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Drought and Water Saving Tips

Related Pages: Local Water & Drought Data

 Tips and Suggestions

Some suggestions and tips from Athens-Clarke County:

  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. Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light, and water.
  3. If your shower can fill a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, then replace it with a water-efficient showerhead. You can save more than 500 gallons a week.
  4. Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full and you could save 1000 gallons a month.
  5. Hand-watering of plants and yards from Athens-Clarke County public water sources is not permitted under current watering restrictions.
  6. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for cold drinks, so that every drop goes down you not the drain.
  7. Only fill the bathtub as much as you need. Bathe babies and small children together when possible to conserve water.
  8. Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin or a partly filled sink - not under running water.
  9. To save water and time, consider washing your face or brushing your teeth while in the shower.
  10. Install an Ultra Low Flow Toilet if you donít have one. They use 1.6 gallons per flush, instead of 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush for pre-1992 toilets.
  11. Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
  12. Consider installing an instant water heater on your sinks so you don't have to let the water run while it heats up. This will reduce water heating costs for your household.
  13. Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  14. Donít waste a toilet flush. Drop tissues and other garbage in the trash instead of flushing it and save gallons every time.
  15. For hanging baskets, planters and pots, place ice cubes under the moss or dirt to give your plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate water overflow.
  16. We're more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don't forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses for leaks.
  17. Place a toilet dam or bottle filled with water in your toilet tank to cut down on the amount of water used for each flush, but make sure it doesnít block the flushing equipment.
  18. Donít bother rinsing the dishes in the sink before you put them in the dishwasher. Scrape them clean and let the machine do the rest.
  19. Begin planning future outdoor landscaping with potential droughts in mind by researching appropriate plants. Consider rain gardens, xeriscaping and drought-tolerant plants.
  20. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
  21. If you have a well at home, check your pump periodically. If the pump turns on and off while the water is not being used, you have a leak.
  22. According to the EPA, the average person unknowingly wastes up to 30 gallons of water every day. Think about how you use water and how you can use it more efficiently.
  23. Using pine straw, bark chips or ground hardwood mulch on the roots of plants and trees helps the soil retain water.
  24. If you are hand laundering your clothes, put a stopper in the washtub for both wash and rinse. Letting the faucet run will waste your water!
  25. 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 600 gallons a month.
  26. Select the proper size pans for cooking. Large pans require more cooking water than may be necessary.
  27. Avoid overseeding your lawn with winter grass. Once established, ryegrass needs water every three to five days, whereas dormant Bermuda grass needs water only once a month.
  28. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save 4 gallons a minute. That's 200 gallons a week for a family of four.
  29. Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost instead and save gallons every time.
  30. Pre-treat stains on your clothes with a stain-removing formula before putting them in the wash machine. You can avoid rewashing your clothes and save water.
  31. If a toilet handle frequently sticks in the flush position and lets water run constantly, replace or adjust it.
  32. Instead of throwing away ice left over from your to-go cups, consider dropping the ice cubes into your house plants.
  33. Take the time to educate your children about what they can do to conserve water. Take a mental walk through their day and point out specific water-saving strategies.
  34. Consider not only your home usage, but ways in which water efficiency can be improved at your place of work.
  35. Turn the water off while you shampoo and condition your hair and you can save more than 50 gallons a week.
  36. Check the water taps in your home to see if they all have aerators or spray taps. An aerator mixes air with the water, which cuts the flow and reduces splashing.
  37. Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on top of the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
  38. Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  39. Microwave, steam, or use a pressure cooker to cook vegetables. It will retain more flavor and use less water than traditional boiling.
  40. Make sure to turn your faucets all the way off. If water continues to drip, make repairs or call maintenance as soon as possible.
  41. Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so rain water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
  42. Make sure you know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save gallons of water and damage to your home if a pipe were to burst.
  43. Take shorter showers. An 8-minute shower uses about 17 gallons, while an efficient shower lasts 3 or 4 minutes and uses 7.5 gallons. Use a timer if necessary.
  44. If you are purchasing a new dishwasher or laundry washing machine, consider purchasing a water-efficient model.
  45. Create a rain barrel to harvest rainwater that hits your home or garage. This will help control stormwater runoff and helps store water to use on plants during dry times.
  46. Don't let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin. You can save over 100 gallons a week.
  47. Avoid planting turf in areas that are hard to water such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
  48. Collect water drips from air conditioning units or collection buckets on dehumidifiers for use on plants or trees.
  49. Plug the bathtub before turning the water on, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
  50. While washing your hands or face, donít let the water run while you lather the soap.
  51. Donít turn on your faucet full blast when just a trickle of water will do.
  52. Avoid using the sinkís garbage disposal to chop up food materials that can be composted. The compost can then be used around plants to retain moisture and help save more water.
  53. Properly dry, air out and reuse towels whenever possible to avoid additional laundering. Wait until necessary to launder bed linens and blankets.
  54. Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip to 20 degrees F to prevent pipes from bursting or freezing.
  55. Turn water flows down to adjust temperatures. If the water is too hot or cold, turn either the hot or cold down rather than turning the other up to balance the temperatures.
  56. Insulate your water pipes. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.
  57. Instead of washing your face, use cleansing facial wipes. The wipes donít require water and effectively clean your face, even removing makeup.
  58. Look for appliances and fixtures that use the new WaterSense marking from the Environmental Protection Agency. This label will help guide consumers to water-efficient models in the near future.
  59. Shave your face or legs less frequently to save water. Also consider using an electric razor or non-water based hair removal method.
  60. Although not as effective as soap & water, antibacterial hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol can give a quick hand cleaning.
  61. Know how to read your water bill. Multiply usage by 7.48 to figure gallons used. Divide this number by the number of days on the bill to determine your daily usage. Set goals to reduce from there.
  62. Think twice before washing clothes. Use fabric freshening products on jeans or shirts in order to run your wash less often. If clothes are only wrinkled, but not dirty, use the dryer.
  63. Buy a 2.5 gallon package of water with a spigot on it. Put it on your kitchen counter and use it for rinsing and cooking water.
  64. Use environmentally-friendly disposable/compostable plates instead of washable plates during meals. This cuts down on dishwasher runs and save water.
  65. When drinking beverages other than water, donít use a cup - drink directly from single-use recyclable bottles or cans. This eliminates the need to wash dirty cups and the use of ice.
  66. Turn off the water to your toilets. Instead, capture used water from showers, sinks and faucets for flushing. This use of grey & black water is permitted locally and can save gallons per day.
  67. Only rinse recyclables with minimal water before putting them in collection bins. Plastics with food residue may need wiping