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Discussion: Water Conservation

Water sources vary from ground and surface water, and can be supplied by the City or from private wells for drinking, cleaning, sanitation, irrigation and more. In the Twin Cities metro area, approximately 20 percent of all treated drinking water is used outdoors, with a majority of this being used on lawns and landscapes. According to a University of Minnesota Extension and Metropolitan Council study, water use in the summer months is nearly three times greater than water use in the winter.

The City has an odd-even sprinkling ordinance to conserve water. Homes with even-numbered addresses may water their lawns before 11 a.m. or after 5 p.m. on even-numbered dates of the week. Homes with odd-numbered addresses may water before 11 a.m. or after 5 p.m. on odd-numbered dates.

How do you conserve water at your home, apartment or work?

11 Responses

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John Traul about 1 month ago

I turn the sprinkler off when it rains.

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Adam R about 1 month ago

Seriously? That's jokes, huh? Tell me if you at least bother to ensure your sprinkler is not watering the driveway or street, like so many you see.

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Betsy Weiner about 1 month ago

I found this website to be really helpful www.changethecourse.us You can calculate your water footprint, and learn how to conserve. Plus, you can make a pledge and companies will pay to restore water to threatened eco-systems.

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Judith Felker about 1 month ago

To conserve water, we do several things: 1.) Seldom use the dishwasher; wash dishes in the sink, as our family did when I was growing up. Occasional use is to keep it from drying out and leaking. When using the dishwasher, pre-wash dishes the shortest time is sufficient. I don't use the heater element to conserve electricity; dishes air-dry quickly when hot). 2. Use "low flow" shower head. 3. Turn shower off when shampooing hair, then on again to rinse. 4. Never stand in shower just because "it feels good" (though tempted). 5. In and out as quickly as possible. 6. Re-use water from clothes washer to clean shower and drain (requires carrying buckets of water from basement to main floor).
7. Never water lawns; mow frequently. Our yard has dandelions and Creeping Charlie, but is green and looks cared for. Several neighbors do the same. No complaints. We value conserving water over green, weed-free lawns.

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Adam R about 1 month ago

Judith, I love everything you're saying - being thoughtful about saving water is admirable and important and you give some great specific tips. But the jury is still out on the dishwasher versus hand washing issue. If you run a fairly full or full dishwasher and especially if it's energy star rated, it seems it can save some water and energy overall. It's pretty subjective and results can vary widely depending on practices (see link below as a quick starting point for investigation), but I think the main point is to be mindful of best practices when hand washing, using a dishwasher or some combo of the above.

https://www.treehugger.com/kitchen-design/built-in-dishwashers-vs-hand-washing-which-is-greener.html

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Judith Felker about 1 month ago

Thank you, Adam. I did go to "treehugger" as well as Betsy's referral of "Change the Course", and I've learned a lot. I now understand that whether running the dishwasher or washing by hand is more saving of water, depends on variables such as how you wash and rinse dishes and how often, as well as the dishwasher. I like to wash by hand, because I like the feel of the warm water. I put about 2" of water in the sink, let the dishes soak a bit, clean them with a soft plastic scrubber, turn on faucet to rinse one dish, and immediately turn off faucet. Put rinsed dish in dishwasher to drain and air-dry. Repeat this process until all dishes are clean, rinsed, and drying in dishwasher. Pots and pans are soaked first, then given the same treatment. I've seen people hand wash dishes, letting the faucet water run continuously as they do them. That seems as wasteful as letting the water run while brushing teeth. Using water to rinse the brush (or dish) is all that's needed. I think the amount of water I use to hand wash dishes may be equivalent to the amount used in one of the newer dishwashers, but of course the dishwasher uses more energy, especially when also used for drying the dishes.
Thanks again for the referral to "treehugger". Some of the practices mentioned there save more water than what I do.

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Susan Tucker about 1 month ago

We follow many of the steps outlined by Judith, except step 6. We only run our dishwasher when it is completely full.

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Judith Felker about 1 month ago

Save huge amounts of clean water by cutting way back on buying and eating meat. It takes a lot of water to grow a pound of beef. We'd be astonished to see the statistics. Go to: www.changethecourse.us

Most of the world's population can't eat meat because the price is too high, and it is. We tend to think the price is what we pay at the grocery store, but the "hidden" price is far more than that. We owe it to the children to educate ourselves (and them) to the actual cost.

My parents were former "farm kids" who grew up taking meat for granted, and I was taught we had to have meat to be healthy. Nope. We don't. In fact we're healthier without it.

It was hard for me to give it up because I liked the taste, but I weaned myself gradually, over a period of years...quit buying beef first, then pork, then chicken. Had a "meatless" day, then gradually increased the number of meatless days. Now, 30 years after I first began the process, I very seldom eat any meat (I vowed never to say "never"). In fact, I find it disgusting as I recall scenes from "Food Inc" where animals are treated as though they are without feelings, and are abused as "pieces of meat" while still living. When we pay for that "pound of flesh" we're paying people to abuse animals. What does that make us? We could pay a little extra and buy organic.

But now we're talking about clean water. Even organically raised cattle and pigs need to eat, and what they eat takes more water than we could ever imagine. Google it.

P.S. I'm now 80 (about 25 years without meat) and am very healthy.

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amy frerker about 1 month ago

We moved into a house w a sprinkler system but we never use it. We are completely fine w our lawn getting a little brown. We have low-flow fixtures, use the dishwasher (and only run it when full) for washing our dishes, and have a front-loading washing machine. We also take our kids to public pools rather than filling up a kiddie pool at home.

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amy frerker about 1 month ago

Oh, and we minimize the amount of meat we eat!

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Neil Johnson about 1 month ago

Has anyone tried longrooted grass such as Pearl's grass seed? Longrooted grass is 12"-14" deep compared to regular grass which is 3-4" deep. This makes it more drought tolerant and grows slower (need to only mow once a month!). I have used it and appears to be very resistant to drought, traffic and dog urine. We are going to not use our sprinkler system at all this year and see what survives of our old grass and if it dies convert fully over to Pearl's grass seed. I think the city of Edina should inform citizens about all the different kinds of longrooted grass because many of us still desire lawns.

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