Saving water good for pocketbook

It’s time to become water efficient. This involves reassessing our relationship with water and learning to use it more carefully.

On the most basic level, it requires a behavioral change and assigning a value to water that truly reflects its worth. The payoff? More money in your wallet.

With prices rising on almost everything, we all need to take a look at our spending habits to see how we can keep more money in our wallets. Customers can save water on a daily basis, which not only saves money, but helps stretch our precious supply of drinking water for the inevitable dry years ahead.

By changing water-usage habits, residents can reduce their water and sewer bills and help Maui’s unique environment.

It might seem difficult to conserve water, but the good news is there are a lot of ways to reduce water consumption without making major lifestyle changes.

Using less water around the house and yard is an easy way to start cutting costs. Don’t forget to check in-ground irrigation systems for leaks, as even a small leak can cost up to $35 per month. Garden hoses left running and missing sprinkler heads can lead to losses of $780 to $2,900 per month. A majority of homeowners waste water by overwatering landscapes by up to 30 percent. Simply watering landscapes properly and utilizing efficient plumbing fixtures and appliances in the home can reduce the per-capita water use by at least 25 percent.

Save water indoors by turning off the tap when brushing teeth. For a family of four, this can add up to a savings of $13 per month. Getting rid of an old 5-gallon toilet and investing in a 1.6-gallon low-flow toilet can save $12 per month. Fixing a leaking toilet can save between $77 and $240 per month, depending on the size of the leak.

Another consideration is that as people use less water, they heat less water and energy bills will also decline. The Water Resources and Planning Division has free shower heads and low-flow fixtures available at its office at One Main Plaza, Suite 102, in Wailuku. Those are also available at the county building on the fifth floor, Room 513, during normal business hours.

With the new monthly bills, it is easy to see the dollar results of the changes made in water-usage habits. In addition, monthly bills allow customers to monitor usage to discover property leaks sooner, providing for prompt repairs and reducing the magnitude of high bills caused by leaks.

Conserving water will help assure a bright and prosperous life for ourselves and for future generations, but we all need to do our part. Please use water wisely by conserving when possible and not wasting it. Water is a precious resource that none of us can afford to take for granted.

* Dave Taylor is the director of the Maui County Department of Water Supply.