As much as most of us would like to lower water consumption around the house, we seldom do much about it. So the next time you’re about to pay your water bill, pause for a few minutes. Consider that the average household uses 130,000 gallons of water per year, and without much effort or any noticeable lifestyle differences, you and your family could cut water use by as much as 35% (44,000 gallons). Now, multiply the current water bill you’re paying by 65% and see if saving that much on each bill is worth the time and effort to switch to these recommended water-saving habits.
- Check all your faucets and accessible pipes for leaks. The drip from a single worn washer can waste 20 gallons of water per day.
- Check all toilets for leaks by putting a little food coloring in the tank. Then check back in a half-hour to see if the color appears in the bowl. By replacing the toilet flapper and other necessary parts, you’ll save untold wasted gallons.
- Install aerators in faucets that don’t already have these inexpensive water-conserving devices. Kitchen faucets at 2.2 gpm (gallons per minute) and bathroom faucets at 1.5 gpm or lower are recommended. You’ll use a lot less water because the flow will seem stronger.
- Low-flush toilets use 1-2 gallons per flush instead of 3-5 gallons. If your toilets aren’t low-flush, you can still lower water use by adjusting to 3 gallons in the tank, which often works just as well.
- Put these suggestions into practice when washing yourself, your clothes, your food or dishes and cars: take shorter showers; turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving; use the sink stopper when cleaning vegetables or hand washing dishes and glasses; do only full loads of clothes or dishes; use a bucket of soapy water to wash the cars and limit hose use to rinsing away the suds and dirt.
- Cut down on outside water use by planting drought-resistant grasses, shrubs and plants. Mulch around plants and trees to reduce water evaporation, and avoid watering lawns on windy days.
- When watering lawns, limit to an inch per week, apply in the early morning, and leave the grass taller (up to 3 inches) to better retain moisture. Put an old tuna can on the lawn when watering and when it’s full, you’ve reached an inch.
- Use a broom or blower to clear sidewalks and driveways rather than hosing them to remove leaves or grass clippings.