Here at WETLAB Western Environmental Testing Laboratory, water quality is our business. It effects everybody – from healthy drinking water to a healthy environment. But today everybody also needs to think about water quantity, not just water quality.
Water shortages are growing larger and becoming more frequent. The World Bank reports that 80 countries are experiencing water shortages and more than 2 billion people don’t have access to clean water, according to The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The problem is the inevitable consequence of a growing world population – doubling the demand on water every 21 years, according to the University.
Most of us use know the basics of using water wisely – from not running the tap while brushing your teeth to making less water intensive choices when landscaping. But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is aiming to up your knowledge on how to save water through easy education and simple guidelines, available at www.epa.gov/watersense/.
Educational tools great for the whole family include a quiz titled “ Test Your WaterSense,” a calculator will let you figure out how much you can save at home, a guide shows you local rebates for saving and more.
Their guidelines for flushing, for example, could reduce toilet flush rates by 20 percent and urinal flush rates by 50 percent, according to the Green Education Foundation.
“If one in every 10 homes in the United States were to install WaterSense labeled faucets or faucet accessories in their bathrooms, it could save 6 billion gallons of water per year, and more than $50 million in the energy costs to supply, heat and treat that water,” according to the EPA.
Those fixtures and appliances have been independently tested for efficiency and performance to meet the EPA WaterSense standard.
And it’s already working, saving 125 billion gallons of water and $2 billion in utility bills in the last five years, according to Stephanie Thornton, as quoted by the Green Education Foundation.
Here in Northern Nevada, the Truckee Meadows Water Authority also offers guidelines for saving water and implementing assigned day watering for landscaping.
We’re in a high desert environment, subject to the snow pack of the Sierra Nevada, so while last winter may have left our region relatively flush, we never know what Mother Nature has in store for us in the next year.
In Southern Nevada, the Las Vegas Sun has set up a count down to when Las Vegas could theoretically run out of water (2021!) if water usage isn’t changed.