Take a Tip from Tucson: Conserving Water in Your Apartment is an Easy Way to Observe Earth Day

Click to see the full infographic!

Click to see the full infographic!

Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22 – and we’ve got water on our minds.

Saving water in your apartment, that is.

Water is perhaps the most necessary substance we need for life, yet because of its easy availability, it is equally easy to take for granted.

In cities where location makes water more difficult to find, citizens often step up to the challenge. We’ve noticed a city where conserving water is taken just this seriously. Tucson, Arizona, has risen to the challenge of careful water conservation with great results.

Read on for a discussion of Tucson’s Earth-loving achievements, as well as a few easy tips to help you remember to conserve water in your own home.

A desert city where conservation is a priority
Consider places in the country where fresh water is harder or more expensive to come by. In desert cities, like Tucson, AZ, water is all the more valuable because of its scarcity.

In this city, conservation efforts have proved successful in reducing overall water usage. Last year, Tucson’s water conservation reportedly beat out even another water-challenged Arizona city, Phoenix.

Tucsonan households use an average of about 136 gallons per person per day, lower than the nationwide average maximum of approximately 176 gallons. The residents of Tucson even earned the #1 position in the 2013 National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation in their population category.

Fernando Molina, public information officer for Tucson Water, adds that the city offers some specific benefits to apartment owners looking to improve older, less green-friendly buildings with more up-to-date amenities. Molina shares that, since 2008, more than 4,000 older fixtures, like toilets, have been replaced with high-efficiency models, perhaps saving as much as 64 million gallons of water. Tucson Water also offers a rebate program designed to help property owners install water-efficient technologies for landscaping. These improvements certainly benefit renters — and the planet, as well!

In Tucson, the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2 project is literally “building an ocean in the desert.” The research being conducted in the 676,000-gallon saltwater tank located here includes water conservation efforts.

In Tucson, the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2 project is literally “building an ocean in the desert.” The research being conducted in the 676,000-gallon saltwater tank located here includes water conservation efforts.

A conversation about water conservation… and some tips!
Now, consider all the ways you use water at home. You have water taps in your kitchen and bathroom. Your water heater also uses electricity to heat up water for baths and washing dishes.

For each sink and shower, think about how often and for how long you keep the water turned on with each use. The most basic principle around conservation is to reduce that time, every time you turn on the faucet.

For instance, if the typical shower uses about five gallons a minute, then think about how much water is consumed over a ten-minute shower. Shortening your shower could share those fifty gallons with other water activities, like running a typical dishwasher about three times.

Consider these tips:

  • If you can shut off the water during a bathroom or kitchen activity, do it.
  • Run your dishwasher or clothes washer only when you have a full load. Consider using cold water to launder your clothes to save more energy.
  • Limit showers or baths to once a day, if possible, and shorten your shower time.
  • To reduce water replacement, place a liter plastic bottle filled with gravel in the toilet tank.
  • Compost your kitchen scraps instead of running the kitchen sink disposal.
  • Capture cold water to use on plants, while you wait for the faucet to heat up.
  • Save water by reusing towels or wearing clothing items more than once before washing.
  • Watch your water bill. An unusual amount might suggest a hidden leak.
  • Let your landlord or property manager know about any water leak (including a dripping faucet) in your apartment. A drip can add up, second by second, to five gallons wasted a day!

When you take an active interest, your attention really can have a positive impact. Focusing on one aspect of conservation, like tapering how much water you use, is a fairly easy way to the benefit the planet’s resources.

In celebration of Earth Month, the Mayor’s Challenge is currently running again this year over the month of April. Why not pledge in your own city?

The District on 5th Apartments in Tucson are LEED-certified for green construction.

The District on 5th Apartments in Tucson are LEED-certified for green construction.

Photo credits: Apartment Guide

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