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1998 News Releases


EPA Offers Tips to Save Water During Drought

Release Date: 12/15/1998
Contact Information: Ruth Podems (215) 814-5540

PHILADELPHIA - Environmental officials in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware issued a regionwide drought warning yesterday, urging area residents to curb water use by 10 to 15 percent.  To help with this conservation effort, the U.S. Environmental Protection offers these water conservation tips.

"The average American uses a whopping 100 gallons of water per day, so making these few day-to-day sacrifices should not be a problem," said W. Michael McCabe, EPA Regional Administrator.

  • Take short showers instead of baths.  Soap up and turn on the shower only to rinse off.  A 10-minute continuous shower uses about 45 gallons of water.
  • Use dishwashers and clothes washers only when fully loaded.  A clothes washer uses about 50 gallons of water per load.
  • Turn off faucets while brushing teeth and shaving.  An open conventional faucet allows five gallons of water flow every two minutes.
  • Refrigerate a pitcher of water for drinking, instead of running the water until it gets cold.
  • Repair leaky faucets, toilets and pumps.
  • Avoid using the garbage disposal or water softener which require lots of water.
  • Postpone car washing.  A garden hose delivers 50 gallons of water in five minutes.
  • Now is a good time to install low-flow faucets, showers, and toilets, if you don’t already have them.  Conventional toilets use 3.5 to 5 gallons of water per flush, compared to low-flow toilets that use 1.6 gallons or less.  Low-flow toilets save enough water to pay for themselves in about five years.
  • Replace a 4.5-gallon-per-minute showerhead with a 2.5-gallon-per-minute head. This can save a family of four 20,000 gallons of water a year.  A three-member household can save a total of 54,000 gallons of water per year with low-flow plumbing and save $60 per year on water bills.
  • Use a toilet displacement device, such as a brick or plastic jug (with the top cut off) filled with pebbles.  Place it in the toilet tank to reduce the amount of water used per flush.  Make sure it does not interfere with the flushing mechanisms or the water flow.  More than a gallon of water can be saved per flush.
  • Finally, think before you tap.  Decide if you really need to turn on the water in the first place.  And once you do, think about how you can turn it off as soon as possible.