Scary Water Facts

By Catherine Elvert, City of Palo Alto Utilities, Water Programs


This is the time of the year when children experience things going bump in the night. They see black cats cross their path and they imagine dark shadows on walls. Yes, it's fun to get scared at imaginary things when you are a child. But what scares adults? Well, nothing is as scary to adults as reality, especially when that reality is accompanied with a dollar sign.

Many adults are shocked to discover how quickly water bills can escalate out of control when there is a leak at their home. Indoors, one of the more common leaks is found in a running or leaking toilet, often caused by a corroded toilet flapper, which is easily replaceable. Another usual suspect is a dripping faucet or showerhead. Outdoors, a leaky irrigation system will drain your wallet. Sprinkler systems receive a lot of wear and tear. A worn irrigation pipe or broken sprinkler head can waste hundreds of gallons of water each day, yet these leaks often go unnoticed if they occur underground or are obscured by plants or yard decorations. Now, that is scary! BOO!

Many people become victim to slow or undetected leaks. While the leak may seem harmless, the financial burden can be a beast! Not only will wasted water harm your bank account, it can also cause significant disrepair to your home. Even small leaks can lead to structural damage, safety liabilities and personal health problems from mold and mildew.

It pays to regularly inspect your irrigation system and indoor water fixtures for "phantom" use. You might be surprised to learn how much water can be wasted from these common culprits:

  • Outdoor irrigation leaks alone can result in a water bill that is 56 times higher than what you would normally pay!
  • A leaky irrigation system can potentially waste up to 15,000 gallons of water each month.
  • A running toilet can easily waste over 40,000 gallons of water per month.
  • An undetected "silent" toilet leak can waste up to 500 gallons of water per day! A "noisy" leak can waste much, much more.
  • A single leaking faucet can waste up to 350 gallons of water each month. A continuous faucet leak can waste hundreds of thousands of gallons each year!
  • An extra two minutes in the shower each day can consume as much water as is necessary to wash close to 100 loads of laundry!

if you would like to contribute by writing an article related to water conservation please contact Edson.

To view the latest water conservation video produced for WaterWise Consulting click Rock Band.

October's Plant Matilija Poppy - Romneya coulteri

Matilija Poppy is a perennial/shrub. It spreads by rhizomes. It produces large papier-mache like flowers that are white with a yellow center. Matilija Poppy prefers sun and good drainage. It can be difficult to establish in heavy soils but will tolerate it. This plant grows big and looks best in an open spacious area. It commonly goes deciduous in the summer to late fall, and then comes back with a force. Recommend to prune to the ground before winter.



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