Water is essential to all living things and is used in an amazing number of ways. It’s crazy to think about, but only 1% of the Earth’s water is usable fresh water. With such a rapidly growing population, we are using this precious resource faster than it can naturally be replaced. This is why it is so important to be mindful of your personal water consumption and to do your best to conserve. To help you in your efforts, we have listed just a few of the simple ways you can do your part to conserve water in your home.
Save water throughout your home
- Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save water and prevent damage to your home
- Check faucets for drips or leaks and have them repaired immediately
- Monitor your water meter or bill to check for signs of excessive use which could indicate there is a leak somewhere within your water system
- Keep your water heater set to 120°F (medium for older model heaters)
- Insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You’ll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up
- Only run your washing machine when you have a full load of laundry or adjust water levels to the size of the load you want to wash if you have the option
- Opt for natural and biodegradable cleansers and detergents rather than those filled with chemicals that can be hazardous to the environment and water supply
- When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants
- When you give your pet fresh water, use the old water on your houseplants.
Save water in the bathroom
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving
- Take showers instead of baths and try to reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower by at least 2 minutes – you can also turn off the water while you wash your hair to save even more water
- Bathe your young children together
- Install low-flow showerheads and faucets
- Put food coloring in your toilet tank – if it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak that needs to be repaired
- Have a new toilet flapper and fill valve installed to keep toilets running efficiently OR have a new, high-efficiency toilet installed by your plumber
- Flush toilets less often and do not flush anything except toilet paper
- Fill the bottles with water and some sand or pebbles for weight, screw the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank away from the operating mechanisms OR buy an inexpensive or float booster. * Be sure at least 3 gallons of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly.
Save water in the kitchen
- Only run your dishwasher when it is full
- Don’t use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.
- Designate one glass for your drinking each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
- Minimize use of garbage disposals-compost food waste
- When washing dishes by hand, fill one side for washing and the other for rinsing (or use a bowl or large pot if you don’t have a second sink) rather than letting the water run continuously
- Keep a pitcher of cool water in the refrigerator rather than letting the water run to get cold
- Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap
- If you accidentally drop ice cubes when filling your glass, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
- Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs
Save water outside
- Water lawns and plants very early in the morning or late in the evening when it is cooler and the water has a better chance to be absorbed before it evaporates
- Use a rain barrel to gather water for use in the yard to limit having to use the hose/sprinkler
- Don’t water your lawn on windy days
- Purchase an inexpensive timers to attach to your outside faucet to prevent over-watering if you forget to turn off your sprinkler
- Water only when necessary -more plants die from over-watering than from under-watering
- Aerate your lawn at least once a year so water can reach the roots rather than run off the surface
- Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants to slow down evaporation of moisture and discourage weed growth.
- Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
- Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful.
- Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting
- Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting – A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better than if it is closely clipped
- Report broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers to the property owner or your water provider
- Have your plumber re-route your gray water to trees and gardens rather than letting it run into the sewer line. Check with your city codes, and if it isn’t allowed in your area, start a movement to get that changed.
- Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks
- Don’t run the hose while washing your car -use a bucket and sponge
- Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
- Make sure your swimming pools, fountains, and ponds are equipped with recirculating pump
Be sure to share these water conservation tips with friends and neighbors