Murray Strives to Save WaterJan 28, 2016 10:11AM ● By Alisha Soeken
By Alisha Soeken | [email protected]
Murray - It was moved by Moses, spiritualized by poets and painted by Monet. It sustains life and takes it, occurs naturally, yet we spend billions to find it. And here in Murray, people work to preserve it.
The Murray City water department was given the 2015 WaterSense award for their efforts in teaching about water conservation, offering rebate programs for water efficient products and providing marketing for the WaterSense program.
WaterSense is a partnership program run by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. Its purpose is to protect the nations water by offering simple ways to use less of it, with products that are more efficient.
“We decided to get involved with WaterSense as part of our conservation efforts. We wanted to take a much more active approach to water conservation and felt like partnering with the EPA’s WaterSense program was important for us to be successful,” Dave Frandsen, Murray’s water distribution supervisor, said.
Murray City is unique in that it has its own utility company. Frandsen attributes the support of the mayor, city council and city employees to the achievement of this award, as well as to the future success of Murray’s water conservation efforts.
The earth’s surface is 70 percent water, yet less than one percent of that is available for human use. Murray City, as well as individuals in the community, want to preserve that priceless one percent.
“Water conservation is important to me, the ecosystem is a very well balanced thing and water is crucial to that balance. I’m a mother of five girls, and I feel it’s important to teach them that just because water might come directly into your home whenever you want it, that doesn’t mean there is an endless supply of it. We are lucky, many people in the world don’t have that luxury, so be smart about it,” Eliza Struthers said.
Change, even in slight increments, amounts to sizable differences. By installing water efficient fixtures and appliances, an average home saves $170 per year and reduces water use by 30 percent. And if all inefficient toilets in U.S. homes were converted to more efficient models, we could save more than 640 billion gallons of water per year, the equivalent to 15 days of flow over Niagara Falls.
One of the obvious benefits to Murray’s conservation efforts was the water saved due to more efficient fixtures and appliances.
“I feel our efforts have gone much further than efficient toilets,” Frandsen said.
Less obvious was their work in the community. Murray City hosted a traveling booth at local farmers markets and youth sporting events to educate the community about how to be more water efficient. They also visited schools and taught kids about water efficient practices, such as short shower times and turning off running water while brushing teeth.
Murray City also partnered with local plumbers and plumbing suppliers during “Fix a Leak Week” to fix leaks using the city’s rebate program and offering discounts to their customers to do so.
Murray is proud of their efforts in conservation and continues to have goals for its future.
“We are looking to reduce per capita water consumption by five percent over the next 10 years. Continued efforts will be made with the WaterSense rebate program, and we are hoping to construct a water conservation garden to help educate and promote water wise landscaping,” Frandsen said.
All these efforts will help to ensure that years from now artists will still paint and poets will still write about our most precious resource. In the words of public service director Doug Hill: “Every gallon of water saved is an investment in our future.”