FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Benjamin Franklin was a man of many facets. He was a statesman, scientist, inventor, printer, philosopher, musician and economist, but did you know that he was also one of America's first environmentalists?

Even in the 17th century, Franklin realized the importance of preserving our natural resources, and he was especially aware of the impact of water on the quality of life. As he said, "When the well is dry, we will know the worth of water." Indeed, water is both one of our most basic requirements and yet one of our most finite resources.

However, simple changes in bathroom, kitchen, laundry, office and other aspects of life can conserve precious water supplies for the future.

-Shorten each shower by two minutes to save up to 150 gallons of water every month.

-Turn off the water while brushing your teeth to save up to 25 gallons of water every month.

-Turn off the water while shaving to save up to 300 gallons of water every month.

-Where possible, install water efficient devices such as low flow shower heads, faucets and toilets. On average, a water efficient shower head can save 12,000 gallons of water every year while a water efficient toilet can save 24,000 gallons of water every year.

-Keep a bucket in the shower to collect excess flow as you wait for the water to heat. Then, use the water to wash your vehicle, irrigate plants, flush toilets and perform other activities that do not require potable water.

-When preparing food, wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water rather than under running water.

-Keep a container filled with water in the refrigerator. Cold water will always be on hand and you will not have to waste water while waiting for the tap to cool.

-Use excess ice cubes to provide water to potted plants in accordance with the plant's individual irrigation needs.

-Minimize the use of garbage disposals. Instead, compost food waste when possible.

-Wash only full loads of dishes and laundry to save thousands of gallons of water every year.

-If you must wash less than a full load of laundry, adjust your water level in the washing machine to correspond to the amount of laundry.

-When feasible, wash laundry on cold settings to save water and energy.

-When purchasing appliances, choose water efficient models and machines that are cooled by air rather than water.

-Turn off the water while you wash your vehicle to save up to 100 gallons of water with every wash.
V-isit a commercial car wash that recycles water.

-Use a broom instead of a hose to clean hard surfaces.

-If you have an outdoor pool, install a cover to prevent evaporation.

-Monitor your utility bills for unusually high usage. Your bill and water meter are tools that can assist you in discovering leaks.

-If you suspect that you have a leak in your toilet, food coloring can be your detective. Place a few drops of food coloring into your toilet tank. If the color seeps into the bowl without flushing, you have a leak.

-Periodically inspect both indoor and outdoor faucets, sprinklers, hoses and other water devices for leaks and report them promptly. To report leaks in Fort Bragg offices and barracks, call the Directorate of Public Works at 396-0321 to file a service order. Picerne Military Housing residents should report leaks directly to their Picerne neighborhood center. Off post, contact a licensed plumber.

July is Fort Bragg Water Awareness Month. Follow these conservation methods and share them with your friends, relatives and colleagues to save water and prevent a drain on our resources. Visit or for more information.