You Can Reduce Your Water Usage With These Helpful Tips
there are many ways to conserve that won't cost you any money
- Flush toilets only when needed. A small bucket can be placed in the shower to collect water as you are waiting for it to heat up, as well as to catch it while you rinse. That water, in turn, can be fed into the toilet tank for your flushes or used to water plants.
- Replace older plumbing fixtures with newer, low-flow models or install water-saving devices, such as faucet aerators.
- Place a water-filled bottle or brick in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water needed to fill it.
- Put food coloring in your toilet tank and watch if the coloring shows up in the toilet bowl before flushing. If so, replace the leaking parts.
- Check tub and sink faucets for drips and replace washers and seals as necessary.
- Turn off all water in your home and look at the readout dial on your water meter. If the dial moves after an hour, you have a leak.
- Check pipes coming into the house for leaks and have them repaired immediately. Don't forget to check outside faucets and garden hoses.
- Turn off water while lathering, shampooing, shaving and brushing your teeth.
- Plug the bathtub before turning the water on, and then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
- Take showers instead of baths.
- Time your shower to keep it as short as possible.
- Run washing machines and dishwashers only with full loads to maximize efficiency.
- Avoid using sink disposals for food scraps as it requires extra water. Composting food scraps is much more economical than using a garbage disposal.
- Don't rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. You may use a pan of water in the sink and re-use the water as long as possible.
- When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
- When washing dishes by hand, use the least amount of detergent possible. This minimizes rinse water needed.
- Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for cold drinks.
- Don't defrost frozen foods with running water. Either plan ahead by placing frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or defrost them in the microwave.
- Don't let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Rinse them in a filled sink or pan.
- Catch rainwater from your gutters with a rain barrel and use it to water your flowers and vegetables or car washing.
- Use dry cleanup methods to reduce both indoor and outdoor water use.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk.
- Set lawn mower blades one notch higher. Longer grass means less evaporation and a greener yard.
- Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Chunks of bark, peat moss or gravel slow down evaporation.
- Create an awareness of the need for water conservation among your children. Avoid the purchase of recreational water toys which require a constant stream of water.
- Be aware of and follow all water conservation and water shortage rules and restrictions which may be in effect in your area.
- Encourage your employer to promote water conservation at the workplace. Suggest that water conservation be put in the employee orientation manual and training program.
- Patronize businesses that practice and promote water conservation.
- Report all significant water losses (broken pipes, open hydrants, errant sprinklers, abandoned free-flowing wells, etc.) to the property owner, local authorities or your Water Management District.
- Encourage your school system and local government to help develop and promote a water conservation ethic among children and adults.
- Support projects that will lead to an increased use of reclaimed waste water for irrigation and other uses.
- Support efforts and programs to create a concern for water conservation among tourists and visitors to our state. Make sure your visitors understand the need for, and benefits of, water conservation.
- Encourage your friends and neighbors to be part of a water conscious community. Promote water conservation in community newsletters, on bulletin boards and by example.
- Conserve water because it is the right thing to do. Don't waste water just because someone else is footing the bill such as when you are staying at a hotel.
- Try to do one thing each day that will result in a savings of water. Don't worry if the savings is minimal. Every drop counts. And every person can make a difference. So tell your friends, neighbors and coworkers to "Turn it Off" and "Keep it Off."
- Don't over water your lawn. As a general rule, lawns only need watering every 5 to 7 days in the summer and every 10 to 14 days in the winter. A hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for as long as two weeks. Plant it smart, Xeriscape. Xeriscape landscaping is a great way to design, install and maintain both your plantings and irrigation system that will save you time, money and water. For your free copy of "Plant it Smart," an easy-to-use guide to Xeriscape landscaping, contact your Water Management District.
- Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation.
- Don't water your street, driveway or sidewalk. Position your sprinklers so that your water lands on the lawn and shrubs, not the paved areas.
- Install sprinklers that are the most water-efficient for each use. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are examples of water-efficient methods of irrigation.
- Regularly check sprinkler systems and timing devices to be sure they are operating properly. It is now the law that "anyone who purchases and installs an automatic lawn sprinkler system MUST install a rain sensor device or switch which will override the irrigation cycle of the sprinkler system when adequate rainfall has occurred." To retrofit your existing system, contact an irrigation professional for more information.
- Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches. A lawn cut higher encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely-clipped lawn.
- Avoid over fertilizing your lawn. The application of fertilizers increases the need for water. Apply fertilizers which contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
- Mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulching also helps to control weeds that compete with pants for water.
- Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Once established, they do not need to be watered as frequently and they usually will survive a dry period without any watering. Group plans together based on similar water needs.
- Do not hose down your driveway or sidewalk. Use a broom to clean leaves and other debris from these areas. Using a hose to clean a driveway can waste hundreds of gallons of water.
- Outfit your hose with a shut-off nozzle which can be adjusted down to fine spray so that water flows only as needed. When finished, "Turn it Off" at the faucet instead of at the nozzle to avoid leaks.
- Use hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate leaks.
- Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. Your garden hoses can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours, so don't leave the sprinkler running all day. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn it off.
- Check all hoses, connectors and spigots regularly.
- Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water. If you wash your own car, park on the grass to do so.
- Avoid the installation of ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless the water is recycled. Locate where there are mineral losses due to evaporation and wind drift.
- If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter. A single back flushing with a traditional filter uses from l80 to 250 gallons or more of water.
- Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don't have to let the water run while it heats up. This will reduce heating costs for your household.
- Insulate your water pipes. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.
- Never install a water-to-air heat pump or air-conditioning system. Air-to-air models are just as efficient and do not waste water.
- Install water softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on vacation.
- Check your pump. If you have a well at your home, listen to see if the pump kicks on and off while the water is not in use. If it does, you have a leak.
- When adjusting water temperatures, instead of turning water flow up, try turning it down. If the water is too hot or cold, turn the offender down rather than increasing water flow to balance the temperatures.
- If the toilet flush handle frequently sticks in the flush position, letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.
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