Does it re­ally mat­ter?


Sav­ing one drop of wa­ter, turn­ing off one light bulb— does it re­al­ly­mat­ter? Con­sump­tion is easy, con­serv­ing is much harder. We all have hec­tic lives. Do small ac­tions have any im­pact? One drop of wa­ter a sec­ond does not seem­like­much. But this seem­ingly lit­tle thing adds up. Per the USGSWater Science School, one drop a sec­ond adds up to 5 gal­lons a day, 2,082 gal­lons a year, over 20,000 gal­lons a decade. This is a mod­est-sized swim­ming pool of wa­ter lit­er­ally go­ing down the drain.

One stan­dard in­can­des­cent 60-watt light bulb left on overnight con­sumes .48 kWh of elec­tric­ity or about a half pound of coal. Per theUnion of Con­cerned Sci­en­tists, the pro­duc­tion of 1kWh con­sumes 1/3 to 2/3 gal­lon of wa­ter. Over a year this equates to 175 kWh, about 87 pounds of coal and con­sumes some­where be­tween 50 - 110 gal­lons of wa­ter. Over a decade this equates to over 1,750 kWh, or about 870 pounds of coal and con­sumes some­where be­tween 500–1,000 gal­lons of wa­ter depend­ing on how the elec­tric­ity is gen­er­ated (coal, nu­clear, gas).

The above does not take into con­sid­er­a­tion the pol­lu­tion cre­ated by the gen­er­a­tion of this power which will last for years, long after you have turned the light bulb off. These small in­ac­tions con­sume many pre­cious re­sources.

Over the hol­i­days we should take time to re­flect on our ac­tions. It is time to cel­e­brate life and loved ones. It is also an ap­pro­pri­ate time to pon­der what we want our im­pact and legacy to be on our com­mu­nity and in the world. We can all change to have a lit­tle less neg­a­tive im­pact. We can con­sume a bit less, we can con­serve a bit more, and we can help oth­ers save. Sav­ing wa­ter and en­ergy is a gift that re­wards ev­ery­one.

Giv­ing gifts that can save wa­ter, en­ergy, and save on util­ity bills may be­more ap­pre­ci­ated than ever this hol­i­day sea­son. Treat your­self, a fam­ily mem­ber, a friend or a lo­cal char­ity with one of the below.

• Give a pack of LED light bulbs. These save tremen­dous amounts of en­ergy and wa­ter.

• Give a hi-ef­fi­ciency shower head. These pay for them­selves in just a few years.

• Do­nate to a lo­cal char­ity like the Santa FeWater­shed As­so­ci­a­tion at santafe­wa­ter­

• If you live in the City of Santa Fe, down­load Eye-On-Wa­ter. It is a free smart­phone app to mon­i­tor your wa­ter us­age. Find out more at - http://save­wa­ter­­ter

• Be­come smarter about your en­ergy use, at­tend an on­line class at the Santa Fe Com­mu­nity Col­lege – House as a Sys­tem (ENEF 114)

Lit­tle acts do add up. This hol­i­day sea­son help your­self and some­one else re- duce their wa­ter and/or en­ergy foot­print. These seem­ingly small sav­ings add up over time to have very large im­pacts.

Doug Pushard, founder of the web­site www.Har­, has de­signed and in­stalled res­i­den­tial rain­wa­ter sys­tems for over a decade. He is a mem­ber of the Santa FeWater Con­ser­va­tion Com­mit­tee, a life­time mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Rain­wa­ter Catch­ment Sys­tems As­so­ci­a­tion, and an EPAWaterSense Part­ner. He can be reached at doug@Har­

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