The Norman Transcript


January 12, 2013

City mandates water conservation



“Due to Lake Thunderbird’s declining supply, the city believes it is appropriate to institute this action now,” said City Manager Steve Lewis. “It appears our present situation is resembling the drought of the 1950’s.”

Only three percent of tap water is used for drinking on a typical day, the city reports, but all of the water is treated to the same high quality of drinking standards. The recent adoption of a gray water ordinance by the Norman City Council will allow builders to direct water from washing machines and bathtubs into landscaping irrigation systems. Residents who want to adapt current plumbing to allow for gray water irrigation also may do so.

“We encourage our customers to adopt water-wise practices to conserve water,” Lewis said.

Residents can reduce water waste by using water efficient toilets, shower heads and other fixtures. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “A typical household uses approximately 260 gallons of water every day. We can reduce this amount and save money by using water more efficiently — detecting and fixing leaky faucets, installing high efficiency clothes washers and toilets, and watering the lawn and garden with the minimum amount of water needed.”

While simply turning off the water while brushing teeth saves as much as 3,000 gallons per year according to the EPA, preventing water waste through changing out inefficient fixtures can result in huge savings.

“Toilets are by far the main source of water use in the home, accounting for nearly 30 percent of residential indoor water consumption. Toilets also happen to be a major source of wasted water due to leaks and inefficiency,” according to the EPA. “Switching to high-efficiency toilets can save a family of four, on average, $2,000 in water bills over the lifetime of the toilets.”

Toilets manufactured before 1992 are the worst offenders.

Faucets account for more than 15 percent of indoor household water use. WaterSense labeled bathroom sink faucets and accessories can reduce a sink’s water flow by 30 percent or more without sacrificing performance according to EPA estimates, but people who can’t afford to replace faucets, can replace the aerator in older faucets with a more efficient one.

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