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Front Page » June 11, 2002 » Local News » Emphasis on conserving water climbs with temperature
Published 4,518 days ago

Emphasis on conserving water climbs with temperature


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By KAREN BASSO
Staff reporter


The water levels in the Price River remain considerably lower than normal, signaling the mounting importance of water conservation in Carbon County.

With water in large demand and short supply, Utah and Carbon County residents are finding creative ways to conserve the precious liquid resource.

Although the hot months are only beginning, the summer season is bound to find the state and Castle Valley facing an increasingly desperate situation.

Local residents can do their part in conserving water by performing the following simple tasks to ensure that as much water as possible is being conserved throughout homes and yards.

Many Carbon County residents have already installed evaporative coolers to lower temperatures which continue to rise as the summer months approach.

Owners of the coolers should perform an annual maintenance check on the device. Check for and fix any leaks that are found.

Laundry is a chore which not many people enjoy doing, however it is a necessity in which all households face.

To ensure that water conservation is performed, wash only full loads in the washing machine, or adjust the water level to reflect the size of the load.

By purchasing appliances that offer water and energy efficient cycle operations will also eliminate water waste.

One way to track water usage is to pay attention to the water bill and become familiar with the water meter.

Consumers should use the information to track water use and detect any leaks.

Homeowners should be aware of where the master water shut off valves are located.

If a pipe is to burst, the main line can be shut off by simply turning the master valve off until water personnel can arrive and fix the broken line.

By shutting off the main line, homeowners will ensure that water is not wasted.

Leaky plumbing fixtures, faucets and appliances located in the home also leads to significant amounts of water being wasted.

Local consumers can conserve water by checking all plumbing fixtures and fix any leaky systems.

While checking faucets, homeowners may want to install aerators on every fixture. The devices could save as much as one gallon every minute that the system is used.

Water conservation can be done in every room of the house in which water is present.

The bathroom often times seems to be the main room in which most water is wasted.

Simple conservation tips which are frequently overlooked may be performed quite effortlessly and allow water users to participate in conservation.

Shower heads can produce more water than is needed. To reduce the problem, an ultra low-flow shower head may be installed. The device could save as much as 2.5 gallons every minute that the shower is in use.

A proven way to conserve water is for residents to take shorter showers. Consumers should try to keep showers limited to less than five minutes. By taking a shorter shower instead of a bath, Castle Valley residents can conserve large amounts of water.

A shower uses 12 to 25 gallons of water per use, while a full bath tub requires about 70 gallons.

When taking a bath, people should start filling the tub with the drain already plugged instead of waiting first for the water to get warm. Adjust the temperature as the tub begins to fill.

Toilets are also a main cause of wasted water.

Consumers should consider installing ultra-low-flush toilets or place a plastic bottle filled with liquid or sand in the tank to reduce the amount of water used in each flush.

Residents should also check to assure that the toilet's flapper valve does not stay open after flushing.

The continuous flow of water into a toilet tank wastes significant amounts of water and can be avoided by performing simple maintenance duties.

One way to ensure that a toilet is leak free is to put dye tablets or food coloring in the toilet tank and wait to see if the color appears in the bowl, without flushing.

If the color does appear, then the toilet has a leak and is in need of repairs.

A toilet should not be used as a garbage can.

Place a trash can next to the toilet and use the container instead of throwing used tissues into the toilet bowl.

Consumers should avoid leaving faucets on while shaving, brushing teeth or lathering up dirty hands. Children should also be taught to do the same.

To go a step further in water conservation, an electric razor may be used. Also, fill the sink with a little water to rinse off the razor instead of rinsing it in running water.

Conservation can also be accomplished quite easily in the kitchen. If dishes are washed by hand, fill one half of the sink with soapy water and the other with clean water instead of letting the tap run.

Let pots and pans soak instead of allowing the water to run while the cooking utensils are being cleaned. By scraping food from dishes into the garbage can instead of spraying them off to prepare them for the dishwasher will eliminate the waste of water.

Thawing foods can be done with a bowl of hot water in the refrigerator. The practice will eliminate the running water method of food thawing.

With the hot summer months, ice cold water is often the only solution to cooling off.

Instead of letting the tap run to get a cool drink, place a pitcher of water in the refrigerator. The water will remain cold throughout the long and hot days of summer.

To further water conservation, select one glass to use for drinking each day.

If Castle Valley residents will follow the simple step, the dishwasher will not be required to run as often to clean the family's drinking glasses.

The final kitchen secret lies with house plants. Water plants with water saved from washing off fruits and vegetables. Water which is ran while waiting for the water to warm up can also be used to water the plants.

Wasted water is most noticeable outdoors. Whether it is because neighbors keep a close eye on one another or because the ground dries out so rapidly it seems that water is most used outdoors during the summer months.

