Amy Vickers, renowned water conservation expert and author of the book Water Conservation defines water efficiency as the "minimization of the amount of water used to accomplish a function, task, or result." Simply put, water efficiency means doing more with less water.
Just like water purification systems, the importance of water efficiency cannot be overstated. After all, water efficiency can result in substantial savings in money and energy. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that using water-efficient features can reduce energy and help homeowners save up to $380 per year.
If you want to know more about the concept of water efficiency, below are some facts you can look into:
- A leaking toilet wastes an average of 200 gallons of water yearly. That's 6,000 gallons of water per month. This also translates to 72,000 gallons per year.
- A leaking faucet dripping 60 drops per minute can waste as much as 2,000 gallons of water per year.
- To fill an average-sized pool, you will need 22,000 gallons of water. If not covered, you can end up losing hundreds of gallons of water each month due to evaporation.
- The average American uses 88 gallons of water a day throughout the house.
- If you brush your teeth twice a day, it is recommended that you turn off your faucet when not in use. This can help you save at least 8 gallons of water per day.
- You will need around 150 gallons of water to wash your car. To minimize your water consumption, it is recommended that you wash your car less often.
- Each time you run your faucet for 5 minutes while washing the dishes, you waste close to 10 gallons of water.
- An automatic landscape irrigation system that is not properly operated and maintained can waste as much as 25,000 gallons of water annually.
- Water-efficient appliances and fixtures can help reduce water use by at least 20 percent.
- At least 22 percent of indoor home water use can be attributed to doing laundry. If you want to save water, adjust your washing machine to the proper load size. Bonus tip: if you want to minimize your energy use, use cold instead of hot water.
Water Efficiency Examples
Below are the various ways you can practice water efficiency in different settings:
Washing the dishes
The best way to wash dishes would be with an ENERGY STAR-rated dishwasher that will require less than 5 gallons of water per load.
Flushing the toilet
Toilets nowadays are much more efficient than they used to be. That means they now use less water (as little as 1.28 gallons per flush). You can achieve the same effect for higher volume toilets by putting a water-filled jug or brick in the toilet tank.
Taking a shower
One simple and easy way to practice water efficiency when taking a shower is changing showerheads for low-flow models.
Food and cooking
Diets that include more vegetables, grains, and fruits instead of dairy and meat can lessen water use since a lot of water is needed to produce dairy and milk products.
Watering the lawn
Many technologies nowadays can help you practice water efficiency when watering the lawn. For instance, there are drip irrigation systems, irrigation control systems, and moisture sensors, leak detection, for starters.
Washing the car
One of the most efficient ways to wash your car is through a commercial self-service car wash. Typically, commercial car washes use pistol grip nozzles that turn off automatically. They also use high pressure, so cleaning your car would require less water.
Water efficiency is not an excuse to waste water or to use more. Also, while water efficiency is vital, it is crucial to remember that conserving water should also be a priority. Now more than ever, every drop should be considered precious.
About the author
Rachel Watson is the Senior Content Editor of Precision Air & Plumbing, a full-service HVAC, plumbing, and home performance contractor operating in Chandler, Arizona. Rachel enjoys yoga and writing articles about how to make home living more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.