By Elizabeth Wheeler, Staff Attorney
World Water Day is an observance held annually on March 22 to raise awareness around sustainability of our world’s freshwater supply. Freshwater supply is a global issue. Wisconsin is lucky enough to have significant freshwater resources, but those resources are constantly threatened by a dearth of water supply in other parts of the United States and even the world. This is the reason for the touted Great Lakes Compact, which was passed in 2008, and continues to protect our Great Lakes. However, even in Wisconsin, it is important to ensure that we are using our water smartly and efficiently.
You may be familiar with the term “energy efficiency,” but are you familiar with “water efficiency”? Water efficiency and water conservation are important components of smart water use. Water efficiency refers to using less water to achieve the same result; take low-flow toilets or shower heads for example. Water conservation means actually reducing your water-consuming activities, or changing your water consumption patterns, like turning off the water when you brush your teeth, only watering your garden in the evening, or only running your dishwasher when it’s full.
Clean Wisconsin promotes water efficiency and water conservation at the utility level by encouraging utilities to adopt rates that reward smart water use, provide incentives or rebates for technology designed to lower water use, and increase awareness for water efficiency in Wisconsin. What can you do to reduce your water use at home? If you think that you might benefit from installing a more water-efficient toilet, check with your water utility to see if they offer rebates. For tips, ideas and estimated savings around your home, check out this calculator.
In the meantime, here are just a few of the many ways you can save water around your home.
- If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the shower head with a water-efficient model.
- Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, then reuse it to water houseplants.
- Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
- If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
- Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller water drops and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.
- Listen for dripping faucets and running toilets. Fixing a leak can save 300 gallons a month or more.
These ideas, and many more, can be found at Water-Use It Wisely.