The Why & How of Water Conservation

It's hard to imagine running out of water, but it could happen. Between 1950 and 2000, the population in the United States doubled while public demand for more water more than tripled. This demand, coupled with the recent drought conditions, stresses water supplies and distribution systems. The good news is there are plenty of small things you can do to conserve water and help avert future water shortages.

Lawn Care

Water your lawn only in the cool parts of the day to minimize evaporation. How much is this? Place a tuna or cat food can on the lawn in reach of the sprinkler. When your can is full your lawn has had sufficient watering. 

Light Sprinklings tends to evaporate quickly and encourage shallow root growth. Heavy sprinklers run off and waster water. Purchase and install a rain barrel to store rainwater and reuse to irrigate your yard, flowers, and garden.

Avoid watering the driveway and street too! Buy a trigger nozzle for your hose rather than letting the water run out. Use reclaimed greywater, if available (view the Grey Water Guerillas website). Also, cover swimming pools when not in use to help eliminate evaporation.

Water Conservation Tips

If you ever wonder whether the small changes you make really matter, consider this; each of us uses an average of 100 gallons of water per day- enough to fill 1,600 drinking glasses! Just think how much water you can conserve if your whole family becomes more water wary. 

For conservation devises check with your local plumbing supply store. Please visit the Environmental Protection Agency Website for more information on water.

Here are some easy ways to conserve water:

  • Brushing teeth - Turn the faucet off when brushing. This saves 5-10 gallons/person/day.
  • Cook smart- Peel and clean vegetables in a bowl of water instead of under running water.
  • Faucet aerator - Install a faucet aerator in your bathroom and sink. This saves 5 to 10 gallons/person/day in the bathroom and 10 to 20 gallons per person per day.
  • Go to the carwash - Water in most car washes is reclaimed (re-used) so the total amount of freshwater used is reduced.
  • Let it grow - Raise your lawnmower blade to at least three inches; taller grass holds soil moisture better.
  • Look for leaks - Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is used. If it doesn't read exactly the same, you have a leak.
  • Shorten showers - Take short showers instead of baths, and consider using a shower timer. To make it fun for kids, turn it into a game to see who can get the most squeaky clean in under three minutes!
  • Slow the flow - Install a slow flow faucet to reduce water consumption up to 50 percent.
  • Speak up - When you see an open hydrant, errant sprinkler or broken pipe, tell the property owner, local authorities or your local water department.
  • Sweep up - Clean the sidewalk and driveway with a broom instead of a hose to save hundreds of gallons of water.
  • Tap in - Place a bucket in your shower to capture the water that runs while you're waiting for it to get hot. Use the water to water plants.
  • Tap out - Instead of letting the tap run until water gets cold, keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator, and use it to refill certified reusable water bottles instead of opting for single-use plastic ones.
  • Test your tank - Add 12 drops of food coloring to your toilet tank and wait an hour. Look to see if any color seeped through the tank, a fitting or into the toilet bowl. If so, you may have a leak.
  • Toilet tummy - Install a toilet tummy in your toilet and please do not use your toilet as a trash can. This saves 5-10 gallons/person/day and 3-7 gallons/flush
  • Watch for water sense - When you shop for plumbing fixtures, look for the Environmental Protection Agency's Water Sense label, which means they meet strict criteria for efficiency and performance.
  • Water-saving showerhead - Install a water-saving shower head in your bathroom.