With abundant rainfall in Washington, it can be difficult to understand the need to conserve water. However, population growth and the escalating cost of producing water and maintaining its quality dictate that we use water wisely. The average Ridgefield Residence uses about 200 gallons of water each day!
Some of that water may be going down the pipe needlessly. In the United States, the average toilet uses 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush, and the average shower as much as 5 gallons per minute. Leaky toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons each day.
Water Conservation Tips
You can make simple changes around your home that save hundreds of gallons of water a week, which may represent significant financial savings in your utility bills. To get started, here are some everyday and long-term water conservation tips.
Indoor Water Conservation Tips
- Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket. Each flush wastes water.
- Check toilets and faucets for leaks and fix any problems immediately. A leaky faucet, dripping once per second, wastes six gallons of water a day.
- Run your dishwasher only when it’s full.
- Wash only full loads of laundry or use the proper water level setting for your load size.
- Don’t leave the water running when brushing your teeth or shaving. With the tap running at full force, shaving takes 20 gallons of water, teeth-brushing takes 10.
- Take shorter showers or use less water in your bath. A full bathtub requires about 36 gallons of water. A five-minute shower using a water-conserving showerhead will use just 15 to 25 gallons.
- Consider installing water-efficient toilets, faucets and showerheads as a water-saving investment. When buying new water-using appliances, purchase one with water conservation features.
- Use the sink garbage disposal sparingly. Better yet, compost your vegetable waste.
Water Conservation Tips
If you have an automated irrigation system, make sure that your preferences are set to the appropriate days and times. If you water manually, try setting a reminder to maintain a consistent schedule.
Schedule of Watering
In the summer months, follow the Odd/Even Watering Program:
- If the last digit of your house number is odd, water on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday
- If the last digit of your house number is even, water on Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday
- Friday is a non-watering day
Following this schedule helps to reduce daily demands and avoid temporary water pressure issues during high use periods.
Water in two 7-minute intervals, one in the morning and one in the evening, or 14 minutes in the morning or evening. Avoid watering during the middle of the day to reduce evaporation.
More Tips for Irrigation
- Water efficiently using a drip system or a sprinkler with a low application rate and check for even coverage. Established grass only needs an inch of water each week.
- Never water the sidewalk, driveway, or street. Make sure the sprinkler aim is limited to the lawn or garden.
- When watering by hand, turn your spigot on halfway.
- Make sure there are no leaks within your irrigation system.
- Make sure there are no slight drips coming from your hose bibs when shut off.
- If you have difficulty setting or reprogramming your irrigation system, look online for instructions from the manufacturer. If you still cannot reschedule, consider switching to manual operation.
Water Efficiency in Your Yard
- Ensure there are no leaks in pools, hot tubs, and water features.
- Go native. Use native or Pacific Northwest-friendly plants and trees in your yard instead of green lawns. Native plants are suited to our seasonal weather and are more disease- and insect-resistant.
- Plant in the spring or fall, when watering requirements are lower.
- Improve your soil by working organic materials, such as peat moss or compost, into the soil to help retain water. Consider aerating your yard to help it retain water.
- Apply mulch around plants and trees to retain moisture and inhibit weed growth.
- Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways, sidewalks, and porches. This conserves water and avoids runoff that travels to our rivers and streams.
- If possible, use a car wash to wash your vehicle. If you must wash at home, rinse your car once, wash from a bucket, and rinse quickly again. Be sure to use a shut-off nozzle on your hose.
- Collect rainwater in a barrel and use it to water your garden.
- Use porous materials for walkways and patios to keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff.
A Note on Water Leaks
Leaks are the number one problem for water conservation and account for more than five percent of all water use. Check faucets and hose connections for leaks. Inspect pipes for pinhole leaks, leaking joints, etc.
Obtain directions on how to check for leaks in your house by visiting the Home Water Works website.