With the California drought continuing and new water conservation laws going into effect, it is now more important than ever to try to limit water usage. Here’s some tips for conserving water at your own home:
Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth and/or shaving. This is one of the easiest ways to reduce water usage, and can actually save you up to 3,000 gallons per year!
Only run full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine. Speaking of dishes, many dishwashers actually use less water than washing by hand. If you do wash by hand, however, don’t leave the tap running. Instead, fill one basin with soapy water for scrubbing, and the other with clean rinse water.
Install water efficient fixtures and appliances. Look for faucets, shower heads, toilets, and other water-using appliances with WaterSense and EnergyStar labels.
Shorten your showers. While it is generally recommended to limit your showers to 5 minutes, even shortening your shower time by 1-2 minutes can save you 150 gallons each month. Also, consider turning the water off while lathering your hair or body.
Place a few drops of food coloring in your toilet’s reservoir. If any color seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak that needs to be fixed.
Collect spare water, such as from rinsing fruits and vegetables, dropped ice cubes, water ran while waiting for cool/hot water, etc, into a bowl or bucket and use it to water houseplants or your garden.
Re-use the waste water from cleaning fishtanks. Use this nutrient-rich water for outdoor, non-edible plants.
Limit your lawn watering and monitor runoff. Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it. If you notice water running over your sidewalk or into the street, lessen the amount you’re using. Aerating your lawn by putting in holes every 6 inches will allow more water to be absorbed, and also ensures that more water reaches the roots.
Install gutters and waterspouts to collect any runoff water from your roof when it does rain. Direct the waterspouts into large buckets or rain barrels to then use to water your lawn and garden, or straight onto water-needy plants or trees.
If you own a pool, invest in a pool cover to not only keep out debris, but to limit water loss from evaporation, and reduce chemical use.
Lastly, check faucets, pipes, sprinklers, and appliances regularly for leaks. A faucet that drips once per second can waste approximately 5 gallons/day.