Practicing water conservation saves you money, protects the health of your family and reduces the risk of damaging your access to quality drinking water. Water conservation also prevents water pollution-which hurts the environment and ultimately costs money to remedy. Here are a few tips for conserving water in your home:
Although water use may vary somewhat from family to family, here is how the typical American family uses water:
The biggest potential for water conservation occurs in the areas that see the greatest use. Examine these areas first. It's also important to verify that your system as a whole is free from leaks. If your water meter doesn't read the same amount at the start and end of any given two hour period where no water is being used, you may have a leak.
Showers and Baths (20%)
Clothes and Dish Washing (16%)
Dishes washed by hand should be quickly rinsed under a low stream from the faucet, not rinsed in a large basin of water.
Potable Uses (9%)
Lawns & Gardens (36%)
There are hundreds of other ways to save water-and even if the savings are small, every drop counts. Encourage your friends, neighbors and employers practice water conservation, and support projects that create awareness and promote reuse.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
I try to do one or more things every day to save on water usage. It also helps lowers utility bills over the month.
By Gladys Hill
We have been on water rationing here because we are in a draught here in Colorado so here is a real old fashioned idea for saving water. We made a rain barrel. It was as easy as putting a 50 gallon Trash barrel under our down spout to save as much rain water as we could when it did rain. I know people are worried about West Nile Virus but if you keep a good eye on the rain barrel and put a couple of good squirts of plain old dish soap when you see anything in the water you can have a free source of water to water your plants We kept a vegtable garden going all one summer by this method. The dish soap will not hurt your plants as it is very very diluted. On the internet thier are even instructions for putting a spigot on the bottom like an ice tea jug so that you could cover the top. And I guess we could have covered ours when it was not going to rain but we just never knew when the weatherman was telling the truth:) But this is a good way to conserve water and if more people were to use it, It would help save on thier cities water supplies.
Keep a bottle of Woolite or liquid laundry soap by the lavatory. While you are waiting for running water to warm for a shower, sponge out those panty hose or other item. Makes good use of water that would just go down the drain.
By Gladys Hill
In summer I use a reverse cycle air conditioner which removes moisture from the air and 'drips' it outside. A bucket underneath gives me water for pot plants/the garden. I do the same with the water escaping from the pressure relief valve of my solar hot water system.
I collect all first run off cold water from the shower and sinks in a bucket, for kitchen use if its freshly collected otherwise for the dogs or garden.
I redirect all shower, bathroom washbasin and washing machine water to the garden. Be careful doing this though as there are 'rules' to follow to do this in a hygienic and environmentally friendly way.
In estimates I have seen up to 1/3 of clean, potable household water is used to flush toilets. I have a composting toilet which uses no water and is, surprisingly, less 'smelly' than a conventional toilet!
I live in Australia in an area of 400-500mm rainfall annually, the vast majority of that in winter. Summers are long, hot and dry and my entire water supply for my house and animals is from rainwater collection off the roof to rainwater tanks, so every drop counts for me - aspecially in summer.
Set a timer for 5 minutes and take a 5 minute shower. This can save up to 1000 gallons per month. It saves on utility bills also.
By Gladys Hill
Always soak pots and pans. Never scrub under running water. I always dip them in dish pan water. Take them out and set aside, and let them soak while doing the other dishes. The food inside them will be easy to remove. Saves elbow grease and water.
By Gladys Hill
how clean can you get in 5 minutes? It sure takes longer than that to wash my hair.
Some great ideas, folks, and especially you, Gladys. I would add this note about the pots and pans, though: if they're cast iron, never let them see soap. Scrub them with a (soap-free) rag, a dab of hot water, and table salt, rinse them in scalding hot water (no soap) and dry them well, then put them away. Don't ever soak your cast iron, even in plain water... you'll need to recondition the surface if you do. Good cast iron takes a good while to get the surface "just right", so be careful and don't mess it up.
When I'm washing dishes I run the water into jugs until it's nice & Warm. Or sometimes I just keep filling animals water dishes til it warms up. I stack sticky pots next to the bucket of suds & scrub & rinse the dishes over them.This generally loosens any gunk they may have on them .
When I fry, I wash the skillet while it's still almost hot,it gets a lot cleaner that way.I use nonstick skillets & some but not all nonstick pots . I spray baking or microwaving dishes with "pam",it helps a Lot.
I have long oily hair which I don't plan on cutting .
I can take a short time shower when I'm not washing my hair.
I can also tolerate cold shower water for part of my shower. This comes from having a busted heating element for 3 months last year due to lack of fundage.Brrrr>
I couldn't possibly take a 5 minute shower, but that doesn't mean I have to run 10 or so minutes of water either. After the initial "wetting" of body and hair, I turn the water off while I shampoo, shave my legs, etc. I have to briefly run the water during this process to rinse the shampoo out so that I can add in conditioner, but I've found I still only have the water running for less than 5 minutes even with a longer final rinse. I've plugged the tub to catch and measure the water used during a "regular" shower and my "water on/off" shower - I use less than half by turning the water off when I can!
I also collect water that runs while waiting for it to heat up, water used to boil eggs, etc and use it to flush my toilet or water the plants. These measures have reduced my water bill considerably.
I lived in San Francisco in 90 or 91 and water shortage was bad, we were asked to conserve.
My aunt went nuts, showers were timed 5 mins!
It was horrible the things she did to cut water use down while guy next door watered lawn washed car
Point is when MANDATORY usage came along my
aunt's house was reduced by 60% and the guy next door only 30%...the reason we were told
because my aunt did such a good job and had low
water usage on volunteer basis she would be able
to cut back more easier.................
It is what happened and it was NO fun.
BEWARE, I mean conserve just don't go crazy.
I forgot to mention when Mandatory water cutback
came around if you dared to go over the alloted
numbers you were FINED and it was costly.....
im old fashioned, so i save rain water in a barrel when it rains and i bath in water that barely covers the top of my foot, may sound strange but i guess i am old fashioned.
Put a brick into the cistern of your toilet it cuts back the amount of water you use when you flush
Thanks for sharing all of your tips. I plan on making use of some of them.
I keep a large bucket in the shower to catch the cold water as it heats up, and I always keep a bucket in the sink to catch my rinse water as I do the dishes..by hand, I try only to use the dishwasher once a week. I use the caught water in the garden. My water bill is very low. Hope this helps someone who conserves.
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