Water - Waste Not Want Not

Real Estate Agent with United Real Estate SA542701000

water conservation

Is there a more precious resource than water?

We live in a desert and you'd think that people who live in a desert would take great care to conserve and protect our water supply. You'd think, but everyday, especially in the summer we see water being wasted.

There are many ways to waste water but one that really puts my teeth on edge is putting water in the street while watering a lawn. Someone turns the water on to water their lawn and forgets about it. Within a very short period of time there is water running down the street sometimes for blocks and blocks.

Yesterday, on my way home, I saw water running down a street in my neighborhood and decided to see where it came from. I hit the trip odometer and followed it back to it's source more than a quarter mile away!

The City of Phoenix Water Services Department reports that a 1/4 inch stream of water wastes just under 15,000 gallons per day. The stream that I followed was considerably larger than a 1/4 inch.

According to the EPA the average family of four can use 400 gallons of water every day, and, on average, approximately 70 percent of that water is used indoors. The water running down my neighborhood street could have supplied all the needs of a family of four for 37 days!

For every way to waste water there's a way to conserve water, what follows are 5 ways to conserve water and still maintain a healthy lawn.

1. Repair dripping hose bibs, they can waste 500+ Gallons of water a month.

2. Always water during the early morning hours, when temperatures are cooler, to minimize evaporation.

3. Water your lawn in several short sessions rather than one long one. This will allow the water to be better absorbed.

4. Don't water your lawn on windy days. After all, sidewalks and driveways don't need water.

5. Use a screwdriver as a soil probe to test soil moisture. If it goes in easily, don't water. Proper lawn watering can save thousands of gallons of water annually.

Waste not, want not. We live in one of the world's most beautiful deserts but without water we won't live here long.


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Posted by

Nancy Laswick United Real Estate Scottsdale


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  1. David Popoff 08/20/2013 10:55 PM
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Christine Farkas
Keller Williams Western Realty - Bellingham, WA
Awesome Customer Service Experience

Water in the desert is such a luxury, but being so commons here in the US it's been forgotten just how rare a fresh source usually is. I was having a conversation with a friend who at 31 knew nothing about water reclamation within his city, not even a general idea about where water ends up after its gone down the drain. He assumed all of his tap water came from a fresh source, aquifer,  and when I explained water reclamation he was mortified

Aug 21, 2013 03:06 AM #26
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Water, even in the raining Pacific NW, is still used sparingly in the summer.  Our lawns brown out for months in the heat of summer.  Many people don't water and are that vain to have a fresh green lush lawn . . . it'll get back to that after the first good soaker of the fall!  I try to conserve water. It helps when people plant accordingly.  Grass, typically, doesn't grow in the desert!  ;-)  Good post!!

Aug 21, 2013 03:43 AM #27
Rekha Vyas
Keller Williams Realty of Brevard - Melbourne, FL

Nancy, Thanks for this post reminding us about our special resource - Water. Also use the dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand, conserves water.

Aug 21, 2013 03:50 AM #28
Phil Stevenson, CRMP
PS Mortgage Lending 305-791-4874 or 888-845-6630 - Miami, FL
"Mortgage Nerd" in Miami, Florida and Texas

Nancy, great tips on a topic that needs attention. When I see wasted water I gets me angry because there's no need for it. Leaving the faucet on because you couldn't bother to turn the knob all the way is not an excuse and I see it all the time.

Aug 21, 2013 04:53 AM #29
Nancy Laswick
United Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ
Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun

Michael, so true I've lived AZ since the 70's and I can remember vividly our last 30 drought.

Tom, it's happened in Tucson on several occasions and once in Phoenix that I can remember.

Barbara, if we don't do a better job of policing our own usage we'll be right there with you.

Edward, that's the kind of behavior that puts my teeth on edge I'm afraid I would have to make a sarcastic remark. e.g. "Those can be so tricky.. let me help you with that" as I turned off the faucet.

Michael G, literally as well as figuratively.

Michael S, very true thanks for stopping by.

Fernando, we have the same type of story here in the AZ. If we don't pay attention it will go away.

Donald, yes we ignore this precious resource at our own peril.

David, outstanding tip and big Thank You for the link!

Andrew, great tip on the soaker hose and believe it or not we have "Green" builders here in the valley offering rain collection systems. My next home will be totally "Green".

Graziella, maybe one way to get the point across would be to go one day without water every year.

Aug 21, 2013 04:57 AM #30
Jay & Michelle Lieberman
Keller Williams World Class - Agoura Hills, CA
Creating Calm in the Buying and Selling Chaos

I have a very similar post going out this weekend about water usage.  I like yours much better. 

Aug 21, 2013 05:05 AM #31
Nancy Laswick
United Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ
Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun

Andrew M, so well put, thanks for stopping by.

Richie, there has been talk of that kind of rate structure for the Phoenix area. I think it makes sense. My personal opinion is that we should make water affordable for everyone but if you waste it you should pay and pay dearly. The problem becomes how you enforce it and water usage standards is one way to do it.

Margaret, I do the same thing and I learned it from my husband who was in the military and an extreme water conservationist.

Raymond, there will always be those people, oblivious to everyone but themselves.

Suzanne, I read a stat on leaving the water running while brushing your teeth.. I wish I could remember the amount of water wasted in a month it was huge.

