MWRA 2011-2012 Writing Contest Winners

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David Li
Grade 6, McCall Middle School, Winchester
Megan Capobianco, Teacher


Water is one of the most important resources in our society today. Like air, water is the most abundant and natural resource. The clean drinking water we use at home is limitless; however, there is not an infinite amount of water in the world. This is why we must work together to reduce water usage. Here in Massachusetts, we use about 200 million gallons of water per day. I hope that everyone can work together to reduce water usage so that this estimated amount can decrease.

Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA) does not sell water to customers directly. Instead, they sell water to towns and cities wholesale (large amounts.) Then, the town or city's water department distributes the water to its residents and business users (e.g., store owners.) MWRA and the city water department are suppliers and the residential and business users are the consumers. In order to save water, both suppliers and consumers have to work together to reduce water usage and prevent wasting it.

There are two ways that save water. One is water saving technologies. When a low flow toilet or low flow shower head is installed, one is using water saving technologies. Conventional toilets use 3.5 gallons to 5 gallons of water per flush while a low flow toilet uses only 1.6 gallons per flush. A standard shower head uses 4.5 gallons per minute; a low flow shower head only uses 2.5 gallons per minute. As low flow products reduce water usage, they also reduce the amount of wastewater released into the environment. Considering the average American uses 9,000 gallons of water to flush down 230 gallons of waste down the toilet per year, low flow is very effective for residents.

A second way to conserve water is related to people's behavior. Behavioral practices involve changing water usage habits to make water more efficient. When one waters his/her lawn early in the morning or late in the afternoon, he/she is reducing water usage because the sun is not as bright and does not cause the water to evaporate as quickly. This is a habit that one could use to reduce water. If one were washing his/her car, as much as 150 gallons of water could be saved by turning off the water between rinses. One could reduce even more water usage by washing his/her car on the lawn to prevent runoff.In addition, to make sure all that all leaks are identified and repaired, towns who purchase water from MWRA are required to complete a leak detection survey for the entire town at least once every two years. This is another example of conserving water through changing people's habits.

MWRA provides 200 million gallons of water to 2.2 million people. Based on water usage study, residential customers account for three fourths of Massachusetts's water usage. If everyone could just use one gallon less per day, then over 2 million gallons of water could be saved that day. We must recognize the importance of conserving water as we consider replacing old technologies with new water-conserving ones and change our habits. MWRA has done a marvelous job educating the public. Now, we as water users must do our part so that MWRA's water usage program will continue to thrive.

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