Dec 28, 2000

AWWA Offers Conservation Tips for Drought-Stricken Texans

Water consumers in Texas can help ease the current strain on water supplies by employing simple household conservation measures, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) said.

"Texas is facing very serious drought conditions," AWWA executive director Jack Hoffbuhr said. "While drinking water only represents less than one percent of water supplied by utilities, the total consumer demand for water is 34 billion gallons per day."

The following is a list of common household water statistics:

* The average household uses 350 gallons of water a day

* Americans drink more than 1 billion glasses of tap water every day

* Approximately 65 percent of residential water is used outside the home

* The average 1/4-acre lawn can use over 3,000 gallons of water a week

* One inch of rainfall over a one acre lot produces over 2,400 gallons of water

* Approximately 1/4 of America's renewable water supply is withdrawn each year

AWWA encourages consumers to do their part to conserve water. Below is a list of useful water conservation tips:

* Don't overwater your lawn -- lawns only need to be watered every 5 to 7 days in the summer. To prevent water loss from evaporation, don't water your lawn during the hottest part of the day or when it is windy.

* Only run the dishwasher and clothes washer when they are fully loaded.

* Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator or in the microwave instead of running water over it.

* When washing dishes by hand, use two basins -- one for washing and one for rinsing -- rather than letting the water run.

* Use a broom, rather than a hose, to clean sidewalks and driveways.

* If you have a swimming pool, get a cover. You'll cut the loss of water by evaporation by 90 percent.

* Practice routine, common-sense leak detection and control by "zero-reading" your water meter periodically. Check your meter before and after a half-hour (or longer) period when no water is being used. If your meter is registering water use, you have a leak.

* Insulate your water heater and hot water pipes. Less water will be wasted before hot water flows.

* Install low-flow toilets, showerheads, and faucet aerators. You'll cut your household water consumption by 30 percent and save up to $100 each year.

* Repair dripping faucets and leaky toilets. Dripping faucets can waste about 2,000 gallons of water each year. Leaky toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons each day.
Source: The American Water Works Association