Fact: Water leaks in U.S. homes waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA, and the companies it has designated WaterSense program partners for their water-saving products, are promoting Fix a Leak Week from March 12-18, 2012, with a simple goal: Stop wasting so much water needlessly.
In dry parts of the country, like the Southwest, water conservation is a fact of life. In water-rich regions of the country, though, water conservation is also important. In Rockland County, N.Y., for instance, an international company has proposed building a costly desalination plant to treat Hudson River water for drinking, in part because a ballooning suburban New York population hasn't effectively managed the abundant water that falls in the Northeastern U.S.; citizen groups opposing the United Water New York proposal say it's not too late to use green infrastructure, water conservation and other strategies to prevent a costly mistake. And in older cities on the Hudson River and elsewhere, because stormwater drains and sewers were built together, heavy rains frequently causes overflows of sewage into waters used by kayakers, swimmers and fishermen; water conservation would lessen the load on sewers and help reduce overflows (though investments in infrastructure, at an estimated $330 billion cost nationwide, are also necessary.)
The average home leaks more than 10,000 gallons of water each year, or the amount it takes to wash 280 loads of laundry, take 600 showers, or meet the average family’s water needs for a month, according to the EPA. For Fix a Leak Week, it is urging residents to "check, twist, and replace":
Check toilets for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring into the tank; wait a few minutes and see if color appears in the bowl before you flush. If it does, there’s a leak.
Twist and tighten pipe connections, use pipe tape to cover leaky showerheads, or contact your favorite plumber to help stop drips.
Replace fixtures if necessary with WaterSense labeled models, which are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well or better than standard models.
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