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Fix-a-Leak Week — make a difference

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates roughly 1 trillion gallons of water are lost each year through common, easy-to-fix, household water leaks.

One trillion gallons is approximately three times the amount of water used in the entire state of Colorado.

The EPA and the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation (PAWSD) are promoting “Fix-a-Leak Week,” March 11-17, to remind people that every drop counts.

The estimated 1 trillion gallons comes from all those small leaks that we think don’t matter, like that drippy faucet in the bathroom, the toilet that runs every now and then, the showerhead that never quite turns completely off. A typical one-drip-per-second leak can add up to more than 3,000 gallons in a year. That’s enough to fill 23,000 pint glasses.

Fortunately, many of these leaks are easy and inexpensive to repair, with most of the goods available at our local hardware stores.

In some cases, perhaps an upgrade to a new, more efficient device may be in order. Showerheads and faucet aerators are good places to start. The installation of a low-flow showerhead can easily save 2,000 gallons per year without sacrificing pressure or comfort. If every household in America installed a low flow faucet aerator, it would save an estimated 60 million gallons of water annually. That’s enough water to fill Invesco Field in Denver to the floodlights. The aerators cost about $1.50 a piece and generally pay for themselves in less than 30 days.

What can you do?

• Check for leaks around your residence or business. The EPA website can help provide a checklist for common leaks and methods to fix the leaks. For more information, go to www.epa.gov/WaterSense/water_efficiency/fix_a_leak.html.

• Be conscious of the water you use.

• Turn the faucet off when brushing your teeth or shaving.

• Limit your shower time.

• Don’t overwater your lawn and landscape.

• Only run the washing machine or dishwasher with full loads.

• Replace old toilets and appliances with new water efficient models (PAWSD can help).

PAWSD offers rebates for the purchase of new, high-efficiency toilets and washing machines. Call PAWSD or visit http://pawsd.org/Conservation.html for more details.

If every American home installed more water efficient fixtures and appliances while also modifying wasteful water habits, the EPA estimates a cumulative water savings of 3 trillion gallons of water, with a cost savings of $18 billion dollars annually.

Every drop counts. You can make a difference.

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