Saturday, January 17, 2009

Water Conservation: Another milestone to reach

In 1994, US Government released a mandate that restricts the capacity of single toilet flush to no more than 1.6 gallons of water. It was a great step to reduce water consumption across every household in US. 

If you wish to learn more about water conservation standards mandated by US and individual states, check the following site:

Through this site, I came to know that in Arizona and Oregon, water cannot be used for flushing in urinals! I haven’t been to either of the states so far, but will be on the lookout.

I suppose there is one more way to substantially reduce water wastage: Push-button water-control for showerheads.

Most of us have a lever based water-control for our showers. At the time of entering bath, one has to fiddle around with the right setting of the lever to get the desired temperature of the running water. Due to the effort involved in doing this, I suspect if anyone turns off the shower while soaping. And this is where the problem lies. Assuming an average bath time of 10 to 15 minutes, I would suppose one spends roughly 20% of the time is spent in soaping (during which running shower is not required), we end up wasting around 5 gallons of water per bath (federal standard mandates water flow rate of showers to be less than or equal to 2.5 gallons/minute). Now, if we had a way to turn off the shower at the push of a button and restart the shower which delivered water at the same temperature as before, we can save 5 gallons of water per bath!

Doing some rough calculation (see below), based on Santa Clara country water rates, a family of four will save the following:

Total water savings/year = $9.80 (modest)

Pride in saving 7300 gallons of water = Immeasurable


Water usage per year = 365 * 5 * 4 = 7300 gallons

Water rate for Santa Clara, CA = $0.877 per Hundred Cubic Feet (HCF)

1 HCF = 748 gallons

Total cost of water usage per year = 7300/748 = $9.80

Doing some rough calculation based on US population, the average savings per year comes to be around 456 billion gallons of water!! 

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