Using less water decreases your water bill and benefits the environment. When municipal sewage systems are overloaded with water, untreated sewage can head toward rivers and lakes. By reducing how much water flows through the system, discount we can reduce the likelihood of this water pollution.
Most people in North America use 50 to 70 gallons of water indoors each day and about the same amount outdoors, depending on the season. Indoors, most water is used in the bathroom, with the toilet accounting for about a quarter of all water usage.
Here are some tips to help you cut back on the amount of water you use:
- Don’t let the water run when washing dishes by hand and rinsing them. If you have a double-basin sink, fill one side with soapy water and the other with rinse water. With a single-basin sink, put washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray nozzle or bowl of hot water.
- Refrain from rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Rinsing is generally an unnecessary step that uses additional water.
- Save the water that accumulates while you wait for it to get hot and use it to water plants.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving. Wet your toothbrush and keep a glass of water nearby to rinse. When shaving, fill the sink with some warm water to rinse your razor rather than using running water.
- Take showers rather than baths, since showers use much less water. If you do bathe, fill the bathtub half full. You can get just as clean using less water.
- Reduce your shower time or turn off the water in the shower after lathering up and then turn it back on to rinse. Showers use 5 to 10 gallons of water each minute.
- Fix leaky toilets and faucets. Even a small drip can waste gallons of water each day, while larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons. You can check a toilet for leaks by putting some food coloring in the tank. If color starts to appear in the bowl within half an hour and you haven’t flushed, there is a leak in the toilet. Many replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.
- Install low-flow showerheads and aerators with flow restrictors on kitchen/bathroom faucets. These are easy and inexpensive ways to conserve water.
- Replace older toilets that use a high volume of water to flush. Changing a toilet that uses 3 to 5 gallons each flush to a new toilet that uses 1 to 2 gallons per flush will save about 70 percent of the water flushed.
- Don’t flush garbage or cigarette butts down the toilet. Every time you flush a small amount of trash, you waste several gallons of water.
- Replace older, inefficient washing machines. The average American family does about 300 loads of laundry every year. Energy Star-certified washers use 35 to 50 percent less water than standard washers. They also feature a greater tub capacity, meaning you can do fewer loads. Washing machines made before 1998 are much less energy and water-efficient than newer top-loading and front-loading washers. New top-loaders don’t waste water by filling up the tub but instead use sensors to determine water levels and temperature. They also rinse clothes by spraying them repeatedly rather than soaking them in a full basin of water. A full-sized washing machine that has earned the Energy Star uses about 15 gallons of water for each load, as opposed to 23 gallons by a standard washer. In the machine’s lifetime, that can save about 2,500 gallons.
- Replace your dishwasher with a more efficient model. Dishwashers that have earned the Energy Star are approximately 20 percent more water efficient than other models. Dishwashers made before 1994 waste more than 10 gallons of water each cycle. A new dishwasher that has earned the Energy Star saves an average of 1,300 gallons of water during its lifetime.
- Run only full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine. For smaller loads, adjust the water level to reflect the size of the load. When possible, avoid using the washing machine’s permanent press cycle, which uses about 5 more gallons for an extra rinse.
- Reduce your use of kitchen garbage disposals, which require a lot of water to operate properly. Instead, try starting a compost heap to dispose of food waste.
- Turn off the water while you rinse fruits and vegetables. Rinse them in a bowl of clean water instead. Reuse the water for your houseplants.
- Store drinking water in your refrigerator instead of running the tap each time you want a glass of water.
- Use foam pipe insulation on your water pipes and a water heating blanket for your water heater. By doing this, you will run (and waste) less water while you wait for it to heat up.
- Use a broom rather than a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks and porches.
- Wash your car with a bucket of soapy water and use the hose only for rinsing.
- Use rain catch systems to collect rainwater for watering your garden and lawn, or ensure your sprinklers are reaching the grass and garden and not paved areas.
- Water your lawn only if it needs it. To test this, step on the grass and see if it springs back. If it doesn’t, the grass needs to be watered. Water the lawn in the early morning or late evening to cut down on evaporation and don’t water on windy days.
- Avoid overwatering your plants and use a spray nozzle to ensure the water goes where you want it to go.
- Let your grass grow a little higher (around 3 inches) to allow the lawn to hold water better.
- Place 2 to 3 inches of mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and discourage weed growth. Pat the mulch down around each plant to form a small depression in order to lessen water runoff.
- Repair hose leaks and broken sprinkler heads. Use hose connections and hose washers at spigots to help eliminate leaks.
- Fix leaks around pool and spa pumps and install covers on pools and spas to reduce evaporation.
By working together and teaching our children about the importance of water conservation, we can save millions of gallons of water each year in using water-saving measures such as these!