Lansing Water Usage Is Up

By: Lori Jane Gliha
By: Lori Jane Gliha

The hot dry weather is causing Lansing residents to use more water than usual.

Lansing is using nearly 40 million gallons of water each month. Officials say the city's water supply could be in danger if that number reaches 50 million gallons. Conservation efforts and a light rain could reduce the city's water usage by 20 percent.

Experts say people should use a broom instead of a hose to clean off their driveway to help conserve water. Also, people can install water restriction devices on their shower heads and faucets to reduce the amount of water that comes out while increasing the water pressure.

Officials recommend people water their plants early in the morning to avoid peak hours when water is in high demand. Plant experts watering in the morning is great for plants as well. Early in the morning, the water seeps into the soil and roots, and because the sun and the heat are not as great in the morning, the water is less likely to evaporate.

Experts also recommend granules called Soil Moist. They help retain water in the plant for several months.

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How You Can Conserve Water

Behavioral practices involve changing water use habits so that water is used more efficiently, thus reducing the overall water consumption in a home.

These practices require a change in behavior, not modifications in the existing plumbing or fixtures in a home.

Behavioral practices for residential water users can be applied both indoors in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room and outdoors.

  • In the kitchen, for example, 10 to 20 gallons of water a day can be saved by running the dishwasher only when it is full.

    If dishes are washed by hand, water can be saved by filling the sink or a dishpan with water rather than running the water continuously. An open conventional faucet lets about five gallons of water flow every two minutes.

  • Water can be saved in the bathroom by turning off the faucet while brushing teeth or shaving.

  • Water can be saved by taking short showers rather than long showers or baths and turning the water off while soaping. This water savings can be increased even further by installing low-flow showerheads, as discussed earlier.

  • Toilets should be used only to carry away sanitary waste.

  • Households with lead-based solder in pipes that flush the first several gallons of water should collect this water for alternative non-potable uses.

  • Water can be saved in the laundry room by adjusting water levels in the washing machine to match the size of the load. If the washing machine does not have a variable load control, water can be saved by running the machine only when it is full.

  • If washing is done by hand, the water should not be left running. A laundry tub should be filled with water, and the wash and rinse water should be reused as much as possible.

  • Outdoor water use can be reduced by watering the lawn early in the morning or late in the evening and on cooler days, when possible, to reduce evaporation.

    Allowing the grass to grow slightly taller will reduce water loss by providing more ground shade for the roots and by promoting water retention in the soil. Growing plants that are suited to the area ("indigenous" plants) can save more than 50 percent of the water normally used to care for outdoor plants.

  • As much as 150 gallons of water can be saved when washing a car by turning the hose off between rinses. The car should be washed on the lawn if possible to reduce runoff.

  • Additional savings of water can result from sweeping sidewalks and driveways instead of hosing them down. Washing a sidewalk or driveway with a hose uses about 50 gallons of water every give minutes. If a home has an outdoor pool, water can be saved by covering the pool when it is not in use.

    Source: http://www.epa.gov/OW/you/chap3.html (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) contributed to this report.


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