - drink beer and shower with a friend

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