Water Conservation Tips
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Freshwater degradation is a looming crisis that we must face head on with strong and effective actions. Please do your part to protect this precious resource and call upon your elected representatives to take action today to protect not just future generations but our own future by adopting sustainable water practices. Only 3% of the earth's water is freshwater - we must protect this critical resource. In addition, water-related energy consumes a large amount of energy. In California, for example, water use consumes 19% of the state's electricity, 30% of it's natural gas, and 88 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually.
- Set Goals: To reduce your water consumption:
- Set specific water reduction goals -- for example, commit to using 20% less per month. To determine your overall water footprint, use the Water Footprint Calculator.
- Determine a baseline to start reducing from. Print the energy and water consumption chart and post in a visible spot in your home.
- Chart the number of gallons of water used in the last 12 months (for comparison to each month this year) (if water consumption is listed by CCF (hundred cubic feet), one CCF equals 748 gallons.
- Make specific changes in products used and family member habits:
- buy water saving products where needed
- get your family involved by asking for specific changes in everyone's habits (e.g., place signs near water outlets reminding family members to reduce consumption (e.g., shorter showers, turning the faucet off when not needed, only watering outdoor plants in the morning or evening))
- look for additional ideas below
- Once a month, add the new usage information to the charts and make adjustments as needed to reach your goals
- If you have children, increase their allowances by the amount saved to encourage them to get involved in finding new ways to conserve
- Resources: You'll find several water conservation ideas at H2ouse Water Saver Home including a Top 5 Water Savers page and 10 Ways to Save Water.
- Water Consumption: Each time you turn on a water faucet use the lowest pressure necessary. Keep the water turned on only while it is needed. For drinking water, keep a pitcher in your refrigerator so you don't have to let water run to cool.
- Fix Leaks Promptly!: It is estimated that 13.7% of household water is wasted by leaks. Check your water meter when no one is using water in the house. If it's moving there's a leak. A running toilet can waste 2 gallons a minute. Check by adding food coloring to the tank without flushing. After 10 minutes, look for leaks indicated by color in the bowl. This is most likely a worn flapper valve that can easily be replaced.
- Low Flow Toilets: One of the best ways to avoid wasting water is to switch to low flow or dual flush toilets. Visit Terry Love's consumer toilets report for a great review on available low flow toilets. Flush your toilet only every other time or when it has solid waste. LeakAlerter notifies you if your toilet is leaking.
- Showers: Replace existing shower heads with the lowest flow product you can find. Shower heads with a mist setting let you reduce water flow even further. Shower instead of taking a bath. Time your showers - try to keep them to 5 minutes. If taking a bath, limit how high you fill the tub.
- Aerators: Install flow restrictor aerators inside all faucets for a savings of 3 to 4 gallons per minute.
- Full Loads: Always run full loads of laundry and dishes. Choose the short cycle at low water levels whenever possible. Set the clothing washer at the lowest possible temperature needed and for single rinse only.
- Dish Washing: Use your dishwasher and don't rinse dishes beforehand (for an average 20 gallon savings). If you buy a new washing machine, choose a "high efficiency" model.
- Native Plants: Fill your yard with native plants. This will cut down significantly on watering requirements and, in the process, provide much needed food and shelter to local wildlife.
- Mulching: Mulch your gardens to reduce water evaporation around your plants (this also reduces weeds and builds healthy soil).
- Drip Irrigation: Install a drip irrigation system to water your plants more effectively
- For Your Hoses: Buy a squeeze nozzle for all of your hoses. However, if you're watering plants, use a watering can to reduce water waste.
- Best Time to Water: Water at night to minimize evaporation.
- Leftover Water: If you have house plants, whenever possible water them with leftover or unused water from drinking, cooking, and showering. Keep of water pitcher near your sink or bathtub and collect unused water running from the tap (waiting for cooler or warmer water).
- Car Wash: Take your car to a car wash that recycles water. If you wash it yourself, use a bucket and sponge and rinse sparingly.
- Greywater System: Find out if creating a greywater/waste water system would work for you.
- Water Pollution: Protect our water supply by following the steps outlined in How to Clean Up Our Water: 12 simple actions to help stem the tide of polluted runoff.
- Tap Water: Make the switch back to environmentally-friendly tap water instead of bottled water.
- Cooking Vegetables: Steam rather than boil your veggies to save a quart or more of water. Better yet, try giving vegetables a quick rinse, placing them in a covered bowl, and microwaving them for a minute or two.
- Drinking Water: In the U.S., learn more about your drinking water at EPA's Ground Water and Drinking Water site.
- Water Shortage Issues: Organizations that are working on international water shortage issues include: