Ask Eartha: Use Slow the Flow to help curb water usage at home (column)
I just purchased a home in Silverthorne and am experiencing high water costs. I’m assuming that my landscape sprinkler system may be the culprit of this excessive water use. How can I do my part to help conserve outdoor water use here in Summit County?
The summer drought in Summit County may feel like it’s on its way out, but water conservation still looms as a primary concern for many regions across the western U.S. It’s important for residents and communities to make efforts to reduce water use and protect the longevity of our freshwater sources. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average Colorado resident consumes between 100-125 gallons of water daily. Nationally, roughly 30 percent of all residential water use occurs outdoors. In dry, arid summer climates such as in the western U.S., the per capita residential water use is quite high due to landscape irrigation.
Excessive water use at home can be combated from several angles. Water fixtures throughout your home such as toilets, showerheads, faucet aerators, dishwashers and clothes washers can be upgraded to water-efficient models that automatically save up to 75 percent of the water their standard counterparts would normally consume. Simply screwing in some new aerator tips onto your faucets and new showerheads into your bathrooms can be done in the matter of an hour. These simple do-it-yourself projects can yield impressive water savings and cost you well under $100 to install for your entire home. Feel free to call the High Country Conservation Center to learn how to have these simple water saving products installed at your home for free.
Oftentimes, saving water at home starts with education. It’s important to understand how your home uses and wastes water. A typical water leak that drips 10 times per minute wastes over 500 gallons a year. Ask your water provider if they recommend resources for diagnosing these types of leaks. As for outdoor water use, we’re fortunate here in Summit County to have access to an impressive statewide program aimed at finding and reducing excessive outdoor water use. Boulder-based nonprofit Resource Central offers no-cost consultations to Summit County businesses and residents. Through their program coined Slow the Flow, Resource Central will send a water efficiency technician to your home or business for a comprehensive 90-minute consultation.
This free consultation includes an inspection of your outdoor irrigation system, an efficiency test that measures water use and coverage area, and a customized watering schedule to maximize watering efficiency. Your water efficiency technician will even adjust your sprinklers while on-site and educate you on best practices to help maintain a water-efficient sprinkler system. Feel free to join your technician as they walk your property and explain the various things they’re looking and testing for. You’ll learn a lot about the challenges of irrigation specific to your home, and what should be done to reduce your water use. Through interactive tools, your technician can show you how much water you can anticipate saving after making the recommended adjustments.
A new offering this year to Summit County, Slow the Flow is about as easy as it gets when it comes to taking action against high water use. Last year, this program served over 1,700 Colorado households and is continuing to reach more every year. Conserving water is an effort that anybody can take on. Whether you’re looking to overhaul all the water fixtures in your home or business or are simply eager to learn more about your water use, there’s an easy first step for you to take. Call the High Country Conservation Center at 970-668-5703 or visit HighCountryConservation.org.
Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at info@highcountry conservation.org.
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