Water conservation has become an essential practice in all regions, even in areas where water seems abundant. Recent droughts have ravaged essential ground water levels to historic lows.
Water conservation helps prevent water pollution in nearby lakes, rivers and local watersheds; it also saves money on your utility bill. Conserving water can also extend the life of your septic system by reducing soil saturation, and reducing any pollution due to leaks. Overloading municipal sewer systems can cause untreated sewage to flow to lakes and rivers. The smaller the amount of water flowing through these systems, the lower the likelihood of pollution.
Taking measures at home to conserve water not only saves you money, it also is of benefit to the greater community.
IN THE HOME
• Check faucets, pipes and toilets for leaks
— Put a few drops of food coloring in your toilet tank. If, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately.
• Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators
— This single best home water conservation method is also the cheapest!
• Install new toilets
— For new installations, consider buying “low flush” toilets, which use 1 to 2 gallons per flush instead of the usual 3 to 5 gallons.
• Take shorter showers.
— Turn off the shower after soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse.
• Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush
— Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.
• Rinse your razor in the sink
— Fill the sink; this will rinse your razor just as well as running water.
• Use your dishwasher and clothes washer for only full loads
— Dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation.
• Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units
— Garbage disposals require a lot of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste.
• When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing.
IN THE GARDEN
• Plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants
— If you are planting a new lawn, or over-seeding an existing lawn, use drought-resistant grasses.
• Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants
— Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. Adding 2 to 4 inches of organic material such as compost or bark mulch will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture.
• Don't water the street gutter and driveway
— Position your sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days.
• Water your lawn only when it needs it
— A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn't need water. Most lawns only need about 1" of water each week.
• Don't run the hose while washing your car
— Clean the car using a pail of soapy water. Use the hose only for rinsing. This simple practice can save as much as 150 gallons when washing a car.
• Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks
• Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings
— Leaks outside the house may not seem as bad since they're not as visible. But they can be just as wasteful as leaks indoors. Use hose washers at spigots and hose connections to eliminate leaks.
To view a flyer of these tips, click here.