Water conservation has been a hot topic the last several years as many southwest states continue to experience one of the worst droughts in the past century. There have been reports of wells running dry and drinking water shortages and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Some experts are even saying that California is on the verge of a mega-drought, which is defined as a drought that lasts for a decade or longer. In order for California and other drought plagued parts of the US to have enough water to sustain living conditions, as well as the huge agricultural production in the region, there must be a change in how water is consumed.
As the lakes and streams get lower and lower, it becomes even more imperative that any sort of water waste must be eliminated. There are already restrictions in place regarding unnecessary outdoor water usage such as washing of sidewalks and driveways, limited irrigation times, no dumping and refilling of pools, spas or outside fountains with many more restrictions to come. In many areas, restaurants are required to only give drinking water to customers upon request and residents are required to fix any leaks and plumbing issues immediately. Some of the hardest hit communities are even rationing home and business water usage with substantial fines for those who don’t comply.
Even though much of California is described as having a Mediterranean climate, with winter rains and hot dry summers, there is also a large part of the southern portion of the state that has desert-like conditions. Considering that their infrastructure of irrigation is second to none however, the nice green grass and vegetation does not attest to the desert-like conditions. California is first in line to get their allotment of the Colorado River and residents can usually enjoy a surplus of water resources, which unfortunately tends to perpetrate water waste.
One way to combat water waste is to install high efficiency appliances. Sure there is an upfront cost, but in the long run they will save you money while conserving energy and precious water in the process. One area where high efficiency appliances are most often overlooked is in drinking water systems. Reverse osmosis (RO) is probably the most common way to treat drinking water, but it wastes a huge amount of water in the process. Huge as in up to 12.5 gallons of municipal water go down the drain just to produce one gallon of drinking water. In fact, RO systems are probably the biggest waster of water you will find in a household. Upgrading to a high efficiency drinking water system, such as the LINX 140 or 160 systems, can save an average household over 7,000 gallons of water per year.
With no end in sight for this pervasive drought, California and its neighbors need to start thinking outside the box for ways to conserve this precious commodity. Adhering to water restrictions is a good start, along with installing low flow toilets, faucets and shower heads and being conscious about how much water is actually being used; but are these measures enough? There are many sources of hidden water waste that most individuals don’t even recognize and those are the ones that might just tip the scale into actionable and essential water conservation.