use the Water – Use It Wisely program to turn the tide on water waste (WaterUseIt- Wisely.com
). Creative approaches go a long way in
encouraging households to save water, says Donna DiFrancesco, conservation coordinator for the city of Mesa. Its cam- paign newsletter speaks to 26,000 sub- scribers. Some 100 water-saving devices and symbols remind consumers to think about how they use water in everyday life. A traveling, 16-foot water tower made of water jugs represents the 120 gallons of water the average person uses per day in Arizona. Tey even challenge residents to “help your yard drink responsibly” through the Drab to Fab Backyard Rehab campaign, rewriting the narrative that sus- tainable is synonymous with sacrifice. In its second year, more than 11,500 entrants throughout the state put their creativity to work in revamping their backyards. To promote behavior change, Creech
suggests that providing justifications for each water-saving action is key. When citizens become more conscious of how they waste the most water, they are more motivated to act. Repairing toilet and pool leaks and exchanging baths for showers are common fixes. “Te 40 Gallon Challenge is designed to
help people find the ‘low-hanging fruit’ in their water use—such as a leaky faucet or a long shower—that can readily help save 40 gallons a day,” says Ellen Bauske, program coordinator for this initiative of the Center for Urban Agriculture at the University of Georgia, in Griffin (40GallonChallenge. com). It’s designed to be flexible so states and municipalities can address the local context. “It’s been great to see the creative ways
it’s been adapted; for example, one agent used the pledge as a scavenger hunt item for 4H clubs,” Bauske notes. More than 11,000 people have taken this pledge across America, potentially saving 1.9 million gallons a day. It can be difficult to measure the real
water savings of such challenges, but DiFrancesco says that Mesa has seen a roughly 20 percent reduction in water use since 1999, when the local campaign began to take off. Drop by drop, small acts
taken collectively by engaged citizens add up to big savings. Find water-saving tips at HomeAdvi- sor.com/r/home-water-conservation
freshwater/water-conservation-tips. Connect with April Tompson, in Washing-
ton, D.C., at AprilWrites.com
. How to Start Conserving Today
According to the Alliance for Water Effi- ciency, if every American cut their water use by 25 percent, the nation would save 2.8 trillion gallons in a year; household faucet leaks alone are estimated to waste 1 trillion gallons annually. Opportunities to save water are everywhere.
Here are a few examples for the home, office and lawn, from Water – Use It Wisely’s 100+ Ways to Conserve Water (Tinyurl.com/100WaysToConserveWater
Kitchen: Wash produce in a pot of water instead of running the tap, then reuse the water to quench house plants.
Bathroom: Save up to 1,000 gallons per month simply by showering for less than five minutes.
Laundry room: If city and county codes allow it, have a plumber reroute household gray water to irrigate exterior landscaping rather than losing it to the sewer line.
Lawn: Save up to 1,000 gallons a year by refraining from watering the lawn on windy days, when most of the water can blow away.
Landscape: Spreading organic mulch around plants helps them retain moisture and fend off evaporation, while deterring the growth of water-sucking weeds. Watering in the early morning, when tem- peratures are low, minimizes evaporation. Use a rain barrel for hand-watering and zone plants by level of drought tolerance.
Pool: Use a pool cover and keep water lev- els to a minimum to reduce water loss and additions of fresh water and chemicals.
Office: Conduct a water audit to see where it’s easiest to save water and put in place a water management plan to address any issues. Promote awareness through a company newsletter to encour- age employee water-saving efforts.
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August 2018 35
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