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How Can You Conserve Water?

Mar 23, 2016 3:00:00 PM / by Tiffany Byrne

Are you taking a 20 minute shower? Do you leave the water running while washing dishes?

There are many theories and thoughts about our water supply.  Are we going to have enough in the future?  Is our water supply depleting?  We have stories from NASA, CBS News, and the National Geographic, these stories are telling us that we need learn how to conserve water.  Water conservation is using water efficiently and avoiding waste. Everyday use of water such as dishwasher use, laundry use and long hot showers significantly reduce clean water and add to more strain on septic and sewage systems which then lead to contamination of groundwater.  Conserving water is a national topic and the information that can be found on the web is abundant. 

Earth is made of 70 percent of water but only 1 percent of that is considered fresh, clean water available for use.

Tips for conserving water: 

  1. When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  2. Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  3. Run your dishwasher only when it is full and you could save 400 gallons a month.
  4. Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost instead and save gallons every time.
  5. Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.
  6. Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
  7. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save 3 gallons a minute. That's more than 1000 gallons a year.
  8. Direct downspouts and other runoff towards shrubs and trees, or collect and use for your
  9. Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You'll save up to 1000 gallons a month.
  10. Consider installing new appliances. They are more water and energy-efficient than older appliances. A new washing machine can save up to 20 gallon per load.
  11. Install low-volume toilets.
  12. Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a leak. It's easy to fix, and you can save more than 7000 gallons a year.
  13. Soak your pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  14. Do one thing each day that will save water. Every drop counts!
  15. Start a compost pile. Using compost when you plant adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
  16. Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
  17. Turn off the water while you shave and you can save more than 100 gallons a week.
  18. Do not use water to defrost your food, put it in your refrigerator to defrost.
  19. Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap water run cold
  20. Install Rain Barrels

What are Rain Barrels?

A Rain Barrel (rainwater tank) is a water tank used to collect and store rain water runoff, typically from rooftops via rain gutters.

Why install a Rain Barrel?

Drought and aquifer mining are increasing in terms of use. Many people are looking for a ways to minimize the impact of their municipal water supplies. Installing a rain barrel is way to help conserve water.  You will have your own water source in case of a drought.  You can water your garden from your rain barrel reserves.  Having your own rain barrel helps reduce runoff pollution by collecting water before it hits the fertilizer, and increase algae growth in lakes. Rainwater, unlike tap water, doesn’t have the salt and chemicals.


Photo courtesy of Emma Howell, Shawnee High School.

Some interesting facts about Rain Barrels: 1-inch of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof yields 623 gallons of water. Calculate the yield of your roof by multiplying the square footage of your roof by 623 and divide by 1,000. Depending on your roof area, a rain barrel can fill up when there has been as little as 1/10th-inch of rain. To collect twice this volume from the same downspout, connect the overflow hose from the first rain barrel to a second rain barrel.

Conserving water helps the community, the environment and may even help lower your electric bills.  Conserving water may also help keep moisture away from your house, keeping possible mold from growing in your home.

Check your local County website for different ways you can help and conserve your own water.  Many counties offer free classes on conserving water and how to build your own rain barrels. 

Tiffany Byrne

Written by Tiffany Byrne

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