Dear Eartha, I’ve heard of an upcoming campaign called Fix-A-Leak Week. I live near the Blue River and have a passion for conserving our limited water resources in the Mountain West. How can I take part?
I appreciate your interest in water conservation! I, too, have a penchant for limiting my household’s water consumption, and I’m happy to inform you about Fix-A-Leak Week so that you can take part and spread the word around. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than 1 trillion gallons of water are wasted nationwide each year, the equivalent of the annual usage for 11 million homes, or 10,000 gallons wasted per household per year. Yikes! Fortunately, most leaks are easily repaired with tools you probably have on hand at home.
The Fix-A-Leak campaign aims to amend this crisis by encouraging Americans to check for leaks in their homes (and fix the ones they find) every year. It takes place the week of March 19th and is part of WaterSense, an EPA program that educates Americans about water efficiency and labels products that are more water-efficient. So whenever you replace plumbing products, make sure you look for those with a WaterSense label. They are actually 20 percent more efficient than other products. According to the EPA, installing WaterSense fixtures and EnergyStar appliances like dishwashers and washing machines can save about $350 in water costs annually for the average household. You don’t need to run to your local appliance store and retrofit your whole home, however. That would be expensive and could waste perfectly good products you already have. This Fix-a-Leak Week, empower yourself to fix your bothersome leaks by following the steps below.
Find Your Leaks
Check out these places around your home for potential water-wasters:
• Sinks: Look for pooling water under pipes and rust around joints and edges.
• Shower Head: Look for drips coming from the end of the head or where it is attached to the water pipe.
• Washing Machine: Look for pooling water which could indicate a supply line break.
• Outdoors: Check your spickets for drips, and your hoses for any leaks. If you have in-ground irrigation, check for broken sprinklers. If anywhere in your yard is soggy be sure to investigate for other culprits.
Fix Your Leaks
You don’t need to be a plumber to make simple repairs. As I mentioned, most leaks can be fixed using basic tools you have around your home. With just a little know-how, this shouldn’t take much time and probably won’t cause you any unnecessary frustration. If you do need assistance, visit the High Country Conservation Center or EPA websites for more detailed information on searching for leaks and repairing them. You can also call your water provider for help. Also, be sure to consider inexpensive replacements that can save water and money, such as efficient shower heads and faucet aerators.
Be a Part of Water Change
Interested in water conservation in a big picture kind of way? You not only can empower yourself to conserve water but also make an impact in your community by getting involved with local plans to conserve. Thanks to a Colorado Water Conservation Board grant, Frisco, Breckenridge, Dillon, and the Copper Mountain Metro District have all submitted water efficiency plans for public review. You can comment on them now until April 4th. There’s also a regional plan for the Blue River Watershed. You can find these plans on town websites under the water department. You can also visit the HC3 website to view the plans, as well as find further information on conserving water in your home and other local efforts.
Water is one of our planet’s most precious and limited resources. Thanks again for helping conserve it. I hope you’re more informed about Fix-A-Leak Week, and I hope you get out there and make your water consumption more efficient than it already is!