Urban Water Conservation Tips
Here are some easy tips to help conserve water in the home and yard. Most can be accomplished by homeowners with very little cost.
In the Bathroom
- Install a low-flow showerhead that restricts the flow of water from the shower to 2.5 gallons per minute.
- Install a low-flow toilet that uses only 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
- Take short showers. Install a showerhead with a cutoff valve or turn the water off while soaping and turn it back on again to rinse.
- When brushing teeth, turn the water off until it is time to rinse.
- Do not let the water run while washing hands. Turn the water off while soaping and turn it on again to rinse.
- When shaving, fill the lavatory with hot water instead of letting the water run continuously.
- Test toilets for leaks. Add a few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet to the water in the toilet tank, but do not flush the toilet. Wait a few minutes to see if the coloring appears in the bowl. If so, the toilet has a silent leak that needs to be repaired.
- Use a toilet tank water displacement device, such as a toilet dam or bag. Also, a plastic bottle can be filled with stones or with water, recapped, and placed in the toilet tank. These devices will reduce the volume of water in the tank but will still provide enough for flushing. (Bricks are not recommended as they eventually crumble and can damage the flushing mechanism.) Displacement devices are not recommended for use with newer low-flow toilets.
- Never use the toilet as a trash can to dispose of bugs, cigarette butts, or other items. Unnecessary flushing wastes water and places an unnecessary burden on sewage treatment plants and septic tanks.
In the Kitchen
- Never run the dishwasher without having a full load.
- Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running water from the tap until it is cool.
- Keep conservation in mind when working in the kitchen. Small water savings, such as not making too much coffee or letting ice cubes melt in a sink, can add up over time.
In the Laundry
- Wash only a full load when using the washing machine. It takes about 32 to 59 gallons of water per load!
In the summer, outdoor water use can account for 50-80 percent of total home water use. Much of this water is wasted through inefficient landscape watering practices. Using water wisely without waste saves money and saves water for the future of West Texas.
- Please be aware of and abide by any landscape watering ordinance that your town or city has in place.
- Water lawns early in the morning during the hotter summer months to reduce evaporation losses.
- Use a sprinkler that throws large drops of water rather than a fine mist. This will reduce water losses from wind drift and evaporation.
- Consider use of drip irrigation for bedded plants, trees, or shrubs.
- Do not over-water or water too frequently.
- Use mulches to help reduce soil moisture losses.
- Do not "sweep" the driveway or sidewalk with water from the hose. Use a broom instead.
- Do not water the streets, sidewalks, and driveways. You won't grow a thing there! Also, stop your lawn watering before the water runs off your property and into the street.
- Use a bucket of soapy water and use the hose only for rinsing when washing the car.
- Consider use of drought-tolerant, native plant varieties for a more water-efficient landscape.
- Consider rainwater harvesting to collect/store rainfall for later use on the landscape.