Rincon Reservation Ready to Conserve More Water Through Conservation Project

From the Spring/Summer 2021 issue of the Rincon Voice

Three-quarters of the earth’s surface is covered with water, so it might appear that there is plenty to go around and that we will never run out of this valuable resource. In reality, however, there is only a limited amount of usable fresh water.

According to the U.S. EPA, over 97 percent of the earth’s water is found in the oceans as salt water. Two percent of the earth’s water is relatively inaccessible for human use and is stored as fresh water in glaciers, ice caps, and snowy mountain ranges. That leaves a mere one percent of the earth’s water available to us for our daily water supply needs.

Almost all of the of Earth’s freshwater resource is groundwater. This subterranean water emerges at the surface to feed streams and saturate wetlands. Groundwater provides a critical reservoir that can be tapped for agricultural, industrial, and environmental uses as well as for drinking water supply.

This is why water conservation is of great importance and is something that everyone on the Rincon Reservation should actively be doing.

A hose bibb is the outdoor water faucet protruding from your house that you hook your garden hose to. Leaky hose bibs have been a noticeable problem for years all over the reservation. Sometimes it’s easy to think “oh it’s only a few drops, that can’t be too much in the grand scheme of things”. This is not true. These small leaks can add up to a big loss of water.

A home with two outside spigots leaking at a slow rate of 20 drips per minute totals up to 57,600 drips of water wasted per day.

  • 57,600 drips of water per day equals 5 gallons of water wasted every day through outside spigots leaking.
  • Over the course of a single year in this home, outside spigots leaking will result in 1,851 gallons of water being wasted.
  • For all of the customers of Rincon’s two public water systems on the reservation, this could collectively result in up to 481,260 gallons of water being wasted per year!

Over time, a leaking hose bibb can even cause water damage to your home’s foundation, which will turn into a much larger and more expensive repair. It also has the potential to contribute to mold and mildew growth. Therefore, it is imperative that we act to prevent the wasting of this precious, limited resource.

To combat the loss of water through leaky hose bibbs, the Rincon Environmental Department has obtained grant funding to pay for the replacement and installation of new hose bibbs with backflow prevention for all residential and commercial customers of Rincon’s two public water systems.

According to Camille Merchant, Rincon Environmental Director, “Some homeowners will dismiss a leaking hose bibb as nothing more than an annoyance, but even outside hose bibbs leaking slowly are a cause for concern. Slow drips are responsible for thousands of gallons of water waste each year”.

Each residential and commercial customer of the Northern and Paradise Creek public water systems will receive up to 3 replacement hose bibbs installed by the tribe at no cost to them. These replacement hose bibbs will have backflow prevention, which will protect the tribe’s wells, and will help to significantly reduce water loss through leakage.

Installation of the new hose bibs are anticipated to take place for customers of the Tribe’s Northern System throughout this Summer and installation of the new hose bibbs are anticipated to occur for customers of the Paradise Creek System are anticipated to take place throughout the Fall. Rincon’s General Services will oversee the installations. More detailed information will be provided to customers by mail in the weeks leading up to those installation times.