Inside the Home:
- Put a plastic bottle or a plastic bag weighted with pebbles and filled with water in your toilet tank. Displacing water in this manner allows you to use less water with each flush. Better yet, for even greater savings, replace your water-guzzling five to seven gallon a flush toilet with a one and a half gallon, ultra-low flush model.
- Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors.
- Check toilet for leaks. Put dye tablets or food coloring into the tank. If color appears in the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak that should be repaired.
- Shorten your showers. Even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month.
- Don’t use your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
- Turn off the water while shaving. Fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of water to rinse your razor.
- Run only full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine.
- If you wash dishes by hand--and that’s the best way--don’t leave the water running for rinsing. If you have two sinks, fill one with rinse water. If you only have one sink, use a spray device or short blasts instead of letting the water run.
- When washing dishes by hand, use the least amount of detergent possible. This minimizes rinse water needed.
- Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. This beats the wasteful habit of running tap water to cool it for drinking.
- Don’t defrost frozen foods with running water. Either plan ahead by placing frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or defrost them in the microwave.
- Don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Rinse them in a filled sink or pan.
- Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage more (even better--compost!).
Outside the Home:
- Water your lawn only when it needs it. Step on your grass. If it springs back, when you lift your foot, it doesn’t need water. So set your sprinklers for more days in between watering. Better yet, especially in times of drought, water with a hose. And best of all, convert your lawn to native plants.
- Don’t water the sidewalks, driveway or gutter. Adjust your sprinklers so that water lands on your lawn or garden where it belongs-- and only there.
- Deep-soak your lawn. When watering the lawn, do it long enough for the moisture to soak down to the roots where it will do the most good. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems. Put an empty tuna can on your lawn - when it’s full, you’ve watered about the right amount.
- Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Chunks of bark, peat moss or gravel slows down evaporation.
- If you have a pool, use a pool cover to cut down on evaporation. It will also keep your pool cleaner and reduce the need to add chemicals.
- Water during the cool parts of the day. Early morning is better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus.
- Don’t water the lawn on windy days. There’s too much evaporation.
- Cut down watering on cool and overcast days and don’t water in the rain. Adjust or deactivate automatic sprinklers.
- Set lawn mower blades one notch higher. Longer grass means less evaporation.
- Tell your children not to play with the garden hose. If you allow your children to play in the sprinklers, make sure it’s only when you’re watering the yard.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks.
- Don’t run the hose while washing your car. Use a bucket of water and a quick hose rinse at the end.
- Check for hidden water leaks. Read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak. Be sure to use the complete meter reading to the tenths of a gallon in order to get the best results. To learn how to read your water meter Click on this downloadable PDF/link
- Check your toilets for leaks. Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install. To go to a website with practical information on how to repair a toilet, click here http://www.toiletology.com/index.shtml.
Although we live in a warm climate, severe cold weather sometimes occurs. If it does, and you haven’t made adequate preparations, the results can be disastrous. When water inside a pipe freezes it expands. The resulting pressure can cause the pipe to burst. A few simple steps now can save you a lot of money later. The Water District recommends the following:
- Insulate any and all pipes that are exposed to cold air. Hardware and building supply stores sell pipe insulation materials that are easy to install. If you use electric heat tapes, be sure they are UL listed and that any extension cords are properly grounded.
- If the temperature is expected to stay below freezing for several hours, it’s a good idea to cut off the water and drain the pipes.
- Many water lines are installed behind cabinets and in the attic. Keeping the doors to cabinets, closets, and the attic open during the coldest periods allows your interior heat to help protect the pipes. IF YOU LEAVE CABINETS OPEN, PLEASE REMOVE ANY CLEANING SUPPLIES OR CHEMICALS TO KEEP CHILDREN FROM GETTING TO THEM!