We’ve all heard that Texas is in the grips of a severe drought and that people and wildlife are having a hard time as a result. While we can’t control the weather, there are things that we can do everyday in our homes and businesses to help conserve water and ensure there is enough for people and the environment during these dry times.
We have assembled some of our favorite tips below. Every drop of water saved is important and with no end in sight for this drought, it is necessary. It all comes down to using only what you need.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are plenty more things that you can do to conserve water. Find out what methods work for you and your family and go for it!
Top 10 Tips to Conserve Water:
- Only run the dishwasher or washing machine with a full load. If it is time to replace either of these appliances, check in with your utility about rebates for water-conserving versions and purchase those instead.
- Water your lawn on the right day. Are you odd or even? Most Texas cities restrict outdoor water use to one or two days a week during times of drought. Save water and avoid fines by learning and following your city’s schedule.
- Catch the condensation from your AC unit and use it in your yard. Depending on how your air conditioner is programmed, it can produce gallons of water per day. Catch that water in a bucket and put it on your garden, shrubs and trees.
- Turn the water off when you brush your teeth. This simple step can save up to 8 gallons of water per day.
- Fix leaky faucets. Leaky faucets can waste up to 7 gallons of water per day. To check for leaks at home, read your water meter and avoid using water for 2 hours. Read the meter again after this period. If the amount is different you have a leak.
- Fix running toilets. Running toilets can waste a lot of water. Fix these leaks as soon as you find them. Check with the manufacturer of your toilet for the proper replacement “flapper” to ensure maximum efficiency.
- Inspect your irrigation system. Have your system inspected by your water utility or a certified irrigator to make sure it is operating correctly, identify any problems and help you set it to run more efficiently. Many cities offer free inspections.
- Install faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads. These water saving devices are cheap and easy to install. Many utilities give them away to their customers. Check with your utility and pick up a few extras to share with your neighbors!
- Install a high efficiency toilet. Toilets account for about 25% of water used in the home. Depending on the age of your toilet, you can save up to 5 gallons per flush by replacing older models. Check with your city for possible rebates.
- Make water conservation a whole-family activity. Challenge your family members to think of new ways to save water and to be part of the solution
Want to learn more about water conservation?
- Water Saving Tips for Your Yard or Garden: http://www.texaswatermatters.org/pdfs/articles/making_every_drop_count.pdf
- Water IQ: Know Your Water (Info on your city’s rebates and restrictions): http://www.wateriq.org/apps/wateriq/default.aspx
- 100 Ways to Conserve Water: http://www.wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve/index.php
Want to learn more about the drought?
- State Drought Monitor: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_state.htm?TX,S
- Office of the State Climatologist: http://atmo.tamu.edu/osc/
- National Drought Mitigation Center (Drought Basics): http://www.drought.unl.edu/DroughtBasics.aspx
Posted by: Jennifer Walker, Water Resources Specialist, Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club