It looks as if the 2010-2011 winter brought Utah plenty of water, but we all MUST remember to always be water-conscious. Droughts will happen again in the future and it is important that water is readily available during times of drought. Fortunately, it’s easy to become “water-wise.”
Here are a few ideas to show you how.
These tips will not only save you water – they’ll save you money, too.
Indoor Water Use
Bathroom facilities in the home account for almost three-quarters of indoor water use, and toilets and showers are notorious water wasters. To keep too much water from going down the drain, try these tips:
- Take shorter showers. A 5-minute shower uses 25-30 gallons of water versus a 20-minute shower, which uses 100 gallons.
- Consider installing an ultra-low-flow shower head.
- 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.
- Remember to flush the toilet as soon as the test is done. Food coloring may stain the tank if left for a long period of time.
- If replacing or installing a new toilet, purchase a low-volume flushing unit. The toilets use approximately 2-4 gallons per flush compared to 5-8 gallons on older toilets.
- Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Replacement parts are fairly inexpensive and will save you money in the end.
- A toilet handle that frequently sticks in the flush position will let water run constantly. It should also be replaced or adjusted.
- Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and other similar waste in the trash can.
- Don’t let the water run while shaving, washing your face or brushing your teeth. Use your plug to partially fill the sink with water.
The Rest of the House
Any room that uses water can be a place to save water. Try these tips:
- Water that has been used for cooking or washing vegetables doesn’t need to go down the drain. Use it for watering indoor plants or watering the garden. You can also pour it into a pet’s water bowl or use it for cleaning around the home.
- Many homes have hidden water leaks. 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.
- Dripping faucets, at a rate of one drop per second, can waste up to 2,700 gallons of water per year! This means you are paying for water you haven’t even used. Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers.
- Use automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only on full loads.
- Clothes washers should be adjusted to the water level needed for the load.
- Store drinking water in the refrigerator. This way, you will always have cold water and will not need to let the faucet run to get cold water.
- Insulate your water pipes. You’ll get hot water faster and avoid wasting water waiting for it to heat up.
- If you have a well at home, check the pump periodically. If you hear the pump kick on and off while water is being used, you have a leak that needs to be fixed.
Lawn and Garden
Typically, 60% of water consumed by households is used outdoors. Most likely, a large percentage is used on your lawn.
- Minimize unuseable grass areas in your yard. Less grass means less water. Replace with low-water use landscaping.
- Use a broom instead of the hose to clean off the dirveway and sidewalks.
- Adjust sprinklers so that only the lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, street or fence.
- Avoid watering on windy days or right after (or during) a rainstorm.
- Check and maintain your sprinkler system regularly.
- Remember to adjust the watering schedule to the season.
- Water your lawn every third to fourth day.
- Always water during the cooler part of the day – after 6:00 p.m. and prior to 10:00 a.m.
- When mowing, raise the blade on your mower to at least three inches high. Shorter cut grass requires more water.
- When landscaping, use Utah native or low-water tolerant plants, shrubs and trees.
- Use a layer of mulch around plants. This reduces evaporation and promotes plant growth.
- Familiarize yourself with water conservation rules within the community.
- Remember – every drop counts.
- Encourage your employer to promote water conservation practices in the workplace.
- Suggest that water conservation be put in employee orientation and training programs.
- Report all significant water losses (broken pipes, open hydrants, overspray sprinklers, etc) to property owners, local authorities or water management district.
- Encourage the local schools and government to help develop and promote a water conservation ethic among children and adults.
- Support efforts and programs that create a concern for water conservation among tourists and visitors traveling to our state.
- Encourage friends and neighbors to be a part of a water-conscious community.
- Promote water conservation in community newsletters, on bulletin boards and by example.
Conserve water because it is the right thing to do.
- Don’t waste water just because someone else is footing the bill, such as when you are staying at a hotel, working out at the spa, or visiting at someone elses home.
- Try to do one thing each day that will result in saving water.
- Remember – every drop counts. You can make a difference
American Water Works Association
Jordan Valley Water conservancy District
Utah Division of Water Resources
Center Utah Water Conservancy District
USGS Water Watch
National Drought Mitigation Center
NOAA Drought Information Center
Water – Use It Wisely
United States Department of Agriculture