GIMME SHELTER- Going green: Conserving water in little ways

Tim Cotten
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing


Q: I'm trying to make the  "green" movement a way of life, rather than a trend. I've switched to eating local produce and drive a hybrid, but I want to expand it to my water habits. What are the best ways to save water?  

A: In addition to the environmental benefits of saving one of the Earth's most precious resources, conserving water has economic benefits. An individual's efforts to use less water can prevent a community's need to upgrade its water infrastructure. Ten years ago, New York City was looking at spending $200 billion for overloaded septic lines. Instead, New Yorkers spent a fraction of that on water saving incentives. They were able to postpone an infrastructure upgrade for 50 years.

Shorten showers. Even a one- or two-minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month.

Update your toilet. Consider purchasing a low-volume toilet that uses less than half the water of older models. Standard three-gallon models can be replaced with 1.6 or even 1.23 gallon tanks. Hire a licensed plumber to install fixtures. 

Look for leaks. Take notice of all plumbing for leaks. Have leaks repaired by a licensed plumber.

Save water and detergent. When washing dishes by hand, use the least amount of detergent possible. This minimizes rinse water needed and can save up to 150 gallons of water per month.

Inspect sprinklers. Avoid sprinklers that spray a fine mist. Mist can evaporate before it reaches the lawn. Check sprinkler systems and timing devices regularly to be sure they operate properly.

Careful what you flush. Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects, and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.

Take it to the car wash. When taking your car to a car wash, which is a good idea for saving water, be sure it's one of many that recycle wash water.