Water is our most precious natural resource, yet every day American’s waste millions of gallons. Why? Because we don’t really think about it. Turn on the faucet and water comes out. Experts are predicting that in the years to come, the cost of turning on that faucet will continue to rise as does demand. Here are just a few ways that you can help reduce demand and help keep prices low.
Indoor Water Conservation Tips
- Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it. Use it to water you indoor plants or garden.
- Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year.
- Check all plumbing for leaks. Have leaks repaired by a plumber.
- Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors.
- Install an instant hot water heater on your sink.
- Insulate your water pipes to reduce heat loss and prevent them from breaking.
- Install a water softening system only when the minerals in the water would damage your pipes. Turn the softener off while on vacation.
- Choose appliances that are “Water Star” rated as more energy and water efficient.
- Consider purchasing a low-volume toilet that uses less than half the water of older models.
- Place a one-gallon plastic jug of water into the tank to displace toilet flow (do not use a brick, it may dissolve and loose pieces may cause damage to the internal parts). Be sure installation does not interfere with the operating parts.
- Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version.
- Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water for watering plants.
- Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects, and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
- Avoid taking baths – take short showers – turn on water only to get wet and lather and then again to rinse off.
- Avoid letting the water run while brushing your teeth, washing your face, or shaving
- Operate automatic dishwashers only when they are fully loaded. Use the “light wash” feature, if available, to use less water.
- Hand wash dishes by filling two containers – one with soapy water and the other with rinse water containing a small amount of bleach.
- Clean vegetables in a pan filled with water rather than running water from the tap.
- Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing of food waste or simply dispose of food in the garbage (Kitchen sink disposals require a lot of water to operate properly).
- Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Do not let the tap run while you are waiting for water to cool.
- Avoid wasting water waiting for it to get hot. Capture it for other uses such as plant watering or heat it on the stove or in the microwave.
- Avoid rising dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. Just remove large particles of food. (Most dishwashers can clean soiled dishes very well, so dishes do not have to be rinsed before washing).
- Avoid using running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave oven.
- Operate automatic clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or set the water level for the size of your load.
Outdoor Water Conservation Tips
- Check your well pump periodically. If the automatic pump turns on and off while water is not being used, you have a leak.
- Plant native and /or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs, and trees. Once established, they do not need water as frequently and usually will survive a dry period without watering. Small plants require less water to become established. Group plants together based on similar water needs.
- Install irrigation devices that are the most water efficient for each use. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are examples of efficient devices.
- Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulch also helps control weeds that compete with landscape plants for water.
- Avoid purchasing recreational water toys that require a constant stream of water.
- Avoid installing ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless they use recycled water.
- Use a shut-off nozzle that can be adjusted down to a fine spray on your hose.
- Use a commercial car wash that recycles water. If you wash your own car, park on the grass so that you will be watering at the same time.
- Avoid over watering your lawn. A heavy rain eliminates the need for watering for up to two weeks. Most of the year, lawns only need one inch of water per week.
- Water in several short sessions rather than one long one, in order for your lawn to better absorb moisture.
- Position sprinkler systems and timing devices regularly to be sure they operate properly.
- Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches or to its highest level. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system, and holds soil moisture.
- Plant drought-resistant lawn seed.
- Avoid over-fertilizing your lawn. Applying fertilizer increases the need for water. Apply fertilizers that contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
- Use a broom or blower instead of a hose to clean leaves and other debris from your driveway or sidewalk.
- Avoid leaving sprinklers or hoses unattended. A garden hose can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours.
- Install a new water-saving pool filter. A single back flushing with a traditional filter uses 180 to 250 gallons of water.
- Cover pools and spas to reduce evaporation of water.