Water Conservation for Religious Institutions
There are 6 steps religious institutions can take to protect water resources, including education and activities with local water bodies, elimination of bottled water, water-friendly landscape practices, faucet flow restrictors, waterless urinals, and toilet tank banks or replacing old toilets.
8 Tips for Water Conservation in Religious Institutions
1. Get moving!
Organize activities and education around local bodies of water, such as a cleanup, water testing, adopting your watershed or setting aside a time for prayer, reflection or a retreat. Not only will these activities help to protect oft-neglected natural areas, but they will also provide your members with an emotional and tangible connection to water conservation.
2. Install faucet flow restrictors.
Faucet flow restrictors (also called aerators) reduce the flow of water from a faucet by at least 20% while maintaining the same water pressure. These restrictors are inexpensive, can be bought at nearly any home improvement store, and are extremely easy to install.
3. Replace your old toilet, or install a toilet tank bank.
If your institution was built before 1992 and the toilet has never been replaced, then it is very likely that you do not have a water efficient toilet. You can check the date stamp inside the toilet by lifting the lid and looking at the back of the toilet at the imprint of the make, model and date of manufacture.
Consider replacing toilets with models that achieve 1.3 gallons per flush or less, and are EPA Water Sense certified. If replacing your toilet is infeasible, you can easily install a toilet tank bank, available through Niagara Conservation. Like the common brick method, this simple gadget allows you to use less water per flush immediately through water displacement.
4. Eliminate bottled water.
From pumping the water, to creating the plastic bottle, and shipping the bottle to your favorite store, bottled water leaves a big carbon footprint in its wake. GreenFaith recommends eliminating bottled water whenever possible, and replacing it with filtered tap water.
5. Install waterless urinals.
If one of the world’s most famous religious buildings – the Taj Mahal – has been retrofitted with waterless urinals, your institution can be too! If your congregation is undertaking a building project or remodeling a bathroom, choose waterless urinals to save significant water and money in the long-term.
6. Make your landscape water-friendly.
Lawns and exotic ornamental plants are often the standard landscape at religious institutions, and contribute significantly to an institution's water footprint. Native plants, or those plants that thrive well in your climate and are historically native to your region, can keep your landscape beautiful without the need for additional water resources. In drier climates, xeriscaping is the native plant solution. See the grounds maintenance section of GreenFaith's website for additional resources on these topics.
7. Get kids involved
Kids are naturally drawn to water, and are great at nudging their parents to do the right thing. Visit this website which houses plenty of tips and activities geared towards children.
8. Do the GreenFaith Water Shield!
The GreenFaith Water Shield is a great opportunity to get your members involved in water conservation in a hands-on way, and receive recognition for your work. There is no need to reinvent the wheel--GreenFaith provides you everything you need, from guidelines of how to conserve water, to resources to make those steps easy to take. I'ts a great plug-and-play program on water.