Water, water everywhere, but not a drip in the sink

The Land of 10,000 Lakes actually contains more than 12,000 lakes and 92,000 miles of streams and rivers. In addition, Minnesota boasts an abundance of ground water resources.

Fresh water supplies such as these are essential to our quality of life in many ways. Water is a necessity for human health as well as the health of crops, livestock and other living organisms. Water is also required to produce energy and manufacture countless products. Although freshwater is plentiful in Minnesota, it is not limitless. Conservation efforts today will help ensure a future with abundant water resources.

Water conservation can also affect your household budget by reducing the cost of water and sewer utilities and decreasing the strain on septic systems.

There are many ways to reduce water use in and around the home. Here are a few suggestions.

• Showering uses about five gallons of water per minute. Water-efficient shower heads are available in many inexpensive, easy to install models. These shower heads can save up to 750 gallons per month.

• Turning off the water while brushing your teeth can save 25 gallons per month.

• Each toilet flush uses between five and seven gallons of water. Newer toilet models are engineered for three gallons.

• Before watering the lawn, check to see if the root zone is moist. If the soil two inches below the surface is moist, no water is needed. When water is needed, apply it in the morning or evening.

• Adjust sprinkler heads so only the lawn is watered and not the house, street or sidewalk.

• Fix those leaks! A leaking toilet can waste up to 1,000 gallons per month. Faucet repair can save up to 300 gallons per month. Remember to check outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses for leaks, too.

Conserving water is not just about limiting use in and around the home. Because water is used in so many ways, conserving water is also about conserving energy and other resources. Conservation can be as simple as flipping off a light switch, choosing a more energy-efficient light bulb, taking a shorter shower or fixing a leaking faucet.

More information about water conservation efforts is available on the following Web sites.

• Minnesota Rural Water Association: www.mrwa.com

• Water-Use it Wisely: www.wateruseitwisely.com

• American Water Works Association: www.awwa.org

• Metropolitan Council: www.metrocouncil.org

Sign up to receive the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Living Green 365 e-newsletter at www.livinggreen.org.

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