ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- The Earth is effectively a closed system and the total amount water it contains is, essentially, constant. From one form - water vapor, ice or water – to another, water on Earth is almost entirely recycled.According to the U.S. Geological Survey, we use about 275 billion gallons of surface water per day and about 79.3 billion gallons of groundwater per day in the United States.Although surface water is used more to supply drinking water and to irrigate crops, groundwater is vital. It not only helps keep rivers and lakes full, it also provides water for people in places where visible water is scarce, such as in desert towns of the western U.S.A dripping faucet is no big deal, right?Wrong. All that drip-drip-dripping isn’t just annoying, it can also add up to a significant loss of fresh water, which wastes precious environmental resources and costs money.There’s no standard amount of water that comes out of a leaky faucet. Even a very small drip, once every 10 to 15 seconds, can waste almost 15 gallons a month, or nearly a half a gallon a day.At home, become familiar with your water meter. Watch it over a couple of days. Have someone in the house turn on the water or flush a toilet and watch the meter. The meter should detect the water flow.If everything in the house is off and the meter continues to move, you have a leak somewhere between the meter and the house or you may have a leaking toilet, faucet or appliance.It will be difficult to detect small leaks, so watch your water bill over time to note any increase in consumption.Learn to calculate the cost. Every water authority has a different way to calculate cost and some can be complicated.One simple way to reduce water consumption in the home is to fix leaks and install low flow faucets and shower heads.A lot of work has been done at Anniston Army Depot to reduce water consumption and improve the depot’s aging water infrastructure.Projects related to water reduction include steam distribution lines, condensate return lines, the right-sizing of boilers, equipment controls, cooling tower improvements, machine cooling and the list goes on.But, one of the easy projects, and one you can do at home, is to simply reduce flow.Here are some of the results from a project ANAD completed in 2018 involving low flow faucets and shower heads.ANAD has 692 faucets and 183 showers.It was estimated ANAD would save 994,000 gallons of water annually from installing low flow faucets and shower heads.This sound like a lot, but it’s a fraction compared to the installation’s daily consumption of 1 million gallons.Over a period of 10 years, it was estimated this project would save ANAD almost 10 million gallons.The average home consumes 4,000 gallons per month, that is enough water to supply 20 homes annually.If ANAD can save that much from low flow faucets and shower heads, how much can we save from reducing consumption in other areas across the depot?In 2007, guidance was given requiring ANAD to reduce water intensity by 26 percent, using fiscal year 2007 as a baseline.ANAD has been able to meet this requirement. It has taken a number of projects and a proactive workforce, but now we are seeing a trend toward more consumption.There will be new guidance and it will ask for more reduction.We must continue to look for ways to reduce water consumption at ANAD. We must work together to reduce ANAD’s water usage.Source: water.usgs.gov