OP-ED
From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
September 12, 2006
Contact: Daniel Womack
(512) 463-0124

Water Conservation Important During These Times

by Senator Troy Fraser

One doesn't need to look far to see our state is in a drought. 2006 has been one of the driest recorded in Texas since 1957. State officials now acknowledge that more than two-thirds of the state may be under persistent drought conditions through October.

At the end of June, the state's reservoirs were at 79 percent of capacity, which is 10 percent lower than the same time last year. Around Senate District 24, lake levels vary from Lake Belton (down about 6 feet) to Lake Brownwood (71 percent full) to Lake Fort Phantom Hill (62 percent full).

Throughout this region, the population growth, booming economic development and dry climate mean water is in greater demand than ever. While we can't make it rain, we can help conserve water by following some helpful tips in our day-to-day lives.

The good news is reducing water use doesn't take much effort: if everyone reduces their water use by just 10 percent, we can make the water last. It's simple and easy to save water. For some people that means watering your lawn just one less time each month; for others it's fixing a leak or changing sprinkler heads, washing full loads of dishes or laundry or cutting back on washing your vehicle. Our quality of life depends upon our wise use of this precious and limited resource.

Follow the tips below for saving water:

Bathroom use accounts for about 75 percent of the water used inside the home. Take short showers and save the baths for special occasions--this can help your family save about half of the water it uses. Check regularly for any leaks in your toilet, faucets and water hose bibs and fix them. Replace older, larger-use toilets with the newer ultra-low flush models. (Models after 1992 use a little less than one-half the water of older versions.)

Kitchens represent about 8 percent of in-home water use. Install a low-flow faucet aerator, which can cut water use in half. When buying a new dishwasher, consider purchasing a water-saving model. (New models use up to 25 percent less water than older ones.)

Around the house, wash only full loads in the clothes washer. Washing small loads uses over twice as much water per pound of laundry. When buying a new clothes washer, consider purchasing a water-saving model. Newer models can save up to 40 percent of the water used by a conventional model, and many cities offer a discount on your energy bill when you purchase an energy efficient model.

I know we all understand that the one common thread that holds communities together is an adequate and reliable water source. In addition to municipal water supplies, our economic livelihood is very dependent on water for agriculture, livestock, tourism and the simple fact that when people turn on the faucet they expect water will flow. Lets all try and do our part to conserve.

Senator Fraser represents a 21-county region in the geographic center of the state. He is the Chairman of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. He also sits on the following standing Senate Committees: Natural Resources, State Affairs, and International Relations and Trade.

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