Navigation Links
Researchers provide guide to household water conservation
Date:7/21/2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Want to conserve water and save on your utility bill? A paper co-written by an Indiana University researcher and published in the current issue of the journal Environment can help.

"The Water Short List: The Most Effective Actions U.S. Households Can Take to Curb Water Use" describes how households can reduce water use substantially by simple actions such as installing more efficient appliances and changing day-to-day habits involving water consumption. While the suggestions may be familiar, the researchers are the first to put a comprehensive, quantitative estimate on the amount of water savings available to a typical household. They also find that some frequently discussed conservation steps actually consume more water than they save.

Authors of the Environment cover article are Benjamin D. Inskeep, an energy policy analyst with the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University, and Shahzeen Z. Attari, assistant professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU Bloomington. Inskeep recently completed a master's degree at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

"As water availability is expected to become an increasingly urgent issue in the coming decades," they write, "it is heartening to find that substantial reductions in household water use are readily available to U.S. households."

Inskeep and Attari address potential savings of both indoor and outdoor water use, focusing on efficiency improvements though one-time technology upgrades as well as curtailment actions. Drawing on data from the Water Research Association and the U.S. Geological Survey, they estimate indoor water consumption can be reduced by 45 percent through efficiency actions such as installing efficient toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, showerheads and faucets. For example, replacing a standard toilet with a WaterSense-labeled toilet could save a family a whopping 18 percent of the water they consume.

Households can reduce indoor water consumption by 30 percent, they say, by implementing curtailment actions such as reducing toilet flushes by a quarter, only washing full loads of clothes and taking shorter showers.

Outdoor water use can be reduced or nearly eliminated by watering turf grass less often, using a rain barrel or other rain-harvesting system, watering all plants in the morning, replacing cool-season grass with warm-season grass that requires less watering, and installing drip irrigation systems.

Not all water-saving tips actually produce savings. For example, one conservation campaign suggests "washing your face or brushing your teeth while in the shower." The researchers say it would be far smarter to do those activities at the sink since a typical faucet uses far less water than a showerhead.

The article follows a paper that Attari published in March, which found Americans have little idea how much water is used by various activities. It is based on "The Short List," an influential 2009 Environment article authored by Gerald Gardner and Paul Stern, who analyzed the best ways to reduce energy consumption and address climate change.

Inskeep and Attari note that water availability is a rising concern in the U.S., with many cities expected to face shortages in the 21st century. Americans use an average of 98 gallons of water per day, seven times what's required to meet daily needs. Yet water is cheap, so there's little incentive to conserve. Installing more efficient appliances and fixtures can produce savings, but up-front costs deter many consumers.

Regarding conservation policies, the authors write that "command and control" approaches, such as mandatory water restrictions, can be effective but are typically unpopular. They suggest market-based approaches, such as setting water rates closer to the long-run marginal cost of supply, offering bigger rebates on efficient appliances and providing consumers with more information.

An editorial by Environment executive editor Timothy O'Riordan highlights the Inskeep-Attari article and discusses the relationship between climate change and water availability and the challenges associated with changing behavior when there aren't short-term incentives to do so.


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Hinnefeld
slhinnef@iu.edu
812-856-3488
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UCI researchers find epigenetic tie to neuropsychiatric disorders
2. Researchers simplify process to purify water using seed extracts
3. BIOTEC researcher is one of the Highly Cited Researchers 2014
4. Yale researchers identify targets for immunotherapy in early-stage breast cancer
5. CNIO researchers discover a gene that links stem cells, aging and cancer
6. Duck migration study reveals importance of conserving wetlands, MU researchers find
7. Researchers advance understanding in immune response to infectious disease
8. Researchers find organic pollutants not factor in turtle tumor disease
9. Largest International Meeting for the Study of Reproductive Biology Attracts Researchers from 36 Countries in Grand Rapids, Michigan
10. Little too late: Researchers identify disease that may have plagued 700-year-old skeleton
11. Researchers declassify dinosaurs as being the great-great-grandparents of birds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/21/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... recognition with passcodes for superior security   ... a leading provider of secure digital communications services, today ... biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly those in ... facial recognition and voice authentication within a mobile app, ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... Florida , March 14, 2016 ... the growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing of a ... channels starting the week of March 21 st .  The ... CNBC, including its popular Squawk on the Street show. ... focused on the growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... Pa. , March 10, 2016   Unisys Corporation ... Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is testing its biometric ... San Diego to help identify certain non-U.S. ... . The test, designed to help determine the efficiency ... environment, began in February and will run until May 2016. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Dr. Thomas P. ... in The Woodlands, Texas , now ... percent of treated fat cells in just 25-minutes, leaving ... to 90 percent of Americans report feeling bothered by ... fat reduction procedures are a growing industry. This innovative ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... May 02, 2016 , ... StarNet ... solutions today announced the addition of three Secure Remote Desktop modules to its flagship ... remote desktops from Linux and Unix servers to the user’s PC over encrypted SSH. ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... April 29, 2016 According ... Market Research "Separation Systems for Commercial Biotechnology Market ... and Forecast 2015 - 2023", the separation systems ... 10,665.5 Mn in 2014 and is projected to ... to 2023 to reach US$ 19,227.8 Mn in ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... 28, 2016 The report "Cryocooler ... Cryocoolers), Service (Technical Support, Product Repairs & Refurbishment, Preventive ... Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global market ... 2022, at a CAGR of 7.29% between 2016 and ... and 94 Figures spread through 159 Pages and in-depth ...
Breaking Biology Technology: