Living with Nature: Using Water Wisely
Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation | Aug 26, 2019
As the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation embraces more sustainable, innovative practices in our preservation work and beyond, we’re sharing some of these methods, and providing some tips on how you can incorporate these practices into your own home and life. Here, we discuss water usage and conservation, and share some tips on how you can use water wisely at home and in your everyday life.
Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, is located in the Arizona desert, where water is sparse and there is very little precipitation. In this edition of Living with Nature: Sustainable Practices from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, we’re focusing on using water wisely in everything from home appliances, to outdoor landscaping.
Ever since Taliesin West was established in 1938, all of the site’s water has come from an on-site well that Wright had dug 486 feet below the ground. This well is still running today and continues to fulfill all of the water needs at Taliesin West.
In an effort to be good stewards of this precious resource, we invited our friends from Scottsdale Water to come out and perform an outdoor water efficiency check on the property. Through this process we were able to identify several leaks that were present in our outdoor landscaping.
By accessing Scottsdale Water’s free educational tools, we then created a plan of action to repair these leaks and ensure all systems are running more efficiently. Scottsdale isn’t the only city to offer water conservation resources, these kinds of resources are offered in cities nationwide.
Cities around the Valley and the country often have water conservation professionals on staff, and residents should check with their local cities for specific resources.
Identifying leaks in your home and on your property is one of the best places to start when moving toward water efficiency. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average household loses more than 10,000 gallons of water each year through leaks – that’s the same amount of water needed to wash 280 loads of laundry, take 600 showers, or meet the average family’s water needs for a month! Some leaks are slow and hard to detect, but even the smallest leaks add up. The most common leaks are typically found in irrigation systems.
“Residents can perform a property-wide leak test by checking their water meter when irrigation is shut off and no one is using indoor water,” Jill Brumand, Water Conservation Specialist at the City of Scottsdale said. “If water is still registering on their meter, they’ll know they have a leak.”
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that water is a limited, shared resource, and conservation efforts will make an even bigger difference if everyone tries to use less and use it wisely.
“It’s important to realize that water is vital to life and hygiene, to society and recreation, to industry and pleasant outdoor spaces, to food production and tourism,” Brumand said. “Arizona cities use a variety of sources including surface water, ground water, and reclaimed water. But these resources can be shared across state and even country borders, so decisions and use in one area can have a profound impact on other areas. Conservation professionals have worked hard to help reduce water use and support a thriving desert environment, but we need everyone’s help to conserve it!”
Here are some more great tips on how you can implement these ideas into your home and life:
- Take a walk around your property to observe your water usage. Look for wet spots or leaks both indoors and outdoors to see how you can be a better steward of your water.
- Choose water-efficient, drought-resistant plants in your landscaping. Opt for low-water use plants and trees to reduce your water use outdoors.
- Fix that leaky sink! A leak could waste up to 100 gallons of water a year.
- Educate yourself. Do some research about what resources are available in your area. Many cities offer water audits or free resources about water conservation and usage.
- Opt for more water-efficient products around your home. When replacing old toilets or shower heads, opt for WaterSense labeled products.
- Be conscious of how much water you use. Take shorter showers, turn the sink off when you brush your teeth, and be sure to always run full loads of dishes and laundry.
Check back next month to learn more about the sustainable practices we’re using at Taliesin and Taliesin West, and for even more tips on how you can help contribute to a more sustainable, beautiful world.
This content was made in partnership with Scottsdale Water. Visit ScottsdaleAZ.gov/Water to find more useful water tips and to access helpful resources about water conservation.
Living with Nature: Sustainable Practices from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation is a year-long campaign where we’ll be sharing sustainable practices and how they play an important part in conservation for National Historic Landmark sites, like Taliesin West in Arizona and Taliesin in Wisconsin. Along the way we’ll be sharing helpful tips on how you can incorporate these practices into your own life, to help you live a more green life.