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Simple Steps to Reduce Water Use

Water use in and around your home takes its toll on the environment, because it needs to be cleaned, delivered, and then treated, using energy and resources every step of the way.  Conserving water helps protect natural ecosystems and aquifers, saving both energy and money.  It also is a great way to honor the Jewish principle of ba’al tash’chit (do not waste). Follow these tips to trim down your water footprint.

  1. Fix water leaks:  Roughly 7 gallons of water is lost each day per person to leaks. Walk around your house and look for leaks (which can also prevent mold issues in the home). Common places where leaks may be found are in outdoor spigots and faucets, toilets and showers. When leaks arise, fix them immediately instead of letting them linger; even slow leaks add up over time.  Your water bill will go down as you help the environment.
  2. Install a rain barrel in your backyard:  A rain barrel is a container that captures and stores rainwater draining from your roof. Barrels usually range from 50 to 80 gallons and have a spigot for filling watering cans and a connection for a soaker hose. Combining the use of rain barrels with appropriate plant selection and mulching promotes water conservation. Rain barrels benefit your home, garden and community.
  3. Get creative in the kitchen:  There are some simple steps you can take in the kitchen to reduce water use.  Reuse the same cup for drinking and for coffee or tea every day, rather than using and washing multiple cups daily.  If you use a steamer for cooking vegetables, keep the leftover, vitamin-rich water for soup stock.  And clean vegetables and dishes not going in a dishwasher in a reusable pan rather than rinsing cold water over them.  Only run the dishwasher when it is full.
  4.  Select an Energy Star washing machine when you need a replacement:  Older washing machines can use between 40 and 60 gallons of water. Since the average household does  300 loads per year,  this number really adds up. Chose an Energy Star washer, as they use 35 % less water and 20% less energy than comparable models. A full-size energy star washer still uses 15 gallons of water, so try to run only full loads and use cold water to save energy.

Resources:  Earth911.com

Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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