Do we practice what we preach?

Asheville is the largest purveyor of water in the Western North Carolina region. If you visit the City of Asheville official website you can find a lot of information about the city’s commitment to water conservation and some pretty helpful educational resources. My question is; are they practicing what they’re preaching? From a public perspective it would appear so. As you take a closer look you may begin to wonder about the sincerity of their effort. An example of what I’ve seen recently is indeed ironic. Within the past couple weeks I had visited the Asheville Water Maintenance Dept. While there I visited the bathroom facilities in the male locker room. As soon as I entered the room I heard the familiar sound of “a leak”. After spending 30 plus years in the plumbing trade I have what is called a plumber’s ear; I notice audible leaks that most people wouldn’t. What I found in this bathroom was antiquated to say the least.

-Every faucet had aerators that blasted out 3 gallons or more per minute
-One of the two toilets was a 3 to 5 gallon per flush water hog that had a leaking flapper therefore it was constantly running (this was the leak I heard)
-The shower-heads had not been upgraded

A toilet with a silent leak can waste as much as 7000 gallons of water per month. An audible leak can waste 25,000 gallons or more per month.

From what I have seen this is indicative of most city managed/owned buildings including schools. The city is preaching to the community about water conservation but has been very slow to upgrade there own facilities? Herein lies the problem from my perspective; It’s the “Do as I say not as I do” and the “It’s not my problem” mentality that are our biggest hurdles.

Asheville has a long history of being at the forefront of water efficiency in the region. I was first enlightened to this in a conversation with former Asheville Mayor Leni Sitnick. A couple years ago during a conversation she very proudly reminisced on some of the groundbreaking (at the time) efforts and ingenuity the City had demonstrated in the 70’s and 80’s. Recently Asheville has provided water conservation kits to its residents at no charge. Certainly on the outside Asheville seems to be “leading” the way to water efficiency.

-Have you ever seen a water leak on the street but didn’t bother to report it?
-Do you shave in the shower?
-How often do you pour the leftover pot of coffee down the drain?
-Do leave the lights on in a room when no one is there?
-Do you capture the water from the faucet or shower while you wait for the water to get hot, then use it to water plants or fill the pet bowl or flush the toilet?
-How many pairs of shoes do you own?
-Do you buy locally grown foods at your local farmers market?
-Do you buy bottled water?

It is very easy to talk about how to improve water and energy efficiency but most of us find it much more difficulty to take the action necessary to do it. Truth is the most effective means to help preserves this precious natural resource is available to everyone and best of all, it’s free. Changing our habits is the first step to creating sustainable change. If we don’t commit to changing ourselves we are not going to fix the problem.

I’d like to hear about your water conservation efforts or help you learn how to make simple changes that can make a difference.
Reply to: AquaPro


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2 thoughts on “Do we practice what we preach?

  1. Hi Thad,
    from a current, local perspective we are in good condition going into this summer and if current patterns persist we should not experience any trouble with local water resources. It's the short sightedness of the "everything is great right here right now" that presents concern for those of us who look at the bigger picture. There is a lot of concern to be had if one takes the time to do even a little research on the status of local, regional and global fresh water resources. leads to thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. It's a lot like the oil situation, it just doesn't get all that attention. The status quo in how we manage our freshwater resources is simply not sustainable and will certainly become a huge problem. Do a little research for yourself, or stay tuned; my goal is to help raise awareness of the situation.

    Thanks for taking time to comment and share your thoughts; any interest is a plus.


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