Small steps can reduce water intake


HARRINA HWANG | Evergreen photo illustration

The Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee monitors the aquifer that holds the Palouses’ main source of water, and raises awareness of water consumption.

NINA WILLIS, Evergreen reporter

Saving water is more than just taking a five-minute shower.

In the home, repairing leaking pipes and fixtures such as faucets or toilets can save at least hundreds of gallons of water, according to the State of Washington Department of Ecology website. A leaking toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day, the equivalent of flushing your toilet 50 times.

In addition, choosing water efficiency devices such as showerheads, washing machines and toilets can also help conserve water, according to the website.

It’s also important to remember daily habits that save water, such as turning off the faucet when washing hands or brushing teeth. Trying to reduce shower times or taking a shower instead of a bath helps too.

Korey Woodley, executive manager of the Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee, said in the local area, community members can water their lawns early in the morning instead of in the afternoon, to avoid excessive water evaporation, especially in summertime. People use a lot of water that way, she said.

The Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee formed in 1967 due to the decreasing groundwater levels in the Palouse area, she said. The Palouse groundwater basin serves the whole Pullman-Moscow region, in addition to WSU and the University of Idaho.

An aquifer is an underground layer of rock that acts like a filter, Woodley said. When they say the levels are running low, it means that people are draining the water faster than it can filter back into the groundwater supply.

The committee has looked for alternatives and drafted an analysis report, Woodley said. The full analysis can be found on the committee’s website.

In order to encourage more community involvement, the Palouse Basin Water Summit, titled “Imagine a Day Without Water,” will take place at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Event Center. Admission is free and open to everyone.