World Water Day is this Sunday, March 22. This is the time to remind ourselves how important clean water is, and to recognize how we can help save our clean water sources around the world.
Did you know that our bodies are made up of more than 50 percent water? Despite the fact that water is essential to our lives, we unfortunately tend to take it for granted. We use water every day for cooking, cleaning, agriculture and manufacturing, but we also casually run it while irrigating our lawns, washing our cars, or not repairing leaks or drips.
There are also parts of the world where access to potable water is an ongoing challenge, or in contrast, where societies are experiencing a dangerous surplus. Regardless, as we try to be more aware of our use and treat water as the valuable resource it is, it is imperative to incorporate efficient solutions in our projects going forward where possible.
As an architectural firm, KSD can help you design your next project more efficiently and with water conservation in mind. Early in the design process, we will make the best recommendations for you.
Here are a few ways the AIA recommends we can do so:
Indoor Water Efficiency
- Use low-flow fixtures. For every application, from toilets to faucets and shower heads, all major fixture manufacturers have low-flow options. We can simply specify dual-flush toilets, ultra-low flush or water less urinals, or even composting toilets. With better life-cycle costs and some additional maintenance and user training for our clients, these simple selections will make a world of difference.
Outdoor Water Use Reduction
- Reduce or eliminate irrigation on site. With the help of your site engineer or landscape architect, we can reduce landscapes that require irrigation. We can also explore the practice of rainwater harvesting, which can be used for irrigation.
Process Water Reuse
- Process Water in your Industrial or Manufacturing facility might even be used as a pressurized source of water for flushing plumbing fixtures, as well as a source of water for your facility’s cooling tower demand.
- Condensate from HVAC systems can be captured for flushing and irrigating as well
Recapture/Reuse of Greywater and/or Blackwater
- Greywater: slightly soiled water that can be reused for non-potable uses with minimum or no treatment. Common uses of greywater include irrigation and toilet flushing
- Blackwater: heavily soiled water from a toilet or commercial kitchen disposal that is dangerous to humans and must be treated before reuse. Strategies for treating blackwater on-site include engineered composting systems or ecological water treatment systems
Rainwater/Stormwater Use and Management
- Rainwater from a roof can be collected and used for irrigation
- Storm water should always be managed on-site to recharge the groundwater supply and to keep our water resources cleaner
- Incorporate above- or below-ground cisterns or infiltration basins on site to store storm water on site, and help slow storm water runoff by strategically incorporating plants or physical obstacles
How You Can Help Save Water in your Personal Life
Another way we can all make a difference is to incorporate water-saving habits into our own lives. Did you know you can save gallons of water each day, just by making some small changes at home?
Here are some tips:
- Always turn your faucets off tightly so they don’t drip.
- Promptly repair any leaks in and around your faucets. Just one leak can waste several thousand gallons of water per year.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and shaving – this saves about 80 percent of the water normally used.
- Run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher.
- If you wash dishes by hand, don’t let the water run continuously. Instead, fill the sink with hot, soapy water for washing and then rinse your dishes using the spray attachment on your faucet.
- Avoid watering on windy days, as it can push the water to the sidewalks and too much water can be lost to evaporation.
- If you have an automatic sprinkler system, be sure to use on/off timers to control how often and how long it runs. The most efficient time to run your system is in the late evenings or very early morning.
For more information about World Water Day and how you can play a role in helping protect this vital resource, visit www.worldwaterday.org.
Information in this article was referenced from the following sources: