Earth’s water is almost everywhere: the air, underground, oceans, lakes, rivers, and even inside of us. Here in Boston, many of us tend to put water efficiency on the backburner while we worry about other utilities such as gas, oil, and electricity. Although the earth is referred to as the “blue planet” due to its 71% ocean surface, we are indeed limited in the amount of water available for consumption.
This picture shows what all of the water in the world would look like if gathered into three spheres:
- The largest one being all of the water on the earth (about 860 miles wide)
- The middle one near Kentucky being all fresh liquid water in the ground, lakes, swamps and rivers (170 miles wide)
- The tiny dot near Georgia being fresh-water lakes and rivers (34.9 miles wide)
It’s clear here why we need to limit our water consumption, especially in the face of a growing population.
What is water tracking and benchmarking?
- Water tracking: recording your water use and cost data over time
- Water benchmarking: comparing your water use to other buildings similar in size and climate zone
How can water tracking and benchmarking water help?
- For single families: you can identify patterns in your family’s water usage to determine where you can save the most. Do you need to change habits, fix a leak, invest in a new appliance, or all of the above?
- For residential building owners: use it to compare your buildings and tenants to each other to identify who is the least efficient and where you can save. Know how to spot a leaky piece of equipment or use data to evaluate replacing a really old appliance
- For commercial building owners: Benchmark your buildings to each other and similar buildings in a database like WegoWise. Identify where there are leaks or which pieces of equipment would benefit most from an upgrade
- For the farming industry: For farms, water use is a huge expense. And in these areas where drought is common, irrigation accounts for a large percentage of the nation’s total freshwater consumption. Know and understand your usage so you can identify areas for improvement
The biggest sources of water inefficiency can also yield the fastest paybacks in comparison to other utility upgrades
- Toilets: The main source of water use in the house, accounting for 30% of total residential indoor water consumption. They're also one of the major sources of wasted water use due to leaks and obsolete parts. Read here on an easy way to find leaks with food dye, and save up to 200 gallons per day
- Faucets: Over 15% of indoor household water use. New aerators are an easy and inexpensive way to increase faucet efficiency
- Showerheads: About 17% of indoor household water use can be decreased through more efficient shower fixtures for less than $20. Low-flow heads can save 15 gallons in 10 minutes
- Appliances: The average clothes washer is the second largest water consumer in the home. High-efficiency washing machines can save over 50% in water and energy use. When doing laundry, make sure your machine is set for the right load size. Check out these water-efficient appliances.
- Irrigation: More than half of your total water usage can go toward keeping your lawn and plants watered. Increase your efficiency by setting sprinklers to avoid sidewalks, watering during the coolest time of day, and using trickle irrigation for trees and shrubs. Make sure to plant species that are climate-appropriate (don’t plant hibiscus flowers in the middle of the Arizona desert). Finally, you can collect rainwater to use throughout your home.
- Heating: Hot water usually accounts for 13% of your total utility bill. Consider installing an efficient water heater to save water, energy, and money.
Once you can identify which buildings or sources are being the least water efficient, here are a few more ways you can reduce your water use:
- Full loads of dishes in the dishwasher are actually a lot more water-efficient than hand washing them in the sink.
- Turn off the water when you’re not using it – you can make an easy habit of this while you shave or brush your teeth.
- If you have a pool, keep it covered. You can lose hundreds of gallons of water per month due to evaporation.
- Many people have begun using greywater to recycle the water used in their own house.
So what are you waiting for? Begin tracking and benchmarking your water use today with WegoWise!