Save Water, Save Money and Survive the Drought
The Western United States has been plagued by drought in recent years, and this summer has been no exception. With these extremely dry conditions and water shortages, thousands of homeowners have been forced to face tough sacrifices and premium pricing for their water use. Many have adapted to this "new normal" by changing their behavior and modifying their household plumbing to help them make the most of every drop. But these solutions aren't just for those in drought-stricken regions; anyone interesting in conserving water and saving money can put them into practice.
- Make a conscious effort to turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth, shaving and between washing dishes.
- Try to limit the length of your showers, and place a bucket in the tub to catch excess water that can be used to flush the toilet or water plants.
- Automatic dishwashers generally use less water than hand-washing — if you have one, use it!
- Instead of using the garbage disposal for all food scraps, compost what you can. You'll generate healthy soil for gardening while saving water in the kitchen.
- Switch your showerhead to a model certified by the Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense program. These showerheads restrict water consumption to a maximum of two gallons per minute.
- If you're in the market for a new washing machine, check with the Consortium of Energy Efficiency before you buy. The CEE not only specifies models that save energy, they single out those that use the smallest amount of water.
- Consider having a greywater recycling system installed in your home. These systems collect water from your showers, sinks and washing machine, treat it in storage tanks and use the treated water for outdoor irrigation and to flush the toilet.
- Landscape your yard with plants that are native to your region or that require small amounts of water, allowing you to minimize your outdoor irrigation needs.
- Check your faucets and water heater regularly for leaks, and fix them immediately. The water waste from even small leaks can add up quickly!
- Place a rain barrel under your gutter spouts to collect rainwater, which can be used to keep your plants and flowers quenched.