Cousins Sumaya Buxton and Meyer Nitzkin love to help water plants in the garden. Teaching water-wise practices to the next generation is a key goal of the Cool Davis Initiative's Low Impact Challenge. Juliette Best/Courtesy photo

Local News

Turn off the faucet, help the planet

By February 23, 2011

Water is growing scarce, and every flush and shower counts. With water becoming more precious and rates rising, everybody wins by conserving, says Lynne Nittler of the Cool Davis Initiative, which invites all Davis households to join the Low Impact Challenge and see how they can help themselves and the planet.

“The challenge is aimed at getting the citizens of Davis to reduce their carbon impact by taking one or two different simple, concrete, positive steps each day for a week to reduce their carbon emissions and ease into a more sustainable, greener way of life,” Nittler says.

To use less water, try one or more of these steps:

* Limit your shower to four to five minutes, and leave the daydreaming to your drying-off time.

* Run the dishwasher only when full and use the no-heat wash, rinse and dry cycles. It’s simple, easy and costs nothing to make this change.

* Wear your clothing more than once before putting it in the laundry.

Conserving water reduces your “water print,” which is essential in the Central Valley with its long dry season and increasing water shortages, says Judy Moores, also of the Cool Davis Initiative. According to consumerenergycenter.org, as much as 50 percent of a city’s annual energy bill goes to pumping water to homes and business  and then treating the waste water produced by its use.

Conserving water reduces your carbon footprint and saves water for fish and animal habitat or farm use, Moores says. For example, cutting shower time, by half, such as from 10 minutes to five minutes, saves water and can reduce carbon emissions by more than 1,500 pounds per year for the average family, according to the UC Davis Center for Water-Energy Efficiency.

Running the dishwasher only when full and on a low heat or air-dry cycle can save 15 to 50 percent of the average dishwasher’s energy consumption, according to consumerenergycenter.org. Wearing the same clothes for a few days, in most cases, saves both water  and energy, Moores says. Plus, clothes last longer.

This is the last day of the  Cool Davis Low Impact Challenge. Now, it’s time to celebrate. Whether you tried all or none of the Low Impact Challenge steps, you’re welcome at the celebratory potluck dinner at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the United Methodist Church of Davis, 1620 Anderson Road. Dinner will be followed by discussions of the “No Impact Man” film, the Low Impact Challenge and additional programs to reduce your carbon footprint.

Bring a veggie dish, salad or dessert to share. For details and to add your update to the Cool Davis Initiative blog, visit http://www.cooldavis.org.

The mission of the Cool Davis Initiative — created by a network of residents, businesses, the city of Davis and local groups — is to inspire the community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to a changing climate and improve the quality of life for all — while having fun.

Join the fun

What: Cool Davis Initiative potluck to celebrate the Low Impact Challenge; bring a veggie dish, salad or dessert to share

When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: United Methodist Church of Davis, 1620 Anderson Road

Info: http://www.cooldavis.org

Special to The Enterprise

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