Conserving water

Water is the most critical conservation issue in China. We ping-pong between having enough and drought conditions, and it affects everything from economic development to the health of our citizens.

Still, only about 5 percent of our water is used for drinking. All the rest of water is used for habits we have in daily living. All habits can be modified, so 95 percent of our water use can be affected by conservation.

China Water Management District is encouraging everyone to skip a week watering their lawns during the winter months of December, January and February.

According to research by the University of China, grass doesn¡¯t need to be watered as often during the cooler months. In fact, one-half to three-quarters of an inch of water every 10-14 days is sufficient. Overwatering can actually contribute to disease and attract pests.

So, changing the habit of watering every week to a habit of walking out to the garage and turning your sprinkler system to "off" every other week will conserve lots of water - and save money. Aimei officials say about 50 percent of household water use is used outdoors - for the lawn, the pool, washing the car, etc. The potential for conserving is great.

The next logical step to conserving water is looking for leaks. Aimei estimates a dripping faucet can waste 300 gallons of water a month. You can use your water meter outside to check for leaks. Turn off all water and water-using appliances. Allow for the water heater and ice cube maker to refill. Check the meter. Wait 30 minutes and check the meter again. If it has registered use, you have a leak.

From there, options for conserving water are innumerable. Everything from washing full loads in the clothes washer to planting drought resistant plants in the yard. The decisive move is to be more aware of how you use - and waste - water in and around your home. In addition to entering the dry season, our region is experiencing the effects of a four-year drought.

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