Drop by drop

WRITTEN BY JULIE SCHILLINGS

It’s probably more than you think. Each person uses an average of 70 gallons of water in one day. And this is indoor use only! (Based on the amount of gallons used daily.)

Water is a resource that is often taken for granted. We expect fresh water to flow every time we turn on the faucet. Little consideration is given to the five gallons of water used each minute during our morning shower. Every single drop of this precious, limited resource is important. Considering the average Wichita household uses 82,000 gallons of water a year, a significant impact can be made if each family implements a few water conservation tactics. Before you know it, more responsible water use will become a habit.

Water wisely

Outdoor water use typically doubles in the summer months. The average lawn size is 9,422 square feet. If the yard is watered at the horticulture recommendation of one inch per week, then 5,873 gallons of water have been used for just one watering. Most people water much more than that because they do not measure the amount of water put out by their sprinklers.

Let it rain

One inch of rain on a 1,000 square-foot roof yields over 620 gallons of water that can be used to water your landscape or even wash your car. Collecting all of that rain may not be practical, but every drop helps.

A family of 4 would use 280 gallons 
a day or over 5 1/2 bathtubs full of 
water on a daily basis indoors

A family of 4 would use 280 gallons a day or over 5 1/2 bathtubs full of water on a daily basis indoors

New rebate program rewards conservation with cash

The city of Wichita has launched a generous $1 million Water Conservation Rebate Program to encourage residents to reduce their water usage during the drought. Rebates for purchasing new water-saving irrigation sensors, clothes washers, dishwashers, toilets and rain barrels are available to single-family homeowners. Not only will residents save over the long-term with water efficient appliances, they will have the opportunity to receive up to $500 in rebates per household. Details regarding the qualified models, residencies and deadlines are outlined at savewichitawater.com. City officials are encouraging all eligible participants to take part in the rebate program before the money runs out!

Tips for saving

Indoors

1. Shorten your shower by a minute or two to save up to 150 gallons per month.

2. If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the shower head with a water-efficient model.

3. When washing fruit and veggies or cleaning out the fish bowl, save the nutrient-rich water for your plants.

4. If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean dishes much more thoroughly than older ones, and only run when you have a full load of dishes.

5. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and shaving your face to save 4 gallons of water a minute.

6. The toilet is the largest water user in your home, so it is a great place to reduce your water consumption. Check your toilet for a leaking flapper valve by adding a few drops of food coloring in the cistern tank, and don’t flush. After 15 minutes check to see if the colored water has started to leak into the toilet bowl. If it has, then it is time to replace the flapper valve.

Outdoors

1. Cover your swimming pool and spa when not in use to reduce evaporation.

2. Water your grass deeper and less frequently. Water before 10 A.M. and avoid watering on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.

3. Install a rain barrel to collect runoff from roof. Remember to apply for $75 rebate from Wichita’s Water Conservation Program.

4. Mow your grass 1” higher during the summer heat. Mulch grass clippings instead of bagging them to provide shade and add nutrients to your lawn.

5. Adding composted organic materials to your landscape soil at a depth of eight to twelve inches will benefit your garden by using less water and making your landscape more drought tolerant.

6. Install an irrigation clock on your home irrigation system that will water only the amount of time needed to replenish the water lost through evaporation and transpiration. No more. No less. Understanding the “evapotranspiration” process is an efficient way to make use of your irrigation water dollars.

Sources: City of Wichita
For a simple explanation see "How to Water Using Evapotranspiration — ET"
at wichita.gov

 
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