Saving water inside the home
There are many ways to save water inside the home. The following is a partial list and will be updated frequently. Please e-mail us your great water saving ideas and watch for them to be added to our list!
Saving water is easy, it actually takes little effort. The best way people can save water is just through their awareness. By being aware that water conservation is important (and saves you money), many of the ideas are merely common sense.
1. Turn the water off when you are not using it. While brushing teeth or shaving, turn the water off when not rinsing the toothbrush or razor.
2. Don't run the shower for a 'long time' to wait for it to get warm, it will be warm quicker than you think. Some people actually set a pan or bucket in the shower to catch the water while it is warming up. This water is then used to water plants, or other nonpotable purposes.
3. Check for leaks. Small leaks can add up to enormous water (and dollar) losses. There are several ways to check for a leak. One method of testing for a leak is to turn off all the water in your house and make certain no appliances are running or are being used. Find your water meter. Your water meter is typically in the basement. If your water meter has a small red diamond on it, and you are not using any water, the red diamond should not be moving. If the red diamond is moving, and you are not using any water, then you could have a leak because water is moving through that meter. If your meter does not have a red diamond, perform this test when you can leave all water off for an hour or two. Make a reading of the meter, and check it again in an hour or two and see if the reading has changed. Obviously, if you have not used any water in that time, the meter should not have moved.
4. Check your toilets for leaks. Toilets are one of the main causes for unknown water leaks. Please note that a toilet that has a leak can be wasting hundreds of gallons of water PER DAY. Some toilet leaks you know about, you hear the constant or intermittent sound of the toilet "running" . Some toilet leaks are not audible, and are difficult to find without 'testing'. The good news is the testing is easy. To test your toilets, choose one that will not be used for an hour or two. Add a (safe / water soluble) dye such as food coloring to the water tank on the back of your toilet- DO NOT FLUSH after you've added the dye. (Please check with your local utility or plumber to make certain the dye you use will not stain your toilet). If after an hour or two (typically it will be faster) you notice the dye color in the bowl- your toilet has a leak.
5. When purchasing new appliances or toilets , make certain they are water and energy efficient items. Toilets should be no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. Washing machines and dishwashers should also be water efficient. Energy Star Ratings will be good for both water AND energy savings!
6. Check your water softener. Older 'time dosed' water softeners are enormous wasters of water. Newer 'demand' type water softeners use much less water.
7. Only run the dishwasher and clothes washing machine when the loads are full. Partial loads waste water and energy.
8. If you drop ice cubes on the floor- set them in a plant instead of throwing them in the sink.
Landscape, Lawn and Garden
Many people are surprised to find out how much 'extra' and unnecessary water is used outdoors for the watering of lawn and landscaping. In some instances 25% to 30 % of a residential home's water is used for lawn watering. Here are a few, easy ideas that can dramatically reduce the amount of water used at your home or business.
1. Let your grass go brown in the summer
People are concerned about their grass turning brown and 'dying'. If your grass turns brown it is NOT dead- it is merely dormant. The next rain WILL turn your grass green again. There's an extra benefit to not watering your grass- significant reduction in the amount of times you'll have to mow your lawn! By not watering the lawn, it won't grow (above the ground) as fast. So you'll cut down on the time you spend mowing and reduce the amount of CO2 emissions your mower will generate-it's a win / win idea! Also as your grass does not appear to be growing above the ground, it's roots are growing stronger below the ground, as the grass is trying to locate water. You are actually strengthening your lawn by not watering it. Where your lawn is concerned : "Brown IS the new green !"
2. You have to water your lawn?
No you don't have to water your lawn, (see # 1 above). If you choose to water your lawn, make certain to water before 9:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. or you'll lose (waste) a large amount of the water to evaporation. Water only on days your local ordinance allows, and not within two days of a rain. Do not set your sprinkler where water will run down the sidewalk, driveway, or road- that is wasted water causing runoff that is detrimental to the environment. For more information about proper lawn watering, read the Lawn Watering brochure.
3. Use Rain barrels
Use rain barrels to capture and store rainwater. Use this stored rainwater to water plants at times that rain does not keep up with the demand. Find more information about where you can purchase a rain barrel.
4. Install a Rain garden
When properly installed, rain gardens make a much better use of the rainwater by reducing stormwater runoff from your lot. Rain gardens are also a great way to incorporate native, drought tolerant plants into your yard and the area. Native plants don't need fertilizers, pesticides or watering so they are great for your yard and your environment. Try to incorporate more native plants in all your planting beds--not just the rain gardens!
5. Use a Broom
Don't use the hose as a method of washing debris off the sidewalk or driveway- use a broom. Using a hose not only wastes water, but it sends all the debris and dirt down the storm drain with the water. The storm drain delivers water to the nearest river, lake or wetland which can pollute our waterways.
6. Take care washing the car
If you wash your own car, limit yourself to one bucket of water to complete the task and be careful not to have the hose running the entire time you are washing your car. Washing the car on the lawn will also make sure that none of the washwater ends up in the stormdrain where it is delivered to the closest lake, river or wetland. Some carwashes may save water by using systems that recycle the water. The water used in a car wash will be treated and cleaned at the sewage treatment plant.