November 2, 2007. The headline reads, "Tennessee Town Runs Out of Water!"
Because of the severe drought that has plagued the southeastern part of the United States, the small town of Orme, Tennessee, began to ration water, and would turn on the water supply for only three hours a day! "You never get used to it," says Cheryl Evans, a 55 year old, who has lived in the town of 148. "When you're used to having water, and you aint got it, it's strange! I can't tell you how many times, I've turned on the faucet before remembering the water's off!"
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A few years ago, I was working as a temporary employee after a job layoff. I was assigned to a manufacturing plant, and about ten in the morning, I went into the break-room to take my break. About the same time, an employee of the company, came into the break-room holding a coffee cup, and he dumped some left-over coffee into the sink. What happened next, really irritated me, but because I was a temporary employee, I couldn't say anything! Instead of rinsing the cup, which would only take a few seconds, and placing it in the dish-rack, he placed the cup in the sink, and turned on the water, and let it run in the cup, and he walked out of the break-room!
For fifteen minutes, he let the water run in the cup in the sink, and as I was about to leave after my break, he entered the break-room, and turned off the water and put the coffee cup into the dish-rack! A blatant miss-use of water!
In another incident with the miss-use of water, I do most of my work on my computer, but because I don't have a printer, I walk about five blocks to a local community college to do my printing, etc.
One day, during my walk, I noticed a home-owner watering his lawn. Most of the houses here, sit on a hilly terrain, and many of the yards are tiered to level them off. But, not this front yard, as it is pretty steep, and the water just runs out into the gutter and down the street. There was a time, when I walked to the community college at seven in the morning...and when I returned two hours later at nine in the morning, the sprinkler were still on, and the water was still running down into the gutter and down the street!
We have an ordinance in the city where I live, against wasting water, so I called the 311 number, and gave them the information where the water was being wasted!
Water is our most important resource, and I have a list of useful tips everyone can do at home to conserve water.
* Check for hidden leaks. Read the house meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
* Check your toilet for leaks. Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.
* Don't use the toilet for an ashtry or wastebasket. Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash, five to seven gallons of water is wasted.
* Put plastic bottles in your toilet tank. To cut down on water waste, put an inch or two of pebbles inside each of two plastic bottles to weigh them down. Fill the bottles with water, screw the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank, saely away from the operating mechanisms. This may save ten or more gallons of water per day. Be sure a least 3 gallons of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly. For new installations, consider buying "low-flush" toilets, which use 1 to 2 gallons per flush instead of 3 to 5 gallons.
* Insulate your water pipes. It's easy and inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.
* Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators. Inexpensive water-saving shower heads or restrictors are best for the homeowner to install. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up and rinse off. All households' faucets should be fit with aerators. This single best home water conservation method is also the cheapest.
* Take shorter showers. One way to cut down on water use is to turn off the shower after soaping up, and then turn it back on for the rinse. A four-minute shower uses approximately 20-40 gallons of water.
* Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush. There is no need to keep the water running while brushing your teeth. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.