Half of U.S. Under
Drought- EPA Offers Water Saving Tips
WASHINGTON, DC, August 16, 2002 (ENS) - With almost
half the nation now facing drought conditions, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reminding Americans
to take steps to conserve water and avoid waste.
On average, households lose about 14 percent of the
water they pay for every day, said EPA Administrator Christie
"Nationally, an average of 14 percent of the water we
buy is lost through leaks without our ever using it -
that's like paying a 14 percent sales tax on something
you don't get to use," Whitman said.
A typical family of four spends about $820 on water
supply fees and sewer charges per year and an additional
$230 on heating the water. In many communities, the water
and sewer costs can be twice that amount or higher.
Many people do not realize how much money they can save
by taking simple steps to save water, and they do not understand
the cumulative effects such small changes can have on water
resources and environmental quality.
"Water is truly a staple of our existence and using
that water efficiently needs to be part of our daily lives,"
said Whitman. "Fixing a leaky faucet, toilet or lawn watering
system can reduce water consumption. Changing to water
efficient plumbing fixtures and appliances can be major
water and energy savers as well."
Reducing water usage translates into energy savings.
About eight percent of the nation's total energy production
is used to treat, pump and heat water. Less energy demand
results in fewer pollutants from power plants.
Diverting less water for municipal uses also preserves
more water in streams for healthy aquatic ecosystems.
When individual communities have focused on efficient
use of water, they have enjoyed great success, the EPA
says. Some communities such as Seattle, Washington; New
York, New York; and Boston, Massachusetts; have been able
to reduce overall water use by more than 20 percent.
To spotlight these successes, EPA has published "Cases
in Water Conservation: How Efficiency Programs Help Water
Utilities Save Water and Avoid Costs," available online
To learn more about the simple things people can do
to save water, take a virtual tour of a water saver home
Learn more about saving water at home and at work at:
"I believe water is the biggest environmental issue
we face in the 21st century in terms of both quantity
and quality," concluded Whitman. "The drought this summer
is reminding many Americans of the need to appreciate
clean water as an invaluable resource. As the U.S. population
increases, the need for clean water supplies continues
to grow dramatically and puts additional stress on our
limited water resources. We can all take steps to save
and conserve this valuable resource."
August is "Water Efficiency Month," part of the EPA's
celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Clean Water