Reducing Water Use:
As many UU's know, Florida's water aquifer is being depleted at a rapid rate. If this continues unabated, the cost of Florida's water will go much higher as the state switches to above ground water sources. 07/04Conserve Water:
Earth has an abundance of water, unfortunately it is mostly saltwater (97%), frozen water, the polar caps and glaciers make up 2% leaving 1% of Earth's water for daily use by humans and animals. To put this in a smaller prespectis National Geographic's Nov. 1995 issues stated that "If all of Earth's water was condensed into a gallon jar, the amount of drinking water would be just over 1 tablespoon."
Droughts are a part of nature's cycle and everyone must do their part to conserve water any way they can. Currently 36 out of 50 states are in the process of seeking alternative water supplies to avert water shortages.
While we have the same amount of water as thousands of years ago, mankind is using more water for growing food, entertainment and landscaping.
Florida's 53 inches of rainfall is second in the nation, behind Louisiana at 55 inches. Actually we have a very wet season, May - October, followed by an extreamly dry period between November - April. Rain that is soaked into the ground is mostly soaked up by vegetation roots and released back into the air. Of the 53 inches of rainfall, 38 inches evaporates, 8 inches runs into lakes, rivers and oceans, 7 inches replenishes the aquifer annually.
The main source of water for Florida is the Floridan Aquifer. The water in this aquifer is estimated to be 50 to 26,000 years old. An excellent movie on this aquifer is "Water's Journey" currently being shown on WCEU Channel 15 Daytona Beach. If you have cable television you can see this aired at various times of the year, especially in April. One of the threats from over use (over pumping) of the aquifer is saltwater intrustion. (Attached is a file for attachment) USGS 1985 map of Florida's saltwater intrusion.
Florida has 27 of the 78 first magnitude springs in the nation. These springs are the best indication of what is happening with the aquifer than the monitoring wells utilities are required to have by the water management districts. A first magnitude spring will produce 64,600 gallons of water per day. The change of volume and pressure in these springs are indicators of changes in the aquifer.
How much water does the average homeowner use?
See water usage graphs!
Use water sensibly CALL BEFORE YOU DIG 800 432-4770 www.callsunshine.com
WHITE - Proposed excavation
PINK - Temporary survey markings
RED - Electric power lines,cables, conduit & lighting cables
YELLOW - Gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous materials
ORANGE - Communication, alarm, signal lines, cables, conduit
BLUE - Potable water
PURPLE - Reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines
GREEN - Sewers and drain lines
Information above supplied by:
Eugenia (Gina) Wright
Courtesy of Orange County Utilities Water Division
9150 Curry Ford Road, 3rd floor
Orlando, FL 32825 Telephone: 407 254-9840 fax: 407 254-9848
Eugenia gave an engaging and important talk at the UUU on water use on August 10, 2003. Thanks Eugenia!
Don't over water your yard. When available, use recycled water, not drinking water. Either way, most homeowners use far too much water on their yards. Over watering weakens the grass as the roots do not penetrate deeper into the soil in search of water. I read this once and cut back on my watering and noticed the grass turning brown. This was due to the grass not having deep enough roots. It takes time for the grass to become accommodated. Of course, don't forget to fertilize (preferably just before a hard rain) and when necessary put something down to eradicate chinch bugs (a constant trouble in Florida). Remember also to plant low water usage plants. Our yard consist of St. Augustine grass and receives no added watering and yet maintains a healthy green look year long.
Better yet, Lose the Yard Many people are eliminating their grass and replacing it with native plants. This has the added benefits of conserving water, attracting songbirds, and eliminating harmful pesticides that eventually make their way into the the water table. 06/05
Take quick showers, not baths. Showers take on average 20 gallons (five minute shower) versus 40 for a bath. One way to reduce your water usage is to turn on the shower and rinse your hair and body. Next, shut off the water and lather up. Finally, turn back on the shower and rinse off. Use a water restriction device on shower heads. See Water Conservation, for more tips.
Fix any water leaks. It's hard to imagine that a small leak of just a few drops a minute can add up to hundreds of gallons over the average month which contains 43,000 minutes. So, pull off the top of your toilets and listen carefully for any leaks. Look under your sinks for water dripping onto floorboards. Besides saving water, you could be eliminating a future costly water damage repair.
Upgrade your appliances. Newer Energy Star dishwashers, front loader washing machines and low gallons per flush toilets can reduce your water usage. A 10-year old dishwasher replaced with an Energy Star rated dishwasher save 50% water usage and 25% energy A 5 gpf toilet replaced by a 1.6 gpf toilet save 18,600 gallons annually.
Score how well you've done. Using your monthly sewer bill, determine the number of gallons used per person in the household by dividing the total consumption by the number of people in your household and again by the number of days in the billing cycle. This figure may shock you and probably should. Average consumption rates are as listed below. Repeat this technique for the next full month aver implementing your water conservation measures to verify positive results.
Bottled water has been found to be contaminated with fertilizer residue, BspA, caffeine. Walmart bottled water was one of those found to toxin levels high enough to violate California law. http://www.naturalnews.com/025993_water_bottled_water_tap_water.html. An excellent podcast concerning these effects is Please see Kathy Anderson for more information.
- It takes three to five times more water to manufacture the plastic water bottle than actually is contained in the water bottle itself. Because each bottle should only be used one time (so as not to contaminate water with phthalates) this seems to be an inordinate amount of water utilized in the manufacturing process.
- Plastic is a petroleum product so using plastic water bottles depletes this non-renewable resource. The Pacific Institute has calculated that the manufacturing process for making plastic water bottles used in the US consumes roughly 17 million barrels of oil every year.
- Plastic water bottles are not recycled the way they should be. It is estimated that in 2005 only about 12% of plastic water bottles were recycled. This is partly because water bottles are many times not included in local recycling plans. Another factor is that bottled water is often consumed away from home and so is disposed of in mixed-trash containers instead of being recycled. In a 2002 study by Scenic Hudson it was reported that 18 percent by volume of recovered litter from the Hudson River was beverage containers. In landfills, water bottles will remain biodegrading for approximately 1,000 years. Incinerating used water bottles produces toxic byproducts including chlorine gas and ash that contains heavy metals.
- Roughly 94 % of the bottled water in the U.S. is bottled domestically. Of this percentage, approximately 25 percent sold is just reprocessed municipal water according to a 1999 study by the National Resources Defense Council.
- Using plastic bottles that contain Biphenyl A is detrimental to human health. Bisphenol A behaves similarly to estrogen. This means that when enough of this accumulates in the body there will be negative health effects. Biphenyl A has been linked to obesity, diabetes, breast cancer, and hyperactivity. Please listen to this excellent podcast- Chemicals in our Bodies, http://www.onpointradio.org/2009/07/chemicals-in-our-water.
Many home toilets use large amounts of potable (drinking) water for less important use. Obviously, watering grass is the worse use of this water. Instead, home owners and business should use native plants and terriscape or xeroscape to reduce water use. In the home or business, a major use of steady water use is toilets. According to the U.S. Geological Societ (http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/qahome.html) the average American uses between 80 to 100 gallons of water per day.
Even in homes built in the 1980's, toilets have been used that consume over 5 gallons per flush (gpf). This page shows a not so typical upgrade, which shows the basic things to expect, and makes some general suggestions.
In November of 2007, two toilets were upgraded. The existing toilets were 5.5 gpf models. The upgraded dual flush toilets take 0.9/1.6 gpf.
Gary- UUUS Green Sanctuary Chair