Saving water is a problem many cities face as the growing population demands outpaces the available fresh water supply. Underground water tables are being taxed to the breaking point making drinking water harder to come by. Additionally, the lowered fresh water content in the soil increases the amount of salt residue, making it harder to grow food crops. As a result, cities must come up with innovations to help save water to keep pace with population growth. Here are the top seven innovations that help cities save water.
1) Awareness Campaigns
Running water is something that many residents in larger cities take for granted. Turn a knob, and hot and cold water is at their fingertips. Stop by the grocery store on the way home and grab a five gallon bottle for the water cooler, or just have it delivered. Since clean water is everywhere, we forget that water needs to be conserved; many cities are launching advertising campaigns through envelope stuffers, billboards, and even television advertising to get people to self-monitor their water usage.
2) DIY Plumbing and Troubleshooting
Most residents know nothing of plumbing, and tend to ignore water wasters like leaky faucets, running toilets, and sewer problems. Many websites, such as boboates.com , offer online help to diagnose and repair plumbing problems before they become a plumbing emergencies, and lets readers know when to call a qualified plumber. Combined with awareness campaigns, this helpful advice can save millions of gallons of water annually.
3) Use of Sustainable Planting Methods
In areas of the planet hardest hit by scarce water supplies, farmers are using planting methods that conserve water and build nutrients back into the soil. In the Sahel region in Africa, for example, Individual holes are dug for each plant, known as zai pits. These pits are filled with organic matter which traps the limited available water supply, even in the most arid of weather.
4) Innovation in Water Irrigation
Many farmers in all parts of the world are looking to change their irrigation methods to conserve water. Using foot powered pumps that do not rely on fossil fuels to draw water up from the service and using drip irrigation to deliver water directly to plant roots reduces water evaporation and requires less water.
5) Satellite Tracking and Toilet Flushes
On the upper end of the technology spectrum, many businesses are using satellite images to predict rain producing weather patterns and cloud cover to cut down on unnecessary watering. Hotels, like the Doubletree Inn located in San Diego were the subject of a recent report by ABC News for using satellite technology to cut water usage in addition to installing dual action toilets in each of its 500 rooms. This has saved nearly one million gallons of water, according to the report.
6) WiFi Enabled Appliances and WaterSense faucets
Okay, maybe we don’t need WiFi enabled appliances to save water and electricity, but they are available. Checking out the Energy Star rating is helpful, too, as these appliances also use less water in addition to conserving energy. Faucets with low-flow technology conserve water, as do motion sensing faucets. These faucets are WaterSense rated, which is similar to the EnergyStar ratings used for appliances. The better the WaterSense rating a faucet has the more water it conserves.
7) Automated Sprinklers and Smart Phone Apps
Smart sprinklers now can sense how much water has been used, rainfall amounts, and for residential customers, can even be controlled from a smart phone. These methods can save a city millions of gallons per year.
It is clear that water conservation starts in the city, but ends in the home. It is only when cities and citizens have a clear, innovative plan to limit water usage can real conservation happen. These seven innovations, combined with financial incentives, can create real change on how much water goes to waste.