Some water-saving tips that could be helpful.
For Every Room in the House with Plumbing
- Repair leaky faucets, indoors and out.
- Consider replacing old equipment/appliances (like toilets, dishwashers, and laundry machines).
In the Bathroom
- Check your toilet(s) for leaks! Toilets are usually the number one culprit of a higher water bill. Add a few drops of food coloring to the tank of your toilet. Don't flush the toilet. If the color appears in the bowl, your toilet flapper may not be sealing correctly. It's also possible that you may not hear your toilet running, or you may hear it running occasionally, which could be due to the toilet flapper needing to be replaced.
- Take short showers. If you want to take a bath, fill the tub halfway.
- Turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth.
- Fill your bathroom sink with a few inches of warm water to rinse your razor while shaving.
- Install a toilet dam, faucet aerators, and low-flow showerheads.
In the Kitchen
- When cooking, peal and clean vegetables in a large bowl of water instead of running water.
- Fill your sink or basin when washing and rinsing dishes.
- Only run the dishwasher when it's full. When buying a dishwasher, select one with a "light-wash" option.
- Only run the garbage disposal when necessary (composting is a great alternative).
- Install faucet aerators.
- Run full loads of laundry.
- When purchasing a new washing machine, buy a water-saving model than can be adjusted to the load size.
- Maximize the use of natural vegetation and establish smaller lawns. For portions of your lot where lawn and landscaping are desired, ask your local nursery for tips about plants and grasses with low water demand (such as creeping fescue).
- Consider planting more trees, shrubs, ground covers, and less grass. Shrubs and ground covers provide greenery for much of the year and usually demand less water.
- Use native plants in flower beds. Cluster plants that require extra care together to minimize time and save water.
- When mowing your lawn, set the mower blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass helps shade the soil, improving moisture retention. It has more leaf surface to take in sunlight, allowing it to grow thicker and develop a deeper root system. This helps grass survive drought, tolerate insect damage, and fend off disease.
- Use a self-closing nozzle on your hose.
- Only water the lawn when necessary. Step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move your foot, it doesn't need water. If you water your lawn and garden, only do it once a week, if rainfall isn't sufficient.
- Avoid watering on windy and hot days. Water the lawn and garden in the morning or late in the evening to maximize the amount of water which reaches the plant roots (otherwise most of the water will evaporate).
- Use soaker hoses to water gardens and flower beds. If sprinklers are used, take care that they don't water walkways and buildings. When you water, put down no more than 1 inch (set out empty cans to determine how long it takes to water 1 inch) each week. This watering pattern will encourge more healthy, deep roots. Over-watering is wasteful, as it encourages fungal growth and disease. It also results in the growth of shallow, compacted root systems that are more susceptible to drought and foot traffic.
- If an automatic lawn irrigation system is used, be sure it has been properly installed, and that it is programmed to deliver the appropriate amount and rate of water. It should also have a main shut-off capability.
- Add compost or an organic matter to soil as necessary to improve soil conditions and water retention.
- Apply mulch around shrubs and flower beds to reduce evaporation, promote plant growth, and control weeds.
- Collect rainfall for irrigation in a screened container (to prevent mosquito larvae growth). Note: According to Missouri SB 782, Section 640.648, it states "...landowners shall also have the right to have and use systems for potable water, and systems for rainwater collection."
- When washing a car, wet it quickly, then use a bucket of water to wash the car. Turn on the hose to final rinse.
- Always use a broom to clean walkways, driveways, decks and porches, rather than hosing off these areas.
Sources: US Environmental Protection Agency; Niagara Conservation; Fred