Stephen, it seems like a very real possibility to me. There are many things we can do without but water isn't one of them.

Greg, exactly! you hit the nail on the head.

Helen & Larry, when we first bought our current home we returned the yards to a natural desert state it isn't for everyone but I love it. Plus I hate having to cut the grass. ;-)


Aug 21, 2013 05:16 AM #32
Nancy Laswick
United Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ
Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun

Kate, like many cities throughout the southwest if we had to depend upon rain water to survive we wouldn't. Most of our water comes from underground aquifers and they are a very finite resource.

Gary, they encourage but don't insist. I believe Tucson offered a water "rebate" for home owners who converted grass to desertscape but that may have been in the past.

Carie, I'm afraid I'm better at turning off the water than the lights, but if I leave a room with the lights on my hubby will turn them off... he's so "helpful" that way ;-)

Matt, my husband does the same thing and now has me doing it. Those little savings are huge. I haven't paid more than the minimum on my water bill in several years. I was talking with my neighbor and found that her bill is almost 4X times mine. It all pays off.. low flow shower heads and toilets, drip watering for plants, etc.

Rosie, both are really important, thanks for stopping by.

Christine, reclaimed water is such a valuable resource and will be one of the ways we can help sustain our growth here in the desert. Thanks for your comment.

Carla, thank you for mentioning the 300lb. gorilla in the corner... yep "lawn" grass is not native to Sonoran Desert and it takes a lot of precious water to keep it green.

Rekha, I was surprised to learn this a few year ago but yes running your dishwasher, (has to be full) uses less water than hand waahing and it does a better job. Thanks for your comment.

Phil, couldn't agree more. I'm a very easy going person but wasting water will put my teeth on edge quickly.

Jay & Michelle, Thank You for your kind words. I'll look forward to that post.

Aug 21, 2013 05:47 AM #33
David Shamansky
US Mortgages - David Shamansky - Highlands Ranch, CO
Creative, Aggressive & 560 FICO - OK, Colorado Mtg

Nothing lives without water! The sustainer/giver of life and our most precious natural resource,

Respect it!

Aug 21, 2013 06:09 AM #34
Tamra Lee Ulmer
Arizona Resource Realty - Payson, AZ
FORCE~NRBA ~ Over 1000 REO Assets SOLD!

Nancy, so true how wasteful and unthoughtful some people can be! Water is the most critically needed source we could ever have! Great Post! Also...like you said it's best to water plants or grass in early mornings and even late evening. Have a Great Day!

Aug 21, 2013 06:55 AM #35
Nancy Laswick
United Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ
Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun

David, absolutely there is no substitute. Thanks for your comment.

Tamra, since I'm an early riser all my potted plants get an early morning drink. Thanks for stopping by.

Aug 21, 2013 07:45 AM #36
Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale TahoeLauraRealEstate.com
Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260 - Tahoe City, CA
Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers

Nancy - Great advice and tips to save our precious resource - water!

Aug 21, 2013 08:37 AM #37
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Water not an issue in Northern Florida this year. 20 inches of rain in July. Maybe we can send some your way.

Aug 21, 2013 08:57 AM #38
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


Well that is a pet peeve of mine, too. While we are not in the desert here in SoCal water here is pretty precious and we are often in drought mode. The worst offense, at least observable, is the irrigation systems. You have shared some great tips for people to learn about conseving - would be great on a farming postcard.


Aug 21, 2013 10:41 AM #39
Bette Gottwald
UNITED REAL ESTATE | Central PA - Mechanicsburg, PA
"Bet"on Central PA Real Estate!

Nancy, you have provided many great tips.  We all use water without really thinking about it, but now we need to change our ways! We’re at the tipping point of needing to take a more active role in reducing the amount of water we use.

Aug 21, 2013 10:51 AM #40
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

We all need to conserve water. I hate it when I see water running down the street.. or irrigation systems running while it is pouring rain.

Aug 21, 2013 11:55 AM #41
Nancy Laswick
United Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ
Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun

Laura, you're lucky enough to live by what, IMHO, is the most beautiful body of water in the US. If we run out in AZ I'm definitely moving to Lake Tahoe. ;-)

Bill, we'll take all you can send ;-)

Jeff, I never thought of using it on a farming card... thanks Jeff!

Bet, you've used the perfect word to describe our condition, "a tipping point". Thanks for your comment.

Joan, yes, a sprinkler system running in a rain storm is another one that really ticks me off.

Aug 21, 2013 01:38 PM #42
Ralph Gorgoglione
Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes - Kihei, HI
Hawaii and California Real Estate (310) 497-9407

Water is indeed our most precious resource ... thanks for trying to remind and educate everyone about the need to conserve.

Aug 21, 2013 02:51 PM #43
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Nancy, since we have abundance of this resource, it is difficult to understand the value of it. Though with difficult conditions, one does understand the value of conserving our natural resource - for example today in NE was one of the hottest day of the season and water is very much needed every hour!

Aug 21, 2013 03:16 PM #44
Kenrick Gleckler
McBride Kelly & Associates Realty - Tampa, FL
Top-Notch Tampa Real Estate

Nancy, You're spot on about that. We're in a rainy season down here in Florida and my neighbor hadn't turned of his wateror changed his timer. I even saw them going of while it was raining once. People got to stop being so careless!

Aug 23, 2013 05:22 AM #45
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