Conservation can be just as easily performed outdoors as it is indoors.

The type of landscape is the most crucial role in water usage outdoors.

Castle Valley residents should try planting drought-tolerant and regionally adapted plants in areas that are hard to water or receive little use.

The areas in question may include narrow strips near sidewalks or driveways and steep hills.

Change the lawn mower to a three inch clipping height and try not to cut off more than one-third of the grass height when mowing. The longer blades of grass will hold in moisture longer than shortly cut grass.

Also consider replacing infrequently used lawn areas with low-water use plants or ground covers. The less amount of space requiring water, the less amount of waste will occur.

Apply as little fertilizer to the lawn as possible. Applying fertilizer increases water consumption and actually creates more mowing. Iron based fertilizers are best used to simply green-up the lawn.

Recycle and reuse the water in fountains and other ornamental water fixtures. The water may be used to water the lawn, flower beds or garden spots.

Sweep driveways and sidewalks with a broom instead of spraying them off with a hose. Also the use of soapy water to wash the car will help to conserve water. A shut off nozzle on the end of the hose will further conservation efforts.

By checking outdoor faucets, pipes, hoses and spas for leaks, homeowners will ensure that all equipment is in proper working condition and that water is not being wasted.

The dreaded brown spots which appear on lawns frustrate gardeners. Water these brown spots with a hose instead of increasing the irrigation time on the water timer.

Children's water toys can also be placed on any dry spots on the lawn. Cars can also be washed on the lawn instead of on the street or in the driveway. This will ensure that the water will not be wasted.

Landscaping uses a significant amount of water. Conservation can be achieved however. Begin by visually inspecting sprinkler systems once a month during daylight hours. Check and fix any tilted, clogged or broken heads. Although watering at night is recommended, problems won't be noticed unless the system is seen in operation. Also inspect sprinkler valves for leaks while checking the heads.

Avoid watering the landscape during the hottest hours of the day. No outdoor watering should occur between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. This will minimize the amount of evaporation.

Water landscape in cycles by reducing the number of minutes on the water timer and use multiple start times spaced one hour apart. This allows the water to soak into the soil and avoids runoff.

Water the lawn only when it needs it. If footprints are left on the grass, it usually means that it is time to water.

Turn sprinkler systems off during or after a rainstorm and leave it off until the plants need to be watered again. Often times, an automatic rain shut off device may be installed on a sprinkler system. This will ensure that over use will not occur.

Try to add more days between watering. Allowing the lawn to dry out between watering creates deeper roots and leads to less watering.

To be sure that the ground is dry and watering is necessary, use a soil prove or screwdriver to test soil moisture. If the soil is moist, don't water.

Make sure the water coming out of the sprinklers is not misting and drifting away in the wind. This is usually caused by too high of pressure. If necessary, install a pressure reducer on the sprinkler line. Also, do not water during a windy day.

During drought seasons, it seems that everyone is watching everyone else when it comes to using water. Often times neighbors may aid each other with water conservation. Watch out for broken sprinklers, open hydrants, broken pipes and any other significant water losses in the community. Be sure to notify the property owner or the water district of the problem. Together, a community can make a difference and prevent further water loss from occurring.

Along with landscaping, many homeowners enjoy gardening. Plant a garden when temperatures are cooler and plants require less water, this is also less stressful for the plants.

Gardeners should use a thick layer of mulch around landscape plants and on bare soil surfaces. This reduces evaporation, promotes plant growth and reduces weeds.

Arrangement of plants in a garden according to watering need is also significant. This is called hydrozoning. Learn how much water is needed for the plants and how to best apply just the right amount. Never over water the plants.

Removing weeds from a garden also helps cut down on excess water consumption due to plant competition.

Residents can contribute to water conservation not only in their own homes and gardens, but also throughout their community. Residents can do so by disposing of motor oil, paint and pesticides properly by taking them to a certified disposal or recycling site. Dumping these materials down the drain or on the ground is illegal and ends up polluting our water resources.

Become informed about water conservation and encourage employers, local government, school system and neighbors to promote conservation programs and initiatives in the community.

By attending public hearing and meeting regarding water issues, citizens can become more informed about water needs in the community. Those who attend will also be able to educate friends and family about water conservation in the local community.

Children should also be educated as to how to conserve water. Many times, water becomes a form of entertainment for children, therefore waste occurs. Parents should ensure that children do not waste water and the child may be told the reasons why. By informing children of all ages as to how to conserve water, strong habits will be formed and generations to come will benefit.

With the weather quickly warming up, local residents are urged to perform conservation acts to ensure that water will be available for the months to come. Together, the community can save water without eliminating its use entirely.



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