Drinking Water Week highlights need to protect, conserve water resources

May 5, 2009
With the conclusion of Drinking Water Week, the American Water Works Association joins water professionals across North America in highlighting the importance of protecting and conserving water resources...

DENVER, CO, May 5, 2009 -- As Drinking Water Week continues, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) joins water professionals across North America in highlighting the importance of protecting and conserving water resources.

"The prolonged droughts in recent years have called us to make smarter, more efficient use of our precious water resources," said Mike Leonard, AWWA President. "Still, as water demand grows and we prepare for the possible impacts of climate change, we must continue to grow in our appreciation of the value of water and our commitment to use it wisely.

"One of the best ways to keep our water safe and abundant is to protect it at its source," Leonard added. "During Drinking Water Week, communities across North America will highlight the importance of keeping our watersheds and waterways free from pollution."

In the United States alone, communities use approximately 40 billion gallons of tap water each day for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and other everyday uses. To meet increased demand, the water community is investing in new technologies such as water reuse and desalination of ocean and brackish water. Water utilities are also highlighting the need to invest in water infrastructure to limit leaks from water mains and encouraging water efficient devices.

Over the past three years, recurring drought has affected large swaths of the United States and many experts predict that at least 36 states will face water shortages within the next five years. In AWWA's 2008 State of the Industry Report, water industry professionals identified source water supply and protection as the top area of concern.

As Drinking Water Week continues, the American Water Works Association offers the following conservation tips:

Top 10 Conservation Tips:
• Don't leave the sink running while you brush your teeth.
• Fully load the dishwasher and clothes washer before running them.
• Consider landscapes that use native or drought-resistant plants that do not require much water.
• Repair dripping faucets and leaky toilets. Dripping faucets can waste up to 2,000 gallons of water each year in the average home. Leaky toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons per day.
• Install water-efficient appliances in your home. Look for the EPA WaterSense labels, and check with your local water system to see if they offer rebates.
• Don't over-water your lawn, and water early in the morning or at night to avoid excess evaporation.
• When the driveway or sidewalk needs cleaning, consider a broom instead of a hose. It can save up to 80 gallons of water.
• If you have a swimming pool, use a cover. You will cut the loss of water by evaporation by 90 percent.
• Help preserve the quality of the available water supply by not overusing pesticides and fertilizers, avoiding flushing medications down the toilet or sink, and disposing of hazardous materials properly.
• Place rain barrels beneath your downspouts. The rainwater can be used for outdoor plants and trees or to wash a car.

About Drinking Water Week
For more than 30 years, the American Water Works Association and its members have celebrated Drinking Water Week -- a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together to recognize the vital role water plays in our daily lives.

Established in 1881, AWWA is the oldest and largest nonprofit, scientific and educational organization dedicated to safe water in North America. AWWA has more than 60,000 members worldwide and its 4,500 utility members serve 80 percent of the U.S. population.

AWWA is the authoritative resource for knowledge, information, and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond. AWWA is the largest organization of water professionals in the world. AWWA advances public health, safety and welfare by uniting the efforts of the full spectrum of the entire water community. Through our collective strength we become better stewards of water for the greatest good of the people and the environment.