Here’s a fun fact: Huge swaths of the United States are still suffering from drought or abnormally dry weather, despite frequent storms. And according to the U.S. government, water resource managers in 36 states have expected to face shortages.
Think saving water is important? Or will become more and more important? You can bet on it.
WaterSense, operated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says we can all use 30 percent less water by having water-efficient fixtures and appliances.
Water-saving toilets, shower heads and bathroom faucets can be recognized by a WaterSense label, meaning the fixtures meet water efficiency and environmentally responsible guidelines. WaterSense is the water-saving version of Energy Star.
You can also find water-saving systems in new high-tech appliances, rainwater collection systems, graywater collectors, smart irrigation systems and hot water recirculators, to name a few.
Chic Fixtures that Save
Want a modern look with water savings? Moen’s new Align bath collection features chic, cylindrical shapes and a low profile for small spaces, in an array of lavatory faucets including a single-handle, single-hole faucet as well as one-piece vessel and two-handle widespread platforms.
Align faucets are certified to meet WaterSense to allow water to flow at 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm), versus traditional aerators that flow at 2.2 gpm. Matching Roman tub faucets are available with or without a hand shower, and Posi-Temp shower heads include both standard (2.5 gpm) and Eco-Performance (1.75 gpm) options.
Each single-handle faucet features Moen’s 1255 Duralast cartridge, a state-of-the-art ceramic-disc cartridge that provides a consistently smooth handle feel for the life of the faucet. Align fixtures are available in chrome and brushed nickel finishes
Water Show Dishwasher
I never thought I’d say this about a dishwasher, but we saw this beauty in Las Vegas, and it put on quite a show. Samsung’s WaterWall dishwashing technology literally sprays a wall of water from the front to the back, unlike rotary washers. Now you might think that uses more water, but Samsung says don't get all wet. You can target certain areas. The Controllable Intensive Washing function (Zone Booster) offers two cleaning zones. Heavily soiled pots and pans get a high pressure and high temperature wash, while plates and glasses get a normal wash with a lighter water stream. There’s also a useful utensil rack. I hope someone comes up with a clear smart-glass dishwasher so you can watch the waterworks. It’s no Bellagio, but …
Prices range from $1,200 to the $1,600 Chef Collection DW80H9970 dishwasher, due this year. It will be Energy Star-rated to save on energy and water.
Rainwater collection? I’m there. Things that spin around and catch my eye at big trade shows? Where’s my camera? Rainwater Management Solution’s Vortex filter spins out debris so it won't clog your rainwater collection system or pollute that precious agua for your garden or lawn. The filter is typically installed in the underground piping system to direct debris to the storm water system and divert up to 95 percent of clean rainwater to an underground storage tank. (An above ground application is also possible.) The housing is made of polypropylene and the filter insert is stainless steel. Filter mesh size is 0.28 mm (280 microns). Take a good look at it here, because once it’s working above or underground, you won’t be able to see it in action.
We love anything that saves water while giving us a good drenching. Companies are coming up with all kinds of ways to serve our thirst for water-saving shower deluges. Some pump air into the water to create bigger droplets. Others claim biomimicry in carefully calibrated circular and spiral nozzle arrays. We kind of like Delta’s H2Okinetic technology that meets low-flow WaterSense requirements of 1.5 to 2 gallons per minute (gpm) and that sculpts the water into a wave pattern. Watch the video.
Delta has options that allow users to toggle between spray settings for a customized shower experience on 3- and 5-function H2Okinetic Raincan shower heads. The technology is also available on hand showers, body jets and sprays, as well as a variety of shower heads within existing bathroom collections such as the dual-stream In2ition (begins at $245).
Solar Sensing Irrigation
If you visit new homes in California and other areas where water conservation is vital, you may see one of these funny little doodads sticking out from the houses. It’s part of a Hunter smart irrigation system. The Solar Sync sensor changes irrigation schedules based on the local weather to save unnecessary watering. It calculates evapotranspiration (ET), measures sunlight intensity and temperature, and then adjusts irrigation system’s run times based on that data. The Solar Sync ET sensor also integrates Hunter’s Rain-Clik and Freeze-Clik sensors for quick response in shutting down your irrigation system during rain and/or freezing conditions. The Solar Sync is compatible with most Hunter controllers.
Editor’s note: We didn’t get to hot water recirculation systems that can also save on normally wasted water, but we will soon. We’ll be reporting on water-saving strategies frequently.