With the current economic crunch and the promise of continued price-hikes for Volusia County utilities over the next several years, saving water should seem as important now as it ever has. Volusia County Utilities alone operates and maintains 9 water treatment plants, 27 production wells, and 233 miles of water pipelines. As the Central Florida area continues to grow, so too will the requirements and expenses for our utilities. There are, however, some easy ways to save water and money. Mother Nature and your pocketbook will thank you.
In many areas of Volusia County reclaimed water is available. Reclaimed water is highly treated wastewater that is usually used for irrigation. The water is sifted and disinfected and is very useful in an environment like Florida which requires a great deal of irrigation through the Summer months.Though it is not potable (safe to drink), reclaimed water often contains higher levels of nutrients such as oxygen, nitrogen, and phosphorus which can be beneficial for fertilization. It is also available at a lower cost than potable water. On the grander scale, the use of reclaimed water slows pollution to sensitive environments by recycling waste water that may be dumped in these outlying areas. In Port Orange, the Reclaimed Water Division can produce 12 million gallons of reclaimed water per day, and while that seems like a lot, it is not enough to cover the entirety of the Port Orange, Ponce Inlet, and Daytona Beach Shores area that it services. In fact, it takes five wastewater customers to supply just one reclaimed water customer. All in all, reclaimed water is still an inexpensive and environmentally sound choice, and it is worth looking into for your Florida home.
There are also many simple ways to conserve small amounts of potable water over time. It all adds up. Here are a couple ideas to get you started:
- If washing dishes by hand, do not let the water run continuously. Partially fill one side of the sink with your wash water and the other with rinse water. Even current water saving faucets can expel 1.5 gallons per minute.
- Assure that sprinklers (hopefully using reclaimed water) are properly positioned as to only be watering grass and plants, rather than the road, sidewalk, or the side of your home. Also water in the morning or evening when it is cooler to minimize evaporation.
- Install covers on your pool and check for leaks regularly around your pump.
- Rinse fruits and vegetables in a pot of water, rather than under a running sink. You can also reuse this water to water plants in your home.
- Shorten your showers by a minute or two and you could save 150 gallons per month.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons per month.
- Always match the water level to the size of the load when doing laundry.
- Reuse the same water glass/ bottle all day to reduce dishes to wash.
- If washing your car, try pulling the car near the lawn to water the lawn at the same time or take your vehicle to a commercial car wash that recycles their water.
- Listen for dripping faucets and running toilets. Fixing a small leak can save up to 300 gallons per month.
- When you find yourself on the market for new appliances and fixtures, always check the Energy Star label as well as the water output. There are some great products out there that may cost a few dollars more in the store, but can save you money on electric and utilities in the future.
Reclaimed water may be available at your Florida home. Call you local city water department for more information about availability.