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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Spend Today to Save More Tomorrow: Help ensure there are enough water resources for future generations by making smart decisions today, says SunHarvest Solar's Brandon Cheshire

Dec 31, 2013 02:32PM ● By Brandon Cheshire

“We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one,” wrote Jacques Cousteau, the renowned French scientist, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. His statement illustrates how important water is to human health and happiness. Our relationship with water is a very important one that we don’t want to take for granted. We want to make sure that there are enough water resources for our children and grandchildren to rely upon, and we do that by making smart decisions today. Here are a few examples that we can do ourself.

Low-flow showerheads: Showers account for about 20 percent of total indoor water use. By replacing standard showerheads with more efficient heads, which cost less than $5 each, a family of four can save approximately 20,000 to 40,000 gallons of water per year. Low-flow showerheads are also available to provide the quality of service found in higher-volume models.

Faucet aerators: Faucet aerators, which break flowing water into fine droplets and entrain air while maintaining wetting effectiveness, are inexpensive devices that cost less than $2 each, and can be installed in sinks to reduce water use. Aerators are easily installed and can reduce the water use at a faucet by as much as 80 percent while still maintaining a strong flow.

Low-flush toilets: Even in existing residences, replacement of conventional toilets with low-flush toilets is a practical and economical alternative. The total cost for replacement of the conventional toilets with low-flush toilets is about $20 per unit, not including installation, and saves an average of $66 per year, so the replacement cost could be recovered in the first year.

Toilet displacement devices: Plastic containers such as plastic milk jugs can be filled with water or pebbles and placed in a toilet tank, saving more than a gallon of water per flush. A toilet dam, which holds back a reservoir of water when the toilet is flushed, can be used instead of a plastic container, savings 1 to 2 gallons of water per flush.Behavioral practices for residential water users can be applied both indoors in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room and outdoors. In the kitchen, 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.

Water can be saved in the bathroom by turning off the faucet while brushing teeth or shaving, taking short showers and turning the water off while soaping. Save water 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.

Brandon Cheshire is the chief technical officer for SunHarvest Solar & Electrical, serving the greater Phoenix area. For more information on going solar, call 623-755-8323 or visit