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Project Milwaukee
Springing from conversations with concerned community members, WUWM journalists developed Project Milwaukee -- in-depth reporting on vital issues in the region. Each Project Milwaukee consists of WUWM News reporters and Lake Effect producers teaming up to create a series of interviews and reports on a specific topic culminating in a public forum or live broadcast.WUWM tackles subjects of importance to southeastern Wisconsin by focusing on issues that warrant extensive coverage. The topics chosen are based on concerns we've heard from residents and community leaders.WUWM hopes that our coverage helps to further the understanding of broad, significant subjects, and encourages additional debate in the community.WUWM's Project Milwaukee. Our region. Our future.------------------------------------------------------------------PROJECT MILWAUKEE SERIES ARCHIVEGreat Lakes, Troubled Waters - May 2019With our proximity to Lake Michigan and world-class water research, why don't we have clean water?To Protect And Serve - March 2018Police, Community & A Time of TransitionSegregation Matters - March 2017Innovation - How Do We Compete? - February 2016Black Men in Prison - November 2013Why are so many Wisconsinites behind bars? And, what are the costs?Power Switch - June 2013The Promise and Reality of Green Energy in WisconsinHelp Wanted - October 2012Uncovering the Truth Behind Wisconsin's Skills GapState of Upheaval - December 2011Southern Connections - June 2011Cultivating a Regional CorridorWhat's On Our Plate? - November 2010The Impact of Wisconsin's Food EconomyBarriers to Achievement in MPS - June 2010The Currency of Water - December 2009Black & White - June 2009Race Relations in MilwaukeeWise Today, Well Tomorrow? - November 2008Youth Violence - June 2008Creating a Vibrant Regional Economy - November 2007

5 Ways To Conserve Water At Home

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Want to help conserve water? Sometimes it's all about the little things.

Quality is perhaps the most important part of any water distribution system. Water utilities process every drop that makes it into our plumbing, which takes a lot of time and energy. One way to keep from overburdening the system is by reducing our consumption — what we know as "water conservation."

Bill Graffin works for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, which works in wastewater treatment and conservation efforts in the Milwaukee area. Here are some helpful tips from Graffin on how you can conserve water at home.

» See More Project Milwaukee: Great Lakes, Troubled Waters Stories

1. Collect and reuse rainwater

Rainwater is not only healthier for your plants, it's healthier for our sewage system. Capturing rain in a bin or cistern helps divert large amounts of water from entering our sewers and gives more nutrients to plants. Just make sure you don't drink it. 

"You never know what's in that water without putting it under a magnifying glass," Graffin cautions.

2. Create a rain garden 

This is a garden that you plant under the downspout of the gutter. It generally consists of native plants or other deep-rooted plants.

"They help break up that soil and help drain more water into the ground," he explains. 

READ: Green Infrastructure Helps Manage Water In Milwaukee's Urban Landscape

3. Fix the drip 

That leaky faucet in the basement is a big drain on the system. While a dripping bathtub or sink may not seem like much, it can waste lots of water. 

"A leaky toilet alone can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day," says Graffin. 

4. Update appliances

Newer dishwashers and washing machines tend to be more energy efficient than older models, and they also use less water. Graffin points to toilets as one of the prime examples of this paradigm. 

"Really old toilets can be 3-5 gallons of water per flush, sometimes higher. Now the new ones are all around 1.28 gallons per flush," he says. 

5. Turn off the faucet 

This may sound like a no-brainer, but there are some activities where people still leave the faucet on needlessly. Many people keep the water running while they do dishes. 

"It's always a good idea to run a full load of dishes in the dishwasher instead of just leaving the faucets on while you do the same amount of dishes. You can run through a lot of water that way," Graffin explains. 

If you don't have a dishwasher, try filling the sink with soap and water to hand wash dishes, instead of keeping the faucet running.

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