Contacts: John Osborn – firstname.lastname@example.org | Jim Hedemark – email@example.com
Take Action for our Aquifer & our River!
H2KNOW Library: media – links – documents – interviews
A gallon saved is a gallon earned — for our Spokane River
If you are among the 500,000 of us who live in Spokane-Coeur d’Alene region, then your source of water at home and at work is our shared aquifer. (For more on our amazing Aquifer/River system, see 2015 Aquifer Atlas.) The aquifer not only supplies our homes and businesses, but also is the lifeblood for the Spokane River, especially during the hot summer months. Nearly every bucket of water that we use is a bucket that doesn’t flow into the Spokane River. In Washington State, the oldest gage for measuring water flow is the USGS Monroe Street gage, providing information about our Spokane River’s declining flows since 1891.
Conserve water: help our River and save money too!
Conserving water will help save our Spokane River and save you money. Right now the Spokane River is in trouble: the flow is extremely low. You can help our Spokane River — and the wildlife that depend on our river — by taking action. In this time of drought, Sierra Club’s Upper Columbia River Group and CELP are encouraging our region to move from water waste to water conservation through the H2KNOW.info public information campaign.
Actions to help protect our Spokane River, save money:
- Water only when needed. Look at the grass, feel the soil, or use a soil moisture meter to determine when to water.
- Do not over-water. Water needs vary greatly by season, grass species and amount of shade, so keeping the same settings year-round will result in over-watering.
- Water lawns early in the morning during the hotter summer months.
- To avoid excessive evaporation, use a sprinkler that produces large drops of water, rather than a fine mist. Sprinklers that send droplets out on a low angle also help control evaporation.
- Set automatic sprinkler systems to provide thorough but infrequent watering. Pressure-regulating devices should be set to design specifications. Rain shut-off devices can prevent watering in the rain.
- Use drip-irrigation systems for bedded plants, trees and shrubs, or turn the flat, green soaking hoses upside down so the holes are on the bottom. This will help prevent evaporation.
- Don’t water streets, sidewalks or driveways. They will never grow a thing.
In the Bathroom
- Take short showers and install a cut-off valve, or turn the water off while washing and back on again to rinse.
- Take a shower versus a bath. Showers with high-efficiency showerheads often use less water than taking a bath.
- Reduce the level of the water being used in a bathtub by one or two inches if a shower is not available.
- When building a new home or remodeling a bathroom, install a new, dual-flush toilet that uses only 0.8 or 1.6 gallons per flush.
- Test toilets for leaks. Add a few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet to the water in the tank, but do not flush the toilet. Watch to see if the coloring appears in the bowl with a few minutes. If it does, the toilet has a silent leak that needs to be repaired.
- When brushing teeth, turn the water off until it is time to rinse.
- Do not let the water run when washing hands. Water should be turned off while washing and scrubbing and be turned on again to rinse. A cut-off valve may be installed on the faucet.
- When shaving, fill the lavatory basin with hot water instead of letting the water run continuously.
- Install a low-flow shower head that limits the flow from the shower to less than 3 gallons per minute.
In the Kitchen
- Scrape the dishes clean instead of rinsing them before washing. There is no need to rinse unless they are heavily soiled.
- Use a pan of water (or place a stopper in the sink) for washing and rinsing pots, pans, dishes and cooking implements rather than turning on the water faucet each time a rinse is needed.
- Never run the dishwasher without a full load. This practice will save water, energy, detergent and money.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly or start a compost pile.
- Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running water from the tap until it is cool is wasteful.
- Use a small pan of cold water when cleaning vegetables rather than letting the water run over them.
- Use only a little water in the pot and put a lid on it for cooking most food. Not only does this method save water, but food is more nutritious since vitamins and minerals are not poured down the drain with the extra cooking water.
In the Laundry
- Wash only a full load when using an automatic washing machine (32-59 gallons are required per load).
- Whenever possible, use the lowest water-level setting for light or partial loads.
- Use cold water as often as possible to save energy and to conserve the hot water for uses that cold water cannot serve. (This is also better for clothing made of today’s synthetic fabrics.)
For Appliances and Plumbing
- Check water requirements of various models and brands when considering purchasing any new appliances. Some use less water than others.
- Check all water line connections and faucets for leaks. A slow drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water each day, or 5,000 gallons per month and will add to the water bill.
- Learn to repair faucets so that drips can be corrected promptly. It is easy to do, costs very little and can mean a substantial savings in plumbing and water bills.
- Check for hidden water leakage such as a leak between the water meter and the house. To check, turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and water-using appliances. The water meter should be read at 10- to 20-minute intervals. If it continues to run or turn, a leak probably exists and needs to be located and repaired.
- Insulate all hot water pipes to reduce the delays (and wasted water) experienced while waiting for the water to become hot.
- Be sure the water heater thermostat is not set too high. Extremely hot settings waste water and energy because the water often has to be cooled with cold water before it can be used.
[adapted from: Water-Saving Tips]
- Estimate your water use
- City of Spokane
- Seattle and King County (lots of information, easy to use)
- Spokane CountyDepartment of Ecology (pretty good)
- Environmental Protection Agency (lots of information on products and techniques)
A special thanks to Jim Hedemark, John Roskelley, and Tom Fox for their efforts in supporting this community campaign.