Saving Water Outdoors
- Watering Trees and Shrubs: Mature trees and shrubs are valuable and can be expensive to replace. During a drought, water trees and shrubs deeply and infrequently. This will encourage deep roots and make plants more drought tolerant. Using a soaker hose can be a good way to water deeply. If you have sprinklers, use the cycle and soak method to reduce runoff.
- Watering Lawns: During a drought, consider reducing or eliminating lawn watering. Because lawns use a lot of water, this can save a considerable amount of water. When watering lawns remember to use the cycle and soak method to reduce runoff.
- Mulch, Mulch, Mulch: The single most important thing you can do for your trees and shrubs is to maintain a two- to three-inch layer of mulch in all planting areas. This will maintain soil moisture and reduce plant stress during the hot summer. Don’t use a blower in shrub beds as it removes mulch.
- Have a Leak? The best way to check for a leak is to look at your water meter. There is a low flow indicator on the meter that will move if water is being used. Learn how to read your water meter.
- Water Early or Late: Outdoor watering between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. is prohibited. You can save water by irrigating in the early morning or in the evening when temperatures are cooler.
- Sweep, Don't Spray: Hosing down a driveway or patio is prohibited. Save up to 10 gallons per minute by using a broom.
- Inspect Sprinklers and Drip: Check your irrigation system for broken or misaligned sprinkler heads. Also, check drip systems for missing or broken emitters. Maintaining the system in good working order will save water and keep the landscape looking good.
- Irrigation Timer: Irrigation timers can waste a considerable amount of water if not managed properly. Check the schedule regularly to ensure you are only watering when you want to. Alternatively, turn the timer to the off position and just turn it on when you want to water.
Saving Water Indoors
- Toilets: Check toilets for leaks and replace old flappers as needed. A leaking toilet can waste hundreds of gallons per day. If your toilets were installed prior to 1994, consider replacing them. Older toilets use more than 3.5 gallons per flush. New toilets use only 1.28 gallons per flush and perform better than ever.
- Clothes Washer and Dishwasher: Run clothes washers and dishwashers with full loads only. If your clothes washer is an older top loading model, consider replacing it with a new high-efficiency model. New clothes washers use less than half the water of older models and save energy as well.
- Showerheads: Reducing shower time can save more than two gallons per minute. If your showerheads are older high-volume models, consider replacing them with new high-efficiency showerheads. Look for one that has a flow rate of less than 1.8 gallons per minute.
- Hand Washing Dishes: It is generally more water-efficient to use a dishwasher than to hand wash. But when washing dishes by hand, do not let the water run. Instead fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
- Shaving and Brushing Teeth: Turn off the faucet when shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Garbage Disposal: Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, you can compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.
- Bucket in the Shower: Many homeowners use a bucket in the shower to catch water. This can be used to water plants or flush the toilet.
- Avoid Rinsing Dishes: Instead of rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, scrape food scraps into a compost bin. Modern dishwashers are pretty good at cleaning stuck on food.
- Toilet Flushing: Consider whether or not to flush the toilet after every use.