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Friday, October 15, 2010

Save Water Sensibly


7 Cheshvan 5771

Today's Blog Action Day and the topic is WATER!

Israel, where I live, is serious about conserving water

Check out these
Indoor Water Saving Tips
from Renee Halpert
Forum Shemesh Yehuda
(a non-profit
environmental forum):

1. Educate your family about Water Conservation.
Create signs you can post in kitchens and bathrooms. Look up rainfall statistics and the Kinneret water levels on the web (see

2. Use your Water Meter to check for hidden water leaks. Read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, a leak exists.

3. Check Faucets and Pipes for Leaks.
A small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste 80 liters of water per day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of liters.

4. Check your TOILETS for eaks.
Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.

5. Don't use the toilet as a Wastebasket.
For each facial tissue or other small bit of trash you flush, 3 to 10 liters of water is wasted. Flush only toilet paper. If you're determined to prevent germs from spreading, toss your wastebasket more often.

6. Install a Dual-Flush toilet tank, or dual-flush mechanism in your existing tank. A 'small' flush on this type of tank is only 3 liters. If changing your toilet isn't an option, partially fill a 1.5 liter water bottle with water, and place that in your toilet tank, to reduce the amount of water needed to fill the tank and flush.

7. Install water-saving Shower Heads and Low-Flow faucet aerators.
Inexpensive water-saving shower heads or restrictors are easy for the homeowner to install. Also, long showers can use 20 liters every unneeded minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off.

All household faucets should be fit with aerators. This is the single best home water conservation method and it's also the cheapest!

8. Take Shorter Showers.
To cut down on water use turn off the shower while soaping up or shampooing, then turn it back on to rinse. (ladies ? same for shaving!) Depending on how much water pressure you use, a four-minute shower can use up to 80 liters of water!

9. Keep a BUCKET in each bathroom. Place it under the tap to catch the water that runs while you wait for the shower to warm up. Use this water for hand-washing, toilet flushing, laundry, etc. (YG: You'll be AMAZED at how much water you'll save!)

10. Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush.
There is no need to keep the water running while brushing your teeth. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing. (YG: Clean your spit with water from one of those conservation buckets!)

11. Use your dishwasher and clothes washer for full loads only.
Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation. Most makers of dishwashing soap recommend NOT pre-rinsing dishes. That's a BIG water saver.

With clothes washers, avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses an added 20 liters for the extra rinse. For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load. Replace old clothes washers. If you're in the market for a new clothes washer, consider buying a water-saving frontload washer.

12. Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units.
In-sink 'garbrators' require lots of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste.

13. When washing dishes by hand, don't leave the water running.
You can gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a pan full of warm water. If using a dishwasher, there is usually no need to pre-rinse the dishes.

14. Don't let the faucet run while you clean vegetables.
Instead, rinse them in a sink with a stopper, or, better yet, in a pan of clean water. Reuse the water for your house plants.

15. Introduce a system that allows water reuse/recycling (i.e., gray-water from washing machine rinse cycles, showers, air-conditioning).

Outdoor Water Use

For Israel Water Authority laws regarding the 'outdoor' residential use of water. See

The new laws include:

* Spring-Autumn: Watering your lawn is allowed via sprinklers only and is permitted only twice a week for a maximum of 30 minutes each time, between the hours of 7:00pm and 7:00am.

* It is strictly prohibited to use a hose to wash your car or to wash any paved area.

1. Water your lawn ONLY if it needs it.
A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn't need water. If it stays flat, the lawn needs watering. Letting the grass grow taller (to 7cm.) will also promote water retention in the soil. In a serious water crisis, many homeowners will opt to let their grass dry out or replace it with water-free landscaping.

2. Less frequent watering for longer periods = better water penetration.
Put an empty tuna can on your lawn. If it fills up in less than the allowable 30 minutes, you've watered enough.

3. Computerized watering systems are far more efficient than manual systems, primarily because there is no possibility of forgetting to shut-off the water. If you water manually, avoid watering when it's windy. Wind can blow sprinklers off target and speed evaporation. Early morning is generally better than dusk: it helps to prevent the growth of fungus. Early watering, and late watering, also reduce water loss to evaporation. Watering early in the day is also the best defense against slugs and other garden pests.

4. Use a Drip Watering system. (YG: Israel excels in drip irrigation techniques!)

5. Check the direction of your watering systems.
Position your sprinklers so water lands on the plants, not on paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days.

6. Add organic matter to shrubs and flower beds.
Adding organic material to your soil will help increase its absorption and water retention. Areas which are already planted can be 'top dressed' with compost or organic matter.

7. Plant Drought-Resistant shrubs and plants.
Many beautiful shrubs and plants thrive with far less watering than other species. Native plants will use less water and be more resistant to local plant diseases.

8. Put a layer of MULCH or stones around trees and plants.
Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. Adding 5 to 8cm of organic material such as compost or bark mulch or adding broken roofing tiles or basalt stones will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture.

9. If you have an air-conditioner, collect the water in a large garbage can or bucket, for use to water plants, wash outdoor furniture, etc.

Other outdoor water usage

10. If you must wash your car, you are NOT permitted to use a hose.
Clean the car using a pail of mildly soapy water, rinse with a second bucket of water. Better yet, use a "waterless" car washing spray, which you can find in car-accessory stores. Or, go to a proper carwash. Most use far less water than you will use washing your car yourself with a hose. Most carwashes recycle water. (A hose car wash can use as much as 400 liters.)

11. Use a BROOM to clean porches, driveways and sidewalks. Keep a bucket of water handy for the tough areas, but avoid using a hose.

Last year I toured Israel's major water supplies which run from Lake Kinneret in the north to the Negev Desert in our country's south. National water carrier Mekorot also pipes water from desalination plants along the Mediterranean coast. Somehow the national mood often reflects the high/low levels of the Kinneret, our big basin of water.

Be sure to see

Learn more about why water is good for you and how it can improve your health. Read E-book EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge! Buy it at

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity.
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