Why Waste Water? How to Make a Difference this World Water Day

The United National General Assembly designated March 22 as World Water Day in 1993. Worldwaterday.org states that it’s “about taking action to tackle the water crisis”. You can help by reducing your water use and reusing water at home – it’s easy with these tips from your Better Business Bureau (BBB).

  • Try water-smart landscaping. The less water your yard needs, the more you can save! The EPA shares key tips to remember when it comes to water-smart landscaping here. If you need help with this task, you can hire a landscaper. However, make sure to look up any business at org and check out their BBB Business Profile before hiring them. In 2016, consumers nationwide filed more than 3,500 complaints about landscape companies with BBB. These complaints were mostly about service, sales and delivery: consumers alleged being charged more than a contract specified and being unable to reach the business for repairs or maintenance.
  • Choose water efficient appliances and check for leaks. If you have leaks in your home, you could be wasting water without realizing it! A plumber can help you identity any problems, but be careful. Consumers filed more than 5,000 complaints on plumbers with BBB in 2016. The most common complaint was about the service provided, followed by poor customer service. You can find a trustworthy plumber near you through the BBB Accredited Business Directory. A plumber might also be able to recommend water efficient showers, toilets, taps and appliances, and help install them. This can help you save significant amounts of water!
  • Recycle your wastewater. Using gray water, which is wastewater from showers, sinks and clothes washing equipment, to water your garden or landscape is easy to do and can reduce water bills and save water. Simply pipe it directly outside and use it to water your yard!

Another way to make a difference this World Water Day is by donating to a water-related charity or non-profit. Follow these tips to make sure your donation has the intended impact:

  • Give thoughtfully. Take the time to check out a charity before giving to avoid wasting your generosity by donating to a questionable or poorly managed effort. A great place to start is org, run by BBB Wise Giving Alliance (WGA). WGA evaluates charities against 20 comprehensive Standards for Charity Accountability, and those that meet all 20 become accredited. If the charity has disclosed information to BBB, you can see where donations go, information about governance, how much the organization spends on fundraising, and much more when you look them up at give.org.
  • Choose carefully. A charity may claim they help impoverished people access clean water, but don’t believe everything you hear. Ask how and where they’re doing so, and press for specifics. Look at the charity’s website for its mission, program information and finances. Resist heart-wrenching appeals; what really matters is what the charity is doing to help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and consider it a red flag is the charity is hesitant to answer them.
  • Watch out for scams. In 2016, consumers nationwide reported around 250 charity scams to BBB Scam Tracker. If you’re contacted out of the blue by phone or email about donating to an organization, be wary. It’s possible that the charity doesn’t actually exist, and is using a fake, but legitimate-sounding, name and spoofing the Caller ID to create a false sense of security. Even if the organization is legitimate, you may not want to give them your money. BBB has warned in the past about charities that use donations mainly for fundraisers’ fees, salaries, and other administrative costs. Check out the charity online at org and if you still want to donate, do so directly. If you believe you’ve been contacted by a fraudulent charity, report it to BBB Scam Tracker.
  • Be safe online. Never click on links to charities on unfamiliar websites or in unsolicited texts or emails. These may take you to a lookalike website where you will be asked to provide personal financial information or click on something that downloads harmful malware into your computer. Don’t assume that charity recommendations online have already been vetted.
  • Cover your tracks. Get the charity’s exact name. With so many charities in existence, mistaken identity is a common problem. Don’t use cash, and if you donate by check, make sure it’s made out to the organization, not the person soliciting donations. Make sure to keep records of your donations. This includes receipts, canceled checks, and bank statements; keeping these documents will allow you to document your charitable giving at tax time. Don’t assume that every soliciting organization is tax exempt as a charity. You can readily check an organization’s tax status at gov/app/eos.

Pearl is the Communications Specialist for Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern Coastal California (BBB Oakland). She works to advance BBB’s vision of an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other by being proactive in the community and developing relationships with business and consumer groups. Pearl represents BBB at events throughout the Bay Area to educate a wide variety of people. Pearl also manages BBB Oakland’s social media channels.

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Posted in Consumer Tips, Consumer/Business Services

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