At the State Capitol on Thursday, The Texas Water Foundation held Texas Water Day. The Texas Water Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness of the state’s water resource issues and the importance of protection, conservation, and enhancement of water uses. The event brought together citizens, state and national water experts, and water organizations to discuss water resource issues facing Texans. The expanding drought has led to severe water shortages in the state and this Wednesday, the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 4 which creates a water infrastructure plan to address critical water issues across the state. This much needed infrastructure plan includes allocation of funds for conservation programs, which was celebrated by many of the speakers at the event.
Mary Ann Dickinson of the Alliance for Water Efficiency stressed the importance of sustainable planning and public outreach. She cited a recent study from Australia in which after a decade-long drought, 82% of respondents felt the water situation in Australia was serious, and 96% of the respondents said they have changed their daily routine to conserve water around the home. Much like Australia, Texas is currently in the longest continuous drought in recent history. This summer, Texas is expected to enter into the driest year on record but Texans haven’t yet embraced water conservation or awareness with as much enthusiasm. A large portion of current water use is inefficient or unnecessary. Most people are not aware of how much water is consumed daily in our homes. The Alliance for Water Efficiency has created an interactive website to help consumers calculate how much water the household uses.
Alliance for Water Efficiency also recommends 5 steps consumers can take today to ensure the availability of clean, fresh water tomorrow:
- Only wash full loads in the dishwasher and washing machines.
- Fixing a single leaking faucet can prevent the loss of 2,304 gallons per year from our water supply. That’s equal to almost 50 showers!
- Plant smart, water wise. Choose native, drought resistant plants when gardening to decrease our dependence on irrigation. Unlike St. Augustine grass, most native Texas sedges require almost no additional water!
- High-efficiency toilets flushed an average of six times a day will save 4,745 gallons a year. To increase efficiency of older toilets, place a weighted 2-liter bottle in the tank.
- In the office or at home, don’t forget that producing electricity requires water. To produce enough electricity to power a 60-watt light bulb can require as much as 60 liters of water!
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