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Water Conservation


Water Use

Most of us take for granted an abundant supply of clean, fresh water.  We meet our daily demands when we turn on the faucet and get seemingly unlimited running water.  As the demand for water grows, water conservation and efficiency will be ever more important to protect water resources, especially during the spring and summer months.

Just how much water do we use each day?  Studies show wide variations in different parts of the country, and between urban and rural households.  On average, statistics show that in our part of the country a typical consumer uses 90-100 gallons of water per day.  We use the most for toilets, followed by bathing, laundry/dishes, and cooking/drinking, according to the American Water Works Association.

Water use varies with the time of day and season of the year.  Households use less water in the early morning and during the winter months.  Peak consumption is in the spring and summer, and when the family gets home in the late afternoon.

Water Conservation Tips

Bathing and Personal Care

When you brush your teeth, do not let the water run continuously.

When you shave, do not let the water run.  Fill the basin and dip your razor as needed.

Do not flush the toilet unnecessarily.  Each flush may use up to several gallons of water, depending on the toilet model.  Throw tissues, wipes, insects, and other trash into the wastebasket, not the toilet.

Try taking a "Navy" shower; get wet, turn off the water, lather up and scrub, then turn on the water to rinse.

Make sure to turn faucets off completely to avoid drips and slow leaks.  

Take short showers whenever possible, not baths.  Limit showers to five minutes or less.

Install flow restrictors on individual water fixtures like shower heads and faucets.  They automatically reduce flow and aerate the water.

If you take a bath, only partially fill the tub.  A good rule is five inches.

As you wait for shower water to heat up, collect the cold water in a bucket for watering plants.


Laundry

Wait until you have a full load before starting a wash to cut down on the number of loads, saving both water and energy.

If the washing machine has a water-level control, adjust it to the laundry load size to prevent unnecessary water use.

Check the wash machine hoses and look for leaks periodically.

Before using a permanent press cycle, read the manufacturer's directions.  This cycle may fill the tub an extra time, which can use extra amounts of water unnecessarily.  If so, use a different cycle.

Hand wash several items at the same time.  Use the final rinse water from one group of items as the wash water for the next group.

Cooking and Drinking Water

Use tight-fitting lids on pans to keep water from boiling away faster.

Cook food in as little water as possible.  Doing so also prevents the loss of nutritional value.

Select the proper sized pans for cooking.  Large pans require more cooking water than may be necessary.

Follow recipes carefully and do not overcook or measure out more water than necessary.

For a cold drink of water, fill a pitcher and place in the refrigerator instead of running the faucet until the water is cold.

Use a small pan of water to wash, peel, or clean vegetables rather the letting the water run.

Limit use of the garbage disposal since it requires a sizeable amount of water to operate properly.  Wait and use the disposal only once rather than several times.

Wash only full loads in the dishwasher.

Scrape or wipe dishes rather than rinsing if they are to be washed immediately in the dishwasher.

Follow your dishwasher manufacturer's instructions on how to best save water and energy.  Select shorter cycles when possible to use less water.

When hand washing dishes, use a pan of soapy water for washing and one of hot water for rinsing.  Doing so uses less water than a running faucet.

Use rinse water after it has cooled to water outdoor plants.

Household Cleaning

Clean up spills and remove spots as quickly as possible so you will not have to mop the floor or shampoo the carpet as often.

Vacuum rugs regularly so you will not have to shampoo them as often.

Wash windows outdoors with a bucket of soapy water.  Rinse quickly with a hose using a high-pressure, low volume, pistol-grip nozzle.

Plan household cleaning chores so that you can reuse water for certain activities.  Clean lightly soiled surfaces first, then the dirtier areas.  Doing several tasks at the same time can save water.

Clean the driveway, patio, sidewalks, and garage floor with a broom rather than a hose and water.

If you wash your car, consider using a mild detergent and parking the car on the grass.  Use a bucket of water to wash the car, and then rinse quickly with the hose.

Lawn and Garden

When planting a garden, group vegetables needing more water together so you can apply water efficiently to specific target areas.

Mulch shrubs and small trees to retain moisture in the soil.  Spread leaves, pine straw, or bark mulch on the ground around plants to both retain soil moisture and help eliminate weeds.

Remove weeds in landscaping or gardens to eliminate competition for water.

Plan your landscape or garden projects to minimize water needs and use water most efficiently.

Water thoroughly, but less frequently.  Doing so promotes a deeper grass root system to better withstand dry weather.

Talk with your local garden center about the most effective irrigation systems and devices.  "Trickle" or "drip" techniques use 25 to 50 percent less water than standard hoses or sprinklers.

Water your lawn before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.  Not only does this help minimize evaporation during the hottest parts of the day, it is also mandated by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division's outdoor watering schedule. 

Do not water when it is windy or during the heat of the day.  Set an alarm to remind you to move manual sprinklers to another section of lawn or to turn the water off.

Be alert to water waste while watering your lawn.  If you see water running down the driveway, into the street, or down a storm drain when watering, adjust your sprinklers or irrigation system to direct water back onto your lawn or reduce the total amount of time you are watering.

Check hoses, hose nozzles, and outdoor faucets periodically for leaks and malfunctions that can waste large amounts of water.

Water brown spots separately so that you do not over water adjacent areas.

During periods of limited rainfall, reduce the amount of fertilizer applied to avoid water-demanding new growth.

When you plant new grass, try a variety that withstands dry weather.  Consult the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service for more details.