Water may be considered one of the most important natural resources. Even though the world is comprised of mostly water it is important to treat it as a finite resource. This means that we have to conserve and retain its purity for our future generations as well as reduce the need for future purifying processes. There are many ways to conserve water in residential and commercial settings. Here are a couple reminders but check out this website for more hints. http://www.h2ouse.org/tour/kitchen.cfm
-Turn off the water when not in use
-Take shorter showers
-Wash cars or water gardens during cool periods to avoid unnecessary evaporation
-Plant irrigational vegetation to reduce water usage (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/feature/backyard/watercon.html)
-Use solar power to heat water to save energy
-Install water efficient low-flow toilets and fixtures. You can check out your local home improvement center for options of low-flow of no water compostable toilets
These ideas can be combined with a retrofit plan. This would enable the building, regardless of usage, to lower maintenance, avoid emergency repairs, as well as provide opportunities to increase energy efficiency. A popular retrofit is to include low flow appliances when purchasing new or replacing existing units. A large focus would be on toilets because they consume about 25-45% of water usage, but as important to look at are faucets as well as showerheads. The most efficient ones use air to pressurize water instead of excess water and use a spray system that decreases the volume of water needed to produce a continual spray, saving water as well as money, over 50%.
Energy efficient fixutres are an important consideration when retro fitting an existing building but are also important to take into consideration when designing a new building. This includes installing energy and water efficient appliances, as well as landscaping and irrigation efforts. As listed above there is vegetation available that is water efficient but watering can still be an issue. If using irrigation systems, set a timer to water during dusk as to avoid evaporation, also install a rain sensor shut-off switch. This device measures the rainfall and then applies that knowledge to determine if irrigation is needed. This device will save time as well as money and water. There is another device that is important when considering weather patterns and that is rainwater collection. A majority of city water is wasted on irrigational purposes when rain water can be collected and used to offset formal irrigation. The collection of rainwater is simple; it can either be collected in barrels under gutters or in a discreet location. Once collected the water can then be transported and used when and where necessary.
Federation of Canadian Municipalities. http://www.sustainablecommunities.fcm.ca/Capacity_Building/Water/. 2008.
Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. http://www.northgeorgiawater.com/html/211.htm.