Editorial: Buckets of savings

The Patriot Ledger

"We need to try to figure out how to use what we have without being wasteful. This is all in context of trying to maintain a healthy environment."

That's Pine duBois of Kingston, whose lawn and garden covers about three-quarters of an acre, yet her quarterly water bill is about $60, or 20 percent lower than the town's average.

DuBois takes pains to save water: she installed low-flow fixtures throughout her house, shuns outdoor sprinkler systems, waters in the morning, has connected her sump pump to her fish pond, and collects rain water in barrels.

Public officials and conservationists have promoted water-saving efforts for years. It seems more and more of us are listening.

Water usage across the South Shore is down in general, with many communities consuming less water in 2006 than they did four years earlier.

Hanson used 20 percent less water last year than in 2002, according to figures from the state. Hingham and Hull, which share a private water distribution service, have seen a 17 percent drop. In Plymouth, water usage dropped 13 percent despite an ongoing development boom.

That's good news for the many towns approaching their state-set water usage limit. And it points to individuals becoming more thoughtful consumers of water, as well as a growing popularity among homeowners and buildings of low-flow and more efficient kitchen and bathroom fixtures.

Thanks to wet winters, New Englanders haven't seen the constant water shortages that can be typical in other parts of the country. Still, water conservation makes good economic and environmental sense, protects the water supply, and staves off the risks of drought. Every household should think about ways to cut down on unnecessary or wasteful water use, both indoors and out.