(Photo credit: Anna LaRue)
During the holidays, I spent a couple weeks traveling in Cameroon. It is dry season there, and it is especially dry in the northern part of the country. The riverbeds are bone-dry sand.
Water is so precious that every single leaking water meter I saw had a bucket under it to catch the extra drops. The photo above was taken near a main road in the city of Ngaoundéré. While someone else is paying for the water, none of it is wasted.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
In honor of World Water Day March 22, here is a list of online Water Conservation Calculators:
H20 Conserve Calculator
This calculator is less a predictor of actual water usage than a comprehensive look at daily habits that affect water use.
Water Use Calculator
Manufacturer Kohler, has a simple online calculator to estimate your home water usage against the U.S. average
This is a more nuts-and-bolts calculator that will let you plug in your actual water usage (from your water bills) along with home appliance and landscaping details to come up with an overall “water budget”.
Water Footprint Calculator
A calculator that extends past showering and watering the lawn to detailed information on food consumption by food-type.
Happy World Water Day!
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The Fresno Bee reports that the EPA is awarding $127 million to California’s Department of Public Health and another $147 million to the State Water Resources Control Board.
The agency said at least 20 percent of the money must be used to fun so-called “green” infrastructure projects that improve water conservation, energy efficiency and environmental projects.
The two agencies will be responsible for awarding dozens of grants or low-interest loans to cities throughout the state for new sewers and drinking water facility upgrades.
Read the entire story here.
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In his latest post in the San Francisco Chronicle’s City Brights blog, Dr. Peter Gleick (president of the Pacific Institute) calls for a “Cash for Water Clunkers program:
The US should commit $5 billion in a “Cash for Water Clunkers” program to help individuals and businesses get rid of old water-wasting appliances and processes…
These funds would help homeowners and businesses who choose to replace old water-wasting appliances and equipment, which can then be recycled. Funding could be prioritized to water-efficient appliances produced in the U.S., thereby providing a special boost to U.S. manufacturers.
The program should also be accompanied by a jobs-training program for plumbers and contractors in low-income communities, along the lines of the now-legendary partnership between the Madres del Este de Los Angeles Santa Isabel (Mothers of East Los Angeles Santa Isabel – MELASI) and several local water utilities more than a decade ago. That program helped the City of Los Angeles replace over 2 million old inefficient toilets (though many millions more remain, locally and nationally). The funds for such programs could be managed by local community groups, in conjunction with local water utilities.
Read his entire post on the San Francisco Chronicle website here.
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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Why does the Department of Energy care what kind of showerhead you have? Well, unless you shower exclusively in cold water, the more water you use, the more energy is needed to heat that water.
The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA) states that a showerhead manufactured after January 1, 1994, can deliver no more than 2.5 gallons per minute at a flowing water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch. However, the term “showerhead” was interpreted by manufacturers to be a device sending water over a bather. Each device was considered to count separately and separately needed to meet the standard.
The draft interpretive rule published by the DOE clarifies that “a showerhead is any plumbing fitting that is designed to direct water onto a bather regardless of the shape, size, placement, or number of sprays or openings that it may have.” All nozzles would need to jointly meet the 2.5 gallon per minute standard. This primarily will affect high-end showerheads that deliver much more than 2.5 gallons per minute.
The entire draft interpretive rule can be found on the DOE website here.
At this point, the DOE is planning enforcement actions only against the manufacturers of the offending showerheads. Some of the products that manufacturers have stopped selling as a result of letters from DOE include the “Shower Rose” from Grupo Helvex, which delivered 12 gallons a minute. The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors – National Association (PHCC-NA) is up in arms over the new interpretation of the definition and is trying to spin the new definition as having a negative impact on water conservation (though no reason is given in this article).
An article at BuildingGreen.com goes into more detail about reactions from plumbing manufacturers, the water conservation community, and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
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For readers in the East Bay, East Bay Municipal Utility District offers self-survey kits to help check flow rates and find leaks and free low-flow showerheads (2.0 gallons per minute).
Readers in San Francisco can schedule a free water use evaluation and free low-flow showerheads through the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
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