Do Your Part, Be Water Smart!
Water is one of the true essentials of life. In Hammonton, we’re fortunate to have a relative abundance of it, sitting as we do above the Kirkwood and Cohansey Aquifers–huge underground reservoirs of clear, pure water. We rely on them for all of our water needs–drinking, cooking, bathing, laundry and recreation, as well as yard and crop irrigation.
Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion about the town’s water supply. The Green Committee is committed to helping town residents and businesss do all we can to conserve and preserve our water resources.
- Fix leaks. Leaks are the Number One preventable water waster. Save up to six hundred gallons a month for each leaky faucet you fix!
- If you have a leak and you don’t yet have time to fix it, try to capture the water that’s coming out, and use it for your plants or pets or for your birdbaths.
- Take shorter showers – get an inexpensive timer to help you monitor yourself. Even a two minute reduction can save up to seven hundred gallons a month!
- Don’t run the water while brushing your teeth or shaving. Seriously!
- Instead of using the inside-the-fridge water dispenser, keep a pitcher of water on hand (doesn’t necessarily use less water, but it will keep your fridge open for less time, saving energy).
- Don’t leave taps running unattended, and capture any water you don’t immediately need for later use (plants, cooking, pets, etc.).
- Use a reusable water bottle instead of the throwaway plastic bottles.
- Only run the dish and clothes washers when they’re full (saves upwards of eight hundred gallons a month).
- Use a broom instead of a hose to sweep debris from your walkways and driveway (save more than a hundred and fifty gallons each time).
- If you don’t have an “on-demand” hot water system (and few of us do at this point in time), try to capture the water that runs out before the hot water starts coming out of the faucet (save up to three hundred gallons a month).
- If you’re building or renovating a home, investigate the possibility of using a greywater system for your irrigation needs instead of potable or aquifer water.
- Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators (save 18% of your daily water use), and “Water-Sense” toilets or dual-flush toilets that can save another 18% or more.
- If you need to replace your dish or clothes washers, make sure the new one is Energy Star rated. For clothes washers, go for the High Efficiency (“HE”) models; they cost a little more, but they save water AND drying time, so you get a double or triple savings (water, fuel, and time)!
- Capture rainwater from your roof in a rain barrel; use it on your gardens.
- If you have a lawn, reduce its size, and fill your yard with plants native to southern New Jersey.
- Water your lawn infrequently but thoroughly, only once per week and enough to soak the grass one inch. Use a rain GAUGE to get the measure correct.
- Install rain SENSORS on your lawn irrigation system, to prevent it from running during rain events. Otherwise, pay CLOSE attention to the weather reports!
- Only water early in the morning (between 5 A.M. and 9 A.M.), or (second best) early in the evening (between 5 P.M. and midnight) to avoid excessive evaporation.
- Use a hose to water your lawn and gardens instead of sprinklers.
- Plant native bushes and groundcovers on slopes and small strips of land to reduce watering needs.
- Cut your grass no lower than three inches generally, and higher (3 ½ to 4 inches) in the deep of summer.
- Use drip irrigation for your garden plants.
- If you have a pool, keep it covered when not in use (to reduce evaporation).
Resources for the home:
- http://www.newjerseyrealestatepros.com/post/water-your-lawn-the-right-way-with-these- simple-tips/
- Again, keep an eye out for leaks, and report them to get them fixed.
- A lot of the other tips can be applied equally well to schools, so share them with the kids!
- Challenge students and faculty to find ways to reduce water use at school, and post results
- Install rain gardens to reduce the area needing irrigation
- Capture roof and ground water (especially from parking lots) for irrigation purposes.
- Make improvements to the facility’s air conditioning and other equipment, like toilets and urinals.
Resources for schools:
- http://www.ecoschools.com/Water/Water_wSidebar.html (Broad resource list for schools)
- http://www.ncef.org/rl/water.cfm (National Center for Educational Facilities)
- http://dnr.wi.gov/Education/educatorresources/ghs/documents/WaterAssessment.pdf (Water use assessment tool)
- http://cfpub.epa.gov/schools/top_sub.cfm?t_id=49&s_id=53 (EPA Healthy Schools)
- http://www.nj.gov/dep/seeds/strmwtr/edres.htm (NJDEP stormwater lesson plans)
- http://apps.caes.uga.edu/urbanag/pubs/bmp_watercon.pdf (Univ. Georgia BMP manual)
- Waste is money down the drain (literally!). Get an energy and water audit; find out where you’re losing money.
- Fix leaks.
- Have a system for employees to report leaks and faulty water-using equipment.
- Monitor how much water your business uses.
- Develop a program to reduce water use with your employees, and post results.
- If the office supplies water, try a bottle-less system like Quench (www.quenchonline.com).
- If you’re renovating your business, install “Water-Sense” certified plumbing fixtures generally, and waterless urinals in men’s rooms.
- Let your contractor and architect both know you mean business about conservation; maybe they can help your building win an award!
- Use a LEED-certified architect who knows how to “go green” without spending all your green!
Resources for businesses:
- http://practicegreenhealth.org/topics/energy-water-and-climate/water/best-practices-water- conservation (Practice Greenhealth, serving the healthcare industry)
- http://watersavinghero.com/for-your-business.html (hip SF Bay site)
- http://www.nrdc.org/enterprise/greeningadvisor/wu-fixtures.asp (natural Resources Defense Council site for smart businesses)
- http://www.awwa.org/Resources/Waterwiser.cfm?navItemNumber=1561&showLogin=N (American Water Works Association)
In the Community:
- Talk about water conservation with your neighbors. See what they’re doing to save water, and let them know your water-saving secrets.
- Talk with businesses you patronize. Remember: if they’re wasting water, they have to charge you more to cover their expenses!
- Report leaks in municipal equipment including hydrants, supply lines, etc.
- Celebrate our aquifer; work with others to organize a water festival!
- Participate in Environmental Commission, Lake Water Quality Committee, and Green Committee activities – help these groups do more to improve Hammonton.
- Promote water conservation: sign up for one of our “Brown is the New Green” signs when they become available!
Resources for the Community:
- http://www.cleanwaternj.org/index.htm (Clean Water NJ Public Education resources)
- http://www.oasisdesign.net/greywater/law/ (Greywater Policy Center)
- http://www.njconservation.org/ (New Jersey Conservation Foundation)
- http://www.hammontongreencommittee.com (Hammonton Green Committee site!!!)
- http://apps.caes.uga.edu/urbanag/pubs/bmp_watercon.pdf (Univ. Georgia Cooperative Extension, Best Management Practices for Water Conservation)