WATER CONSERVATION
By Elizabeth N. O'Brien

The MWRA has also set up programs to promote water conservation. On their Water Systems' web page, http://www.mwra.com/water/html/wat.htm, they have many links for people to read about conserving water and what they can do to help. They have Household and Business tips for water management. They also provide schools with curriculum for teachers to help promote water conservation.

One way the MWRA promotes water conservation is through low-flow toilets. They help their customers by telling them what to look for when choosing a low-flow toilet and what to ask. The state is also helping with conserving water. They have changed the state plumbing codes to 1.6 gallons/flush. If you replace a toilet that is pre-1980 or a 7 gallon toilet, you will save 5.4 gallons per flush and if you replace a toilet that is post-1980 or a 3.5 gallon toilet, you will save 1.9 gallons per flush. If you replace a 3.5 gallon toilet with a 1.6 gallon toilet, this will save families of four about 11,096 gallons of water per year! This also means that you will also be saving money.

Another form of water conservation is stopping leaks! There are many items in a house or business that can leak. For leaky toilets, the MWRA suggests that you place a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank and let it sit there for about 10-15 minutes. If the color appears in the bowl, then you have a leak! Dripping faucets and shower heads can be caused by worn-out washers. They are very cheap and easy to replace! Also check pipes under sinks, behind the washing machine, and around the basement for wet areas. By doing these easy things, you can save gallons of water from being wasted and you can save some money!

You can also conserve water by cutting down on things you do daily. For example, make sure you turn off the water while you brush your teeth and take shorter showers. Buying low-flow shower heads will also help conserve water. (The MWRA suggests that you should hold a bucket underneath your shower for 20 seconds and if more than one gallon accumulates, you need a low-flow shower head.) Also, make sure you run the dishwasher and the washing machine when they are full or adjust the water level accordingly. This can save you a few gallons of water each day.

Yard work and other outdoor activities also consume a lot of water. Plants need water to live and cars need to be washed! For yard work, the MWRA suggests that you use the "inch" rule. Most plants only need an inch of water a week, so if it has rained an inch or more during the week, do not bother water the plants that week! Also, make sure to water during the morning or night hours to avoid evaporation.

The MWRA also has pamphlets for businesses. According to the MWRA, companies should initiate an employee awareness program. This may also help people conserve at home as well. In restrooms, place public awareness stickers and brochures. Offices should also develop a water management plan where water costs are known and goals are set for conservation.

According to the MWRA, if everyone does all of these things listed above, money and water will be saved!

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