How well do you conserve water?
Until recently, most of north Texas was in some stage of drought and water use regulations, making it’s more important than ever for us to seek out ways to conserve this precious resource.
The government’s EPA estimates that the average family of four uses 146,000 gallons of water per year, at a cost of $700. With just a few small changes, however, that cost could drop by as much as 28%. Learn more about water from the EPA
You’ll save on more than just your water bill, too. You may save on Collin County taxes.
This is because water management is often handled at the municipal level and as water usage grows, so does the need for costly investment in water treatment and delivery systems. Less usage means lower costs.
You’ll also enjoy lower home energy bills. 25 percent of a home’s energy bill is used to heating water for home use.
So, with these benefits in mind, here are a few ways to cut your household water usage.
50% of outdoor watering is wasted
In Collin County of course we all think first of our lawn, landscape and trees, served by sprinkler systems. The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) says that sprinkler systems account for 60% of the District water usage. This is certainly the main restriction. Check your sprinkler or irrigation system, readjust or replace sprinkler heads. Currently lawns and landscapes in McKinney where I live, can be watered no more than one day per week.
Catch Your Shower Water
Nobody likes to step into a cold shower, and we sometimes run our showers for 5 minutes before stepping in. Even with today’s low-flow shower heads, that’s 10 gallons of water wasted. Instead of allowing pre-shower water to run down the drain, catch it in a bucket, then use it to water house plants and your garden.
Stop Pre-Rinsing Dishes
Today’s dishwashers are heavy-duty food busters. Don’t pre-rinse dishes in the sink, only to move them to the dishwasher where the job will be duplicated. Instead, use a wet sponge to wipe dishes clean, then place them in the dishwasher. The job will get done just as well. Or, for caked on foods, follow the steps above then start the dishwasher. After 3 minutes, pause the cycle to allow water to sit-and-soak on your dishes. Then, restart the cycle as normal.
Test Your Toilets
A single leaking toilet can spill 60 gallons of water per day and there are several places where leaks can occur. The toilet may have a worn out flapper; or, a damaged gasket under the flush valve; or, a crack in the overflow tube. One clear sign of a leak is having to jiggle the handle to make the toilet stop running.
To test for leaks, try “the dye test”. Fill the toilet tank with food coloring or instant coffee to a deep color and wait 30 minutes. If any of the coloring finds it way to the toilet bowl, you know you have a leak.
In addition to the tips above, the EPA keeps a list of water-saving steps on its website. See how many steps you can take to reduce your home water usage.
(Image courtesy : Microsoft clip art)