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Water Conservation

 Water Conservation

Water conservation has become an essential practice in all regions, even in areas where water seems abundant.

In addition to saving money on your utility bill, water conservation helps precent water pollution in nearby lakes, rivers and local watersheds. 

Conserving water can also extend the life of your septic systerm by reducing soil saturation, and reducing any pollution due to leaks. Overloading municipal sewer systems can also cause untreated sewage to flow to lakes and rivers. The smaller the amount of water flowing through these systems, the lower the likelihood of pollution. In some communities, costly sewage system expansion has been avoided by communitywide household water conservation. 

Water Conservation in the home...

1. Check faucets and pipes for leaks
A small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste 20 gallons of water per day. Larger leaks can         waste hundreds of gallons.
 
2. Don't use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket
Everytime you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash, five to seven gallons of water is wasted.

3. 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.

4. Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks
Read the hosue 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.

5. Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators
Inexpensive water-saving low-flow shower heads or restrictors are easy for the homeowner to install. Also, long, hot showers can use five to ten gallons every unneeded minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off.

6. Put a float booster in your toilet tank
A float booster or tank bank may save ten or more gallons of water per day.

7. Insulate your water pipes
It's easy and inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.

8. Take shorter showers
One way to cut down on water use is to turn off the shower after soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse. A four-minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water.

9. Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush
There is no need to keep the water running while brushing your teeth. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.

10. Rinse your razor in the sink
Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water. This will rinse your razor just as well as running water, with far less waste of water.

11. Use your dishwasher and clothes washer for only full loads
Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation. Most makers of dishwashing soap recommend not pre-rinsing dishes which is a big water savings. 
With clothes washers, avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses an added 5 gallons for the extra rinse. For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load. 

12. Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units
In-sink garburators' require lots of water to operate properly, and also add considerably to the volume of solids in a septic tank which can lead to maintenance problems. 

13. When washing dishes by hand, don't leave the water running for rinsing
If you have a double-basin, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have a single-basin sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse the with a spray device or a panful of hot water.

14. Don't let the faucet run while you clean vegetables
Just rinse them in a stoppered sink or a pan of clean water.

15. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge
Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful. Store drinking water in the fridge in a safe drinking bottle.

Water conservation in the yard and garden...

16. Plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants
If you are planting a new lawn, or overseeing an existing lawn, use drought-resistant grasses. Many beautiful shrubs and plants thrive with far less watering than other species.

17. Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants
Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. Adding 2-4 inches of organic material such as compost or bark mulch will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture.

18. Don't water the gutter
Position your sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days.

19. Water your lawn only when it needs it
A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn't need water. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering. Letting the grass grow taller (to 3") will also promoter water retention in the soil.

20. 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 that most good. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems.

21. Water during the early parts of the day; avoid watering when it's windy
Early morning is generally better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus. Early watering and late watering, also reduce water loss to evaporation. Watering early in the day is also the best defense against slugs and other garden pests.

22. Add organic matter and use efficient watering systems for shrubs, flower beds and lawns
Adding organic material to your soil will help increase its absorption and water retention. Areas which are already planted can be "top dressed" with compost or organic matter.

23. Don't run the hose while washing your car
Clean the car using a pail of soapy water. Use the hose only for rinsing - this simple practice can save as much as 150 gallons when washing a car. Use a spray nozzle when rinsing for more efficient use of water.

24. Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks

25. Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings
Leaks outside the house may not seem as bad since they're not as visible. But they can be just as wasteful as leaks indoors. Check frequently to keep them drip-free. Use hose washers at spigots and hose connections to eliminate leaks.

Water conservation comes naturally when everyone in the family is aware of its importance and parents take the time to teach children some of the simple water-saving methods around the home which can make a big difference.