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April 8, 2013

Time for water conservation to become a habit

NORMAN — Cleveland County Conservation District Education Director Chris Ward said learning to conserve water can become a habit that you do without thinking, just as most people now strap on a seatbelt and buckle up.

“How much water do you really need?” Ward said. “Oklahomans use on average 100 gallons of water a day. If we were each to reduce the amount by 30 percent, then we would conserve enough water to equal a body of water a quarter the size of Lake Thunderbird.”

Ward, and other water-wise experts, recently presented information on water conservation, the city’s new fertilizer ordinance and more at a Water Wise Workshop put on by the Norman Environmental Control Advisory Board.

With the state entering its third year of drought, water issues have come to the forefront, but even when the drought ends, water for Norman’s growing population will be a continuing concern.

The city is tackling that issue through the 2060 Strategic Water Supply Plan currently under way. The need for water conservation has been a key aspect highlighted in that plan.

Ward encouraged people to look at their water bills and challenge themselves to keep water use low, even when gardening this summer.

“I do it every year,” Ward said.

When replacing toilets, washing machines or dishwashers, look for those that are labeled as water wise. Ward also encouraged people to check for leaks, including faucets, showerheads, bathtubs, sinks, outdoor faucets, toilets, washing machine lines, refrigerators, dishwashers and water heaters.

“Replace faucets made prior to 1994 with low-flow models or add an aerator,” Ward said.

Ward suggested turning water off when you wash hands, brush teeth, shave or hand wash dishes.

“This is a tremendous amount of water,” Ward said. “You need to stem that tide.”

Taking short showers instead of a bath is another means of saving water and don’t use the toilet as a trash can, Ward said.

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