Because of the awful drought we are experiencing here in CA, Folsom residents are required to reduce their water usage by 20% each month! But how can we do that? Here are 24 simple ways to conserve water and easily reduce your monthly water consumption each month.
WATER CONSERVATION IN THE HOME
1. Check faucets and pipes for leaks
A small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste 20 gallons of water per day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons.
2. Check your toilets for leaks
Add a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.
3. Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks
Read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
4. Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators
Inexpensive water-saving low-flow shower heads or restrictors are easy for the homeowner to install. Also, long, hot showers can use five to ten gallons every unneeded minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off.
5. Put plastic bottles or float booster in your toilet tank
To cut down on water waste, put an inch or two of sand or pebbles inside each of two plastic bottles to weigh them down. Fill the bottles with water, screw the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. Or, buy an inexpensive tank bank or float booster. This may save ten or more gallons of water per day.
6. Insulate your water pipes
It’s easy and inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You’ll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.
8. Don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine until they’re full
Those half-loads add up to gallons and gallons of wasted water.
9. Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units
In-sink ‘garburators’ require lots of water to operate properly, and also add considerably to the volume of solids in a septic tank which can lead to maintenance problems. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste.
10. When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing
If you have a double-basin, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have a single-basin sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a panful of hot water.
12. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge.
Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful. Store drinking water in the fridge in a safe drinking bottle.
13. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth
Water comes out of the average faucet at 2.5 gallons per minute. Don’t let all that water go down the drain while you brush! Turn off the faucet after you wet your brush, and leave it off until it’s time to rinse.
WATER CONSERVATION IN THE YARD AND GARDEN
14. Don’t water the gutter
Position your sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days.
15. 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. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering. Letting the grass grow taller (to 3″) will also promote water retention in the soil.
16. Deep-soak your lawn
When watering the lawn, do it long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots where it will do the most good. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems.
17. Aerate your lawn
Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
18. Add organic matter and use efficient watering systems for shrubs, flower beds and lawns
Adding organic material to your soil will help increase its absorption and water retention. Areas which are already planted can be ‘top dressed’ with compost or organic matter.
19. 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 spray nozzle when rinsing for more efficient use of water.
20. Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks
21. 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. Check frequently to keep them drip-free. Use hose washers at spigots and hose connections to eliminate leaks.
22. Head to the car wash
If you need to wash your car, take it to a car wash that recycles the water, rather than washing at home with the hose.
23. Water in the early morning
You’ll need less water, since cooler morning temperatures mean losing less water to evaporation. It’s not a great idea to water in the evenings, since this can promote mold growth.
24. Clean Fido Outside
Bathe your pets outdoors in an area in need of water, such as dry grass. Just make sure the shampoo is safe for plants otherwise this totally defeats the purpose.