NJIT Drought Expert Recommends Water Conservation Measures

NEWARK, March 22--The recently announced water restrictions limit outdoor water use, which can be monitored by government. But residents should know there are easy ways to conserve water indoors, says Taha Marhaba, associate professor of environmental engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and director of the New Jersey Applied Water Research Center.

All it takes to conserve water is conscientiousness and a sense of civic consideration. If adopted by residents, the following measures would save significant amounts of water.

  • Install low-flow showerheads in your showers (cost <$10); five-minute shower consumption reduced from about 30 gallons to about 15 gallons per shower.
  • Brush your teeth with the "wet toothbrush and rinse" method, rather than the "running tap" method; reduce water consumption from about 10 gallons to about gallon per teeth brushing.
  • Shave using the "fill sink" method, rather than the "running tap" method; reduce water consumption from about 20 gallons to about one gallon per shave.
  • Wash your hands using the "wet/soap hands and rinse" method rather than the "running tap" method; reduce water consumption from about two gallons to about one gallon per wash.
  • If you don't have the "ultra-low flushing" toilet, which consumes 1.6 gallons per flush, and have the conventional flushing toilet, which uses about 5-7 gallons per flush, place several clean bricks in your toilet tank. This will reduce the effective water tank volume, thereby reducing water consumption from about 5-7 gallons to about 2-3 gallons per flush.
  • If you hand dish-wash, use the "wash and rinse in sink" method, rather than the "tap running" method; reduce water consumption from about 30 gallons to about 5 gallons.
  • Install tap aerators (cost <$4) on all taps to reduce the flow and still have the same effect.
  • Run your dishwasher only when full or at proper reduced cycles.
  • Run your washing machine only when full or at proper reduced cycles.

"An average U.S. citizen uses 100 gallons of water a day, more than any other citizen of any other country in the world," Marhaba says.

"We are blessed with clean water that is delivered to our homes," he adds, "and the water meets the world's most stringent drinking standards. Only about 1 percent of our daily usage of water is for drinking. Still, living in the densest state in the country makes it difficult to provide ample drinking water that hew to those high standards. So, mandatory standards notwithstanding, we must consider the above measures to conserve water. It is not hard to do -- it is the ethical and right thing to do - for both us and for futurity."


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a "perennially most wired" university.

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