In Texas, our conventional freshwater supplies
are already 75 to 80 percent developed. That’s why the more efficient
use of our precious water resources through water conservation and reuse
makes economic sense, both to preserve and extend limited water supplies
and to save Texans real money.
The biggest potential saver is you, the water customer. Consider
that even a 10 to 15 percent reduction in personal water use can save Texas’
water and sewer rate payers billions of dollars over the next 50 years.
The effort to conserve water must begin now, however, with everyone’s participation
For an investment of $10 to $20, homeowners can install two low-flow
shower heads, place dams or bottles in the toilet tank, install low-flow
aerators on the faucets, and repair dripping faucets and leaking toilets.
This could save the average household 10,000 to 25,000 gallons each year
for a family of four, and would pay for itself in less than a year!
Even more savings can be realized if good outdoor water conservation is
practiced for the lawn and garden.
Here are some ways to save both water and money at home:
Test toilets for leaks. Add a few drops of food coloring to the water in the toilet tank, but
do not flush the toilet. Watch to see if the coloring appears in
the bowl within a few minutes. It if does, the toilet has a silent
leak that needs to be repaired.
Use some type of toilet tank displacement device to reduce the volume of
water in the tank, but still provide enough for flushing. (Bricks
are NOT recommended because they eventually crumble and could damage the
working mechanisms.) Displacement devices are not recommended with
new low-volume flush toilets.
Do not use hot water when cold water will do. Period.
In the kitchen...
Fill a pan of water — or put a stopper in the sink — for washing
and rinsing pots, pans, dishes, and cooking implements rather than turning
on the water faucet each time a rinse is needed.
Never run the dishwasher without a full load. This will save water,
energy, detergent and money.
Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running water
from the tap until it is cool enough to drink is wasteful.
Use a small pan of cold water when cleaning vegetables rather than letting
the water run over them.
Always keep water conservation in mind. Avoid doing wasteful things
like making a huge pot of coffee if you’re only going to drink one or two
cups, or even throwing away a glass full of ice after it cooled a few swallows
of water. These things may not seem like much, but they add up over
In the Laundry...
Use the lowest possible water level setting on the washing machine.
Use cold water whenever possible. This saves energy, too, and conserves
the hot water for other uses. This is also better for most of today’s
Appliances and Plumbing...
Check water line connections and faucets for leaks. A slow drip can
waste as much as 170 gallons of water EACH DAY, or 5,000 gallons a month.
This will increase your water bill.
Repair leaky faucets promptly. It is easy to do, it costs very little
and can make a substantial savings in your water bills.
Make sure that the line from the water meter to your house is free of leaks.
To check, turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and water-using appliances.
The water meter should be read at 10 to 20 minute intervals. If it
continues to run or turn, a leak probably exists and needs to be located.
Insulate all hot water pipes to reduce the delays (and wasted water)
experienced while waiting for the water to heat up.
Set the thermostat on the hot water heater at a reasonable level.
Extremely hot settings waste water (because it takes some extra cold water
to make it usable) and energy and can even cause minor burns.
Some estimate that about 75 percent of the water used at home is used in
the bathroom. Taking a shower instead of a bath will usually save
water, and a low-flow showerhead may well be the single most effective
water conservation measure you can take.
Water only when needed and do not over-water. Soil can absorb only
so much moisture, and the rest will simply run off. A timer can help.
In the summer months, one and a half inches of water applied once a week
will keep most Texas grasses alive and healthy.
The best time to water lawns is in the morning during the hot summer months.
Otherwise, much of the water can simply evaporate between the sprinkler
and the lawn.
Use a sprinkler that throws large drops of water — rather than a fine mist
— to avoid evaporation. Sprinklers that send the water out on a low
angle also help control evaporation.
Set automatic sprinkler systems to provide thorough, but infrequent, watering.
Rain shut-off devices can prevent watering in the rain.
Use drip irrigation systems for bedded plants, trees or shrubs, or turn
soaker hoses upside-down so the holes are on the bottom. This will
help avoid evaporation.
Don’t water the streets, driveways or sidewalks...they will never grow
Condition the soil with mulch or compost before planting grass or flower
beds so the water will sink in rather than run off.
Do not “scalp” lawns when mowing during hot weather. Taller grass
holds moisture better.
Use a watering can or hand water with a hose in small areas of the
lawn that need extra attention, and for small flower beds along walks and
driveways. Hanging baskets can sometimes be watered more efficiently by
taking them down and placing them in the path of a sprinkler instead of
running water through the hose.
Don’t “sweep” walks and decks with water. Use a broom or rake instead.
Consider using water-wise plants. Learn what types of grass, shrubbery,
and bedding plants do best in our community. Chose plants that have
low water needs, are drought-tolerant, and are adapted to the area in which
they will be planted.
Water Conservation is making the most efficient use of our state’s precious
water resources. PRACTICE IT!