Americans and Canadians use more water per capita than people in any other part of the world. When it’s as hot and dry as it has been this summer, our resources become even more precious. I’ve compiled a list of tips that will help you save this natural resource when we need it most.
1. Use your water meter to check for water leaks that you may not be aware of. Read the house water meter, go for two hours without using any water, and then check the meter again. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak somewhere.
2. Install low-flow faucet aerators on every faucet in your house. They are low-cost and easy to install.
3. Run your shower with a bucket on the floor or in the tub. If the bucket fills in less than 20 seconds, you should consider installing a more efficient shower head.
4. Put plastic bottles or a float booster in your toilet tank. Put a little bit of sand or rocks in plastic bottles. Fill the bottles the rest of the way with water, put the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank, away from the operating mechanisms. Or, you can buy an inexpensive float booster. When you flush, less water will be required to re-fill the tank.
5. Insulate your water pipes. It’s easy and inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with foam pipe insulation. You’ll get hot water faster and avoid wasting water while waiting for it to heat up.
6. Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units. They require a lot of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile or put compostable food waste in your Yardy bin instead.
7. Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture and discourage weed growth.
8. Water your lawn only when it needs it. Check to see if your lawn needs water by stepping on it. If the grass stands back up, it doesn’t need water. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering.
9. Set your lawnmower blade higher. Leaving the grass at 3” will allow it to retain more moisture.
10. Deep-soak your lawn. When watering the lawn, do it long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots. Put an empty tuna can on your lawn – when it’s full, you’ve watered about the right amount.
11. Water your lawn before noon when the sun is not as hot. Also avoid watering when it’s windy.
12. Consider not watering your lawn during a drought. If you let it go dormant, it will turn brown, but will return to its lush green appearance when the temperature cools and the rain comes.
13. Use a rain barrel to collect water from your roof to water your garden.
14. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks.
15. Use a commercial car wash that recycles water rather than washing your car yourself.
Before you turn on that faucet – kitchen, bath, or outdoors – think about your purpose. Is there a better way to do this? Thoughtful actions can preserve our water resources not only during this time of drought, but at any time.
I would love to know how you have been saving water this summer.
Photo courtesy of Microsoft online images.