Fresh water shortages are becoming a serious global problem, with water restrictions emerging in developed countries. Consumers nationwide in drought affected regions of the Western United States are being asked to cut their water consumption. Therefore, some trends and cultural paradigm shifts are occurring, creating an atmosphere of urgency and driving opportunities to educate more people about the seriousness of the problem.
This U.S. Drought Monitor offers monthly updates, indicating the Western states of California and Nevada are facing exceptional drought conditions while Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana are suffering what is called an extreme drought. During this last year, there have also been water shortages from the eastern Carolinas northwest toward lower Ohio Valley in Kentucky, southwestern West Virginia and northeastern Tennessee.
In California, the majorities believe that the residential water users, consisting of about 63 percent and the state's agricultural water users, 54 percent, are doing their part to help the state get through this drought. On the other hand, there are plenty of other environmental reasons for innovative approaches to reducing our nation’s water footprint.
In most urban areas, water is just used once. Then it is treated and disposed of as waste. Reuse of our water supplies provides a reliable, local water supply that can help reduce vulnerabilities to droughts or any other constraints on our water supplies. There are also economic and environmental benefits, like reducing energy usage, pollution from wastewater discharges and even diversions from our rivers and lakes. Ultimately, water conservation helps prevent water pollution in our nearby local watersheds.
Remember that much energy goes into transporting water to your residence, and it is mostly used to heat water for your kitchen and bathrooms. The most modern house plans for 2016 will include environmentally friendly steps towards water conservation.
What New Home Owners Need to Remember
Jerry Yudelso is a green building expert and author of “Dry Run: Preventing the Next Urban Water Crisis,” says fresh water shortages are now prompting more education, awareness and action to deal with the grave situation.
If you are in the process of shopping for a new house plan online, then there is a chance you will be building in one of the nation’s regions affected by a drought or water shortages, or at a minimum, environmental concerns over wasting water. This changes some things for future homeowners including:
Water scarcity and “drought shaming” is now mainstream.
California residents in some cities are facing fines for over water use.People fear genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the dangers of pesticide use, therefore personal consumer growing has become a nationwide trend.
Conserving water extends the life of your septic system by reducing soil saturation, along with pollution due to leaks.
Water conservation helps prevent water pollution in lakes, rivers, and local watersheds. When it comes to having a new home that has a light environmental footprint, ask yourself, what’s your plan?
Make sure your faucets and pipes are not leaking. Even little drips from leaky faucets can waste up to 20 gallons of water per day. In fact, there is a new product called ShowerStart, which saves the water and energy used while waiting for the shower to become warm. A small thermostatic shut-off valve (TSV) is all that’s needed to protect the resources that many homeowners don’t know they are wasting.
Federal plumbing standards specify that any new toilet must use only 1.6 gallons per flush.
In the garden of your new home, install a rain collection system so that you can use natural rainwater to drench for your yard, which lowers your water bill too. According to EarthEasy, your new home can be built with a roof for water containment. Just 1,000 square feet provides about 600 gallons of water during a one-inch rainfall.
Installing drought landscaping with indigenous plants, which will cut back on outdoor water usage, Grass and flowers that require high water maintenance. Always use drought-resistant vegetation and replace perennials with native plants.
The best time to water your garden is early in the morning when loss of water due to evaporation is reduced.
Use a broom instead of the hose and water to wash down driveways, sidewalks and patios. Wash your car using a bucket, not the water sprayer.
Use the correct settings on home appliances such as the dishwasher and washer. Run a full load of laundry every time, but when you don’t have a full load, adjust the settings to use less water.
On a municipal level, there is one new utility known as Sensus, new technology for public service providers, offers free workshops and recycled water for landscaping. It helps identify leaks, helping residents and businesses find areas where they can cut back on the use of water. Visit their drought resource center for information on how the new Sensus technologies are helping utilities better manage water in your community.