By Charlotte Lane
Public Service Chairman
Households in America loose almost a trillion gallons of water every year. That’s trillion, with a T. And most of that water is lost because of simple household leaks. A dripping faucet here, a running toilet there, and pretty soon a person is looking at a small ocean of wasted water.
The earth is about 71% water, but one can’t drink the water that is in the oceans or the polar ice caps. In fact, less than 1% of the water on earth is fresh water that is available for a person to use. Wasting a trillion gallons a year starts to sound pretty ominous. Besides, wasted water causes one’s water and sewer bills to go up. Nobody wants to pay for water they aren’t using.
The Public Service Commission observes Fix a Leak every March, but water conservation is something we promote every day. Visit PSC’s website at www.psc.state.wv.us and scroll down to conservation to find a link called Lower Your Water Bill. It lists many water saving ideas, large and small.
So, how can a person help stop the waste? The most important thing one can do is chase down and stop household leaks. Start by checking one’s water bill. If there is an unexplained spike, one probably has a leak. Next, read the water meter and don’t use any water in the house for two hours. When the meter is read again at the end of the two hours, it should be exactly the same as the first reading. If not, there is a leak.
If any fixtures or appliances need to be replaced, look for the WaterSense label. They are guaranteed to use at least 20% less water and to perform as well or better than standard models.
Finally, do the toilet test. Put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank and wait 10 minutes. If there is color in the bowl, there’s a leak. A simple flapper replacement is probably all that is needed. Use that 10 minutes to check for leaks throughout the home. Look everywhere there are pipes or water-using appliances. Any sign of mold or moisture may point to a leak, and leaks only get worse. It is much less expensive to stop a leak than to keep paying for wasted water.