Water conservation and quality

By Tanya Davis | Published Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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It’s a blessing when it falls from the sky to replenish the fields, lakes and streams. It’s wasted when it overflows from sprinkler systems into the street. It’s fun to play in and delicious when cold. It’s a necessity for personal health, growing crops, maintaining life in all its forms.

It’s water, and its supply is finite.

As the water supply grows smaller, our population and the rate of water use grows. Conservation is necessary to reduce the amount of water usage per capita, and in turn, increase the supply.

Today we have many efficient water-saving plumbing fixtures and faucets. Look for the WaterSense label to help you identify the super water-savers. Many Energy Star appliances have improved technology that allows them to use up to 50 percent less water.

What about older houses? What can residents do to conserve water when their homes have older plumbing? The first action is to fix leaks. Even small leaks waste a large amount of water. Fixing leaks doesn’t usually cost all that much. It may just involve replacing a washer.

The other thing that we can all do to save water is to change some of our water use behaviors. Many of our everyday tasks can be done with less water.

In order to help with this behavior change, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is challenging people across the state to reduce their water use by approximately 40 gallons per day. The 40 Gallon Challenge calls on both residents and businesses to save millions of gallons of water annually and save money on their monthly water bills. The 40-Gallon Challenge allows Texans to compete against other Americans who are taking the challenge in their states. Visit www.40gallonchallenge.org to pledge to adopt water-saving practices and see how many gallons of water they can expect to save. The bottom line is to make every drop count.

Another way of making every drop count is by monitoring the quality of our water. With this fact in mind, the Wise County Extension office is providing a water well screening day for area residents Wednesday, Oct. 30. Water samples should be brought to the Extension office between 8 and 10 a.m. Samples from private water wells will be screened for common contaminants including fecal coliform bacteria, nitrates and high salinity. The cost is $15 per sample. Water collection bags and instructions should be picked up from the Extension office, 206 S. State St., in Decatur prior to the 30th.

For more information, call 940-627-3341.

Tanya Davis is a Wise County Extension agent.

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