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Release Date: 8/6/2002
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, 415-947-4248

 August Is Water Efficiency Month

As part of the Year of Clean Water 2002, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging citizens and communities to use water wisely to help conserve drinking water sources and protect the environment.  

     Although 80 percent of the earth's surface is covered by water, only 0.6 percent (6/1000) is available to be used in the home.  The typical family of four spends $820 per year on water and sewer charges, but costs can be higher in some places because of higher rates or greater lawn watering and other outdoor uses.      

     Water-saving techniques save money, reduce the amount of pollutants entering rivers, lakes, and streams, and protect aquatic ecosystems.  Efficient water use reduces water and wastewater treatment costs and the amount of energy used to treat, pump, and heat water.  Conserving water also eases the burden on water resources during drought conditions.    

     "We can all use water more efficiently.  Conservation does not mean doing without, it means using water more wisely," said Wayne Nastri, the EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest.  "Making simple changes around the home can make a significant difference in the amount of water used, helps conserve our valuable water resources, and saves money."

    The two largest household water users are toilets and clothes washers. Installing high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and appliances can help a typical family of four reduce indoor water use by one-third, save about $95 per year on their water bill, and cut energy use by as much as 6 percent.

     Top five ways to save water in and around the home:

1.   Stop leaks: Check all water-using appliances, equipment, and other devices for leaks.
2.   Replace old toilets: Toilet flushing uses the most water inside the home. Replacing high-efficiency toilets that use 1.6 gallons or less per flush can save a family 14,000 to 25,000 gallons of water per year by making this change.

3.   Replace old clothes washers: Washers are the second largest water user in the home.  An Energy Star washer uses 35 to 50 percent less water and 50 percent less energy per load.

4.   Plant the right plants: Select plants that are appropriate for the climate and uselow-water-use and drought-resistant grass, plants, shrubs, and trees.

5.   Provide only the water plants need: Avoid over-watering by adjusting the irrigation controller at least once a month to account for weather changes.  Install a rain shutoff device, soil moisture sensor, or humidity sensor to better control irrigation.

     For more tips on using water wisely in the home, visit the following Websites:,, or  For
more information on Energy Star clothes washers, visit: