Verify your home is leak-free. Read your 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.
Repair dripping faucets by replacing the washers. If your faucet is dripping at a rate of one drop per second, you can waste up to 2,000 gallons per month.
Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the toilet bowl within 30 minutes. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed. A leaking toilet can waste thousands of gallons of water every month.
Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
Install a displacement device or water conserving toilet flapper. Be sure the installation does not interfere with the operating parts. When purchasing new or replacement toilets, consider a quality low-volume unit provided it meets local code.
Replace your existing showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version. Some units are available that allow you to cut off the flow without adjusting the water temperature knobs.
Don’t let water run while shaving, washing, or brushing teeth. Up to 30 gallons per use, per day may be saved.
Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors.
Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are fully loaded. Set the water level for the correct size load.
When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet.
Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Don’t let the tap run while you are waiting for cool water to flow.
Don’t use running water to thaw meat or frozen foods. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on the microwave.
Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don’t have to let the water run while it heats up. This will reduce water-heating costs for your household.
Insulate your water pipes. You’ll get hot water faster and avoid wasting water while it heats up.
Install water-softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on vacation.
When trying to establish water temperatures, adjust hot and cold knobs down, not up.
SAVE WATER OUTSIDE
Don’t over-water your lawn. As a general rule, lawns only need watering every five to seven days in the summer and every 10-14 days in the winter. A hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for up to two weeks. Use a rain gauge to determine the amount of rainfall your lawn has received.
Don’t allow sprinklers to water your street, driveway or other non-beneficial surface. Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn and shrubs and not on paved areas.
Install irrigation devices that are the most water-efficient. Micro– and drip-irrigation and soakers provide great results without waste.
Check sprinkler systems and timing devices regularly to be sure they operate properly. Adjust for the season, rainfall and plants.
Raise the lawn mower blade at least three inches or to its highest level. A higher cut encourages grass root system to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely clipped lawn. Contact local gardening experts for specifics.
Avoid over-fertilizing your lawn. Fertilizer applications increase the need for water. Apply fertilizers that contain slow release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulch also helps control weeds that compete with landscape plants for water.
Plant native and / or drought resistant grasses, ground covers, shrubs, and trees. Once established, they do not need water as frequently and usually will survive a dry period without watering. Group plants together, based on similar water needs. (Consult your state’s Native Plant Society for more info.)
Do not hose down driveways or sidewalks. Use a broom or blower to clean leaves and other debris from these areas.
Use a shut-off nozzle on your hose, which can be adjusted down to a fine spray so that water flows only as needed. When finished, turn it off at the faucet instead of at the nozzle to avoid leaks. Check hose connectors to make sure plastic or rubber washers are in place. Washers prevent leaks.
Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. A garden hose can pour out 600 gallons or more in one hour. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn the sprinklers off.
Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water. If you wash your own car, park on the grass and use a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
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