Water is one of our most precious resources. It is vital to our lives and to our livelihoods – but the supply is not endless. We need to continue protecting it by reducing water use and preventing pollution.
Water can be wasted and polluted in many different ways, both through industrial uses and at home. How many of us stop to consider the old paint we wash down the drain? Or the household chemicals we use that end up in sewers?
Everyone who discharges wastewater into the environment is responsible for its quality whether it’s from a private home or a large municipal or industrial treatment center. By using our water supplies wisely, we can save on water and wastewater service costs and help the environment.
Everyone has a role to play in ensuring that Morden’s waters are drinkable, swimmable and fishable. Governments can set standards and monitor quality, but it’s up to all of us to preserve and protect this invaluable resource for generations to come.
The following are some useful links to other websites on Water Conservation. Please note that these links will take you out of the Morden website.
- Environment Canada – Water Efficiency / Conservation
- Province of Manitoba – Water Stewardship
- Province of Manitoba – Manitoba Conservation: Water Efficiency Program
- Province of Manitoba – Water Protection Act
Water Leak Detection
Water leak detection is one of the easiest ways to reduce water waste. Slow drips of water can add up quickly. Even small leaks can add up to thousands of gallons of water waste annually. If the drip is on the hot water side, you are also paying for wasted energy. By not repairing leaks, you not only waste water and energy, but you may also be subjecting your home and personal belongings to severe water damage. Identifying and repairing water leaks is a great way to reduce the amount of water that is wasted in your home. And remember, repairing water leaks will always save you money.
Water Meter Leak Detection
Often customers are not aware they can check for water leaks using the water meter at their home or business. All newer water meters have a triangle leak detection hand on the meter face.
How to use the leak detection hand on the water meter:
- Turn off all water fixtures in your house, including humidifiers, air conditioners, and ice makers.
- Locate the water meter.
- Watch the low-flow indicator on your water meter. If the red triangle is moving counter clockwise, you have a leak.
These pictures illustrate how much water is wasted from dripping or running taps. If you have leaks, have them repaired at once. Your water meter measures all water used, even steady drips, and you will be charged for the amount of water you use.
A 1mm stream* wastes 100 liters of water in 24 hours, or 3,000 liters in one month. That’s 750 gallons and $5.55/month.
* Approximate width of the tip of a ball point pen
1.5mm stream wastes 400 liters in 24 hours, or 12,000 liters in one month. That’s 3,000 gallons and $22.20/month
a 3mm stream wastes 1,600 liters in 24 hours, or 48,000 liters in one month. That’s 12,000 gallons and $88.80/month
Toilet Leak Detection
Toilet leaks can range from small to large, constant to random. Many are silent. Leaks in a toilet can double or even triple your overall water consumption in a single month by washing away thousands of liters of water. The good news is, if you can change a light bulb you can probably fix your toilet.
If you hear the sound of running water or a faint hissing or trickling, your toilet may not be working properly and may need repairs. But many times water flows through the tank silently, which is why toilet leaks are often overlooked.
Dye tablets to check your toilet for leaks are available at the Civic Centre. Checking your toilet several times a year for leaks, and making repairs quickly means savings on water usage and wastewater treatment.
- Wait 5-10 minutes after the last flush cycle to perform the leak test
- Remove the cover. Gently drop one leak detective tablet into tank. DO NOT FLUSH.
- Wait 15-20 minutes.
- If blue dye color appears in bowl, you have a leak. (Don’t worry, it won’t stain the bowl)
- The flapper valve and valve seat (A) have deteriorated or corroded.
- The flushing arm and lift chain (B) are not working properly.
- The water level in the tank is too high and spills into the overflow tube (C).
- The float rod, ballcock and/or float ball (D) are corroded.
Replacement parts are available at hardware and plumbing supply stores or consult your local plumbing professional.
Pipe Leak Detection
Identifying a leaking pipe can get a little tricky because they are mostly concealed in walls or are under the foundation of your home or office. When looking for pipe leaks, you have to look for the symptoms of a leak – such as discolored drywall, ceiling tiles, or carpet. The good news is a pipe leak is relatively rare and is usually at a joint, which makes repairing it a little easier. When in doubt, call a professional plumber to check things out.
Irrigation or Sprinkler System Leak Detection
Spotting leaks in irrigation or sprinkling systems is similar to troubleshooting internal plumbing – you have to look for signs of a leak. When you have a system installed, it’s a good idea to retain a copy of the system’s layout. This will provide you with a map so you can “walk the system” to identify leaks. Any wet spots or pooling of water should be investigated.
In general, systems should be checked weekly to ensure they are operating properly and your plants are getting the water they need. Also, inspect drip emitters and sprinkler-heads to ensure they are intact. One of the best tools in determining if your system is operating without leaks is to get in the habit of reviewing your water bill. If you see a jump in the gallons used, and there are no other obvious reasons, you may have a system leak.
Monitoring Water Use
Most of us already subconsciously monitor our water usage. After all, you know something is wrong when you get a higher than usual bill, right? The key is to determine if it is a seasonal change or a leak. We also need to be aware that some leaks can “sneak up” on us, starting slowly, with no signs, and before you know it you have the biggest trees in the neighborhood and your water bill is $700 a month!
It’s always a good practice to not only look at what you pay for water, but to monitor how much water you use. You should compare your current water use to past use. If no past use information is available (new home, new to you, rental, etc.) you could compare how much water you use to your neighbors, keeping in mind that your neighbors may have different water needs. OR – you could write down your meter reading at a set time of the day. Write another reading the same time the next day. The difference is your water consumption for that 24-hour period.
Did You Know?
- A leak of one drop per second wastes 10,000 liters of water per year.
- Fixing a toilet that silently leaks can save you up to 500 gallons of water per day.
- Installing high efficiency plumbing fixtures and appliances can help a typical family of four reduce indoor water use by one-third.
- The average family of four in Canada consumes 35 cubic Meters (7,900 Gallons) of water per month. Use your meter to find out how much you consume. Knowing how to read your meter allows you to monitor your water consumption and detect leaks in your plumbing.
- A new Ultra Low Flow toilet uses six liters per flush while the older flush toilets use 18 liters.
- Replace your 20 liter per minute showerhead with a low flow nine and a half liter per minute showerhead and you will use less than half the water.
- Heating water accounts for 19 per cent of home energy use.
- Homes and farms that institute broad water efficiency programs have been able to reduce overall water use by up to 20 percent, not only conserving water supplies and reducing water pollution but also cutting costs for new water treatment facilities.
Water Conservation: What Can You Do?
The City of Morden encourages the conservation of water by all customers. Reducing your water usage will help to lower your bill and is beneficial to the environment. Here are some ways that you can conserve water;
In The Bathroom
- Do not use the toilet as a wastebasket. Each time you flush, up to seven gallons are used.
- Do not let the faucet run while shaving or brushing teeth.
- Place an item such as a plastic bottle filled with sand inside your toilet tank. This displaces water and can save gallons every day.
- Insulate pipes to get hot water faster, so less water is wasted.
- Install water saving showerheads or flow restrictions. Install faucet aerators, which will reduce water by mixing water and air.
- Take short showers instead of tub baths.
- Before pouring water down the drain, consider other uses for it, such as watering a plant or garden.
- Water your lawn only when needed. If the grass springs back up after stepping on it, it does not need watering. Water during the cool parts of the day. Deep-soak your lawn so that the water soaks down to the roots. A light sprinkling will only evaporate and cause shallow root systems, which will require more and more watering. (Avoid mist-head sprinklers as they allow too much water to evaporate.)
- Keep grass 1 1/2″ to 2″ long to develop deeper roots, which will require less watering.
- Sweep driveways, patios and walks with a broom rather than hosing them down.
- Wash the car from a bucket, or consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water.
- When using a hose, control the flow with an automatic shutoff nozzle.
- Avoid purchasing water toys that require a constant stream of water.
- Always check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings.
- Buckets placed under down spouts can collect rainwater for plants or cleaning projects.
- Use water from dehumidifiers for plants.
- Use a swimming pool cover to reduce evaporation by 90%. Approximately 1000 gallons of water evaporates from an uncovered pool each month.