How Does Your Water Use Stack Up?
By Warren Tenney
We live in an arid climate - that is our reality here in the desert. And with those hot, dry conditions come challenges and different priorities than other parts of the country including how we utilize water, every single day. We have embraced a conservation culture and understand the importance of living a water-efficient life. However, the amount of water we actually use every day may surprise you. In Arizona the average person uses 120 gallons per day, and in the Valley it can add up to be 6,000-15,000 gallons per household every month, or more.
It can be difficult to visualize how much water that actually is. That’s where Water Use It Wisely’s water tower comes in. It stands 16 feet tall and accounts for each and every gallon of that daily average. Its impressive stature turns heads, getting the attention it deserves, which is why AMWUA has been happy to host the tower for August. It is a perfect opportunity to create awareness, while educating & inspiring action, so that we all recognize the importance of using every drop of water wisely.
Water conservation is already our way of life here in the Valley. Together, we have significantly reduced water use and weathered ongoing drought. The ten AMWUA cities have been achieving average per capita reductions of two percent or more annually. Since 2000, the City of Phoenix grew by more than a quarter million people, yet residential water use has actually declined by 12.5 percent, showing that Valley residents have embraced conservation. That commitment ensures our communities and economy continue to thrive.
While we are becoming more efficient in our water use, we must continue to do our part every day. The most important action you can take as a residential water consumer is to maintain a water-efficient home, which will also help you minimize your water use, conserve energy and keep your water and sewer costs affordable. With a daily average of 120 gallons per day, that means many of us are already being efficient in our water use and have adapted to the desert lifestyle. However, that daily average also means some of us are still high-end water users who could look for more ways to use water a bit more wisely.
When researchers looked at residential water use, this is what they found - out of the daily average of a 120 gallons, 55 gallons are utilized indoors, while 65 are used in our yards. Things such as irrigation systems, pools and undetected leaks can quickly add up, but don’t forget you can bring additional savings by altering your landscape to be more desert-adapted with things such as low water use plants. Inside your home, consider having water-efficient appliances, low flush toilets while quickly repairing all leaks – both minor and major. In addition you can look at being more efficient throughout the day by following a variety of water saving tips. If you want to see how your family’s water use stacks up, there is a simple way to calculate your own water usage and compare.
The AMWUA cities have made conservation and efficiency part of their long-term management strategies and will continue to do so. It enables cities to stretch their supplies, build in resiliency, and keep costs as affordable as possible. They have also been dedicated to providing resources to residents to help assist with our common goal – to use water wisely, day in and day out.
Together we will continue to strengthen our conservation culture. We are fortunate to have access to safe and reliable water supplies every day. Once it arrives at our homes, it’s our responsibility to use it carefully and efficiently, because in the end, every drop counts.
For 50 years, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association has worked to protect our member cities’ ability to provide assured, safe and sustainable water supplies to their communities. For more water information visit www.amwua.org.
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