Tracking Water Usage

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1a.  In Upper Macungie Township, PA, our water is delivered by Lehigh County Authority.  Eighteen wells service 17,128 residents in seven townships throughout central and western Lehigh County.  6.7 million gallons of groundwater are delivered per day, after treatment at the plant with chlorine to kill bacteria.  Our townhouse is connected to the public water lines, and delivered into the house where it is split to the gas hot water heater, or directly to faucets, toilets, and showers.  After use, our water and sewage are pumped out of the house in a shared line, where it is returned to the plant to go through a seven stage cleaning and treatment process.

 

1b.  Household Tracking (Sunday, September 18): TOTAL 93.4 gallons

                2 people brushing teeth, one turns water off, one does not - 2 gallons

                Hand wash pet dishes - 5 minutes of water - 2.5 gallons

                Fill pets' water bowls - 1 gallon

                Flush toilet 8 times - 24 gallons

                (2) 10 minute showers - 50 gallons

                Run dishwasher - 5.9 gallons according to owner's manual

                (4) 2 minutes to wash hands - 8 gallons

               

1c. Conservation Day (Monday, September 19):  TOTAL 55.5 gallons

                2 people brushing teeth, one turns water off, one does not - 2 gallons

                Hand wash pet dishes - 5 minutes of water - 2.5 gallons

                Fill pets' water bowls - 1 gallon

                Flush toilet 5 times - 15 gallons

    (1)    8 minute shower - 20 gallons

    Run washing machine - 10 gallons

    (5)    2 minutes to wash hands - 5 gallons

 

It was nearly impossible to even attempt to keep our household water usage to 2 gallons.  We have a dog, cat and two birds in our home, that require fresh water every day.  Thank goodness I didn't have to include my horse, who is boarded at another facility.  He averages 4 or 5 buckets of water per day, for a total of about 20 - 25 gallons in drinking water.  Seeing that our toilets likely use a minimum of 2.5 gallons to flush, we would have gone over the total limit with just one flush.  Additionally, since my fiancĂ© and I both have to work, showers are a requirement, and trying to conserve flushing and water for hand washing throughout the day is a bit more difficult to do.

 

I did however learn about our water supply source, how it is treated before and after use, as well as a lesson in home plumbing from my fiancĂ©!  We took a very hard look at our current water usage and discussed ways to conserve.  We came up with ideas such as turning off the faucets while brushing teeth and soaping hands, switching to bar soap to shorten shower times and reduce water pollution, being more aware of laundry and dish washing to be sure we are doing it only when needed, and dumping water (such as pet bowls) on the landscaping to be absorbed by the plants rather than dumping it down the drain.  Since we living in a townhouse development, ideas such as recycling gray water could not be implemented due to community and township rules.  I was very happy to learn though that the local car wash were we wash our cars DOES recycle its water, so we will not be washing our cars at home anymore.

 

I am also much more aware of any pollution that can potentially run off into the water supply in our town now.  I noticed an oil spot in our driveway from my fiance's gas guzzling truck and asked if there is a way to clean this up without letting any of it get into the ground (apparently there's really not a good way to avoid this!)  I also had a lot of concern today when I stopped at home and found our community landscapers spraying the entire development with weed killer.  The smell and fumes were extremely powerful, and I wonder what kind of serious damage this will do to the ground water.

 

 

GEO 030 - Module 4 Activity

 

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