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Drought Information | Saving Water Indoors | Saving Water Outdoors

Drought Information

Saving Water Indoors

  • Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or cleaning.

  • Check that your home is leak-free. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period during which you are certain that no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.

  • Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. If your faucet is dripping at the rate of one drop per second, you can waste 2,700 gallons per year.

  • Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes (flush as soon as test is done, since food coloring may stain tank). If the handle frequently sticks in the flush position, letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it. And avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and other such waste in the trash rather than the toilet.

  • Take shorter showers. Replace your showerhead with a low-flow version.

  • Use the minimum amount of water needed for a bath by closing the drain first and filling the tub only one-third full. Stopper the tub before turning the water on. The initial burst of cold water can be warmed by adding hot water later.

  • Don't let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth while waiting for water to get hot; then wash or shave after filling the basin.

  • Retrofit all wasteful household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors.

  • Operate dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are fully loaded, or properly set the water level for the size of load you are using.

  • When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet.

  • Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water.

  • Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or by using the defrost setting on your microwave.

  • Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste instead of using a garbage disposal.

  • Insulate your water pipes. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.

  • Never install a water-to-air heat pump or air-conditioning system. Air-to-air models are just as efficient and do not waste water.

  • Install water-softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on vacation.

  • Check your pump. If you have a well at your home, listen to see if the pump kicks on and off while the water is not in use. If it does, you have a leak.

  • When adjusting water temperatures, instead of turning water flow up, try turning it down. If the water is too hot or cold, turn the offender down rather than increasing water flow to balance the temperatures.

Saving Water Outdoors

  • Don't overwater your lawn. As a general rule, lawns only need watering every 5 to 7 days in summer and every 10 to 14 days in winter. A hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for as long as two weeks. And water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation.

  • Don't water your street, driveway, or sidewalk. Position your sprinklers so that your water lands on the lawn and shrubs...not the paved areas.

  • Install sprinklers that are the most water-efficient for each use. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are examples of water-efficient methods of irrigation.

  • Regularly check sprinkler systems and timing devices to be sure they are operating properly. It is now the law that "anyone who purchases and installs an automatic lawn sprinkler system must install a rain sensor device or switch which will override the irrigation cycle of the sprinkler system when adequate rainfall has occurred." To retrofit your existing system, contact an irrigation professional for more information.

  • Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches. A lawn cut higher encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely clipped lawn.

  • Avoid overfertilizing your lawn. The application of fertilizers increases the need for water. Apply fertilizers that contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.

  • Mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulching also helps to control weeds that compete with plants for water.

  • Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Once established, they do not need to be watered as frequently and they usually will survive a dry period without any watering. Group plants together based on similar water needs.

  • Do not hose down your driveway or sidewalk. Use a broom to clean leaves and other debris from these areas. Using a hose to clean a driveway can waste hundreds of gallons of water.

  • Outfit your hose with a shut-off nozzle that can be adjusted down to fine spray so that water flows only as needed. When finished, turn it off at the faucet instead of at the nozzle to avoid leaks.

  • Use hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate leaks.

  • Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. Your garden hoses can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours, so don't leave the sprinkler running all day. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn it off.

  • Check all hoses, connectors and spigots regularly.

  • Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water. If you wash your own car, park on the grass to do so.

  • Avoid the installation of ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless the water is recycled.

  • If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter. A single backflushing with a traditional filter uses from 180 to 250 gallons or more of water.

Sources: South Florida Water Management District and Water - Use it Wisely

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