Contrary to popular belief, you do not need expensive equipment or a new plumbing system to conserve water. Small behavioral changes matter more than fancy gadgets, saving you dollars on the water bill and hundreds of gallons of water per year. It all comes down to turning off the water during every possible moment and using it effectively. The five tips below will help you get started on the road to water conservation and give you the satisfaction of not wasting a precious resource.
A regular kitchen faucet bleeds five gallons of water every two minutes, so instead of running it constantly while you wash the dishes try filling up the sink once. Let the dishes soak or wash them all at once. Apply this practice to washing vegetables and fruits by filling a pan or bowl instead of holding them under running water. The dishwasher also eats up plenty of water, so instead of running it with five plates only run it when full. This alone saves 10 to 20 gallons of water per day.
Consider taking short, three minute showers and avoiding baths altogether. Better yet, try turning off the water while you soap up in the shower. The easiest way to reduce water usage in the shower, however, is to install a low-flow shower head. This device does all the work for you. While you are in the bathroom, also remember to turn off the water when brushing your teeth, lathering your hands and washing your face. To take water conservation in the bathroom to the next level, install a low-flush toilet and only flush after use. Low flush toilets save about 35% more water than conventional toilets.
Like the dishwasher, only run the washer when full and be sure to select the correct load size. The larger the size, the more water used. When hand washing, fill the sink or tub with water and turn off the faucet rather than washing the clothes under running water. Once you finish, recycle the rinse water for landscaping and gardening purposes or to water household plants. Called Gray Water, this recycled water should never be used for cooking or drinking.
Landscaping uses the most water of an average household. To conserve, program the automatic sprinklers to go off in the early morning, late evening and cool days to reduce evaporation. Place the sprinklers in areas that water only the landscaping and not the sidewalks or front porch. This ensures that you use the water effectively. While you are outside, save a whopping 150 gallons by turning off the hose when washing your car.
Selecting indigenous plants that grow well in the area saves water, as they retain water in the soil up to 50% better than non indigenous plants. Plant flowers and shrubs in the fall to take advantage of greater rainfall and lower temperatures. Longer grass also helps retain water in the soil, so let the stalks climb just a little bit higher than usual and save water in the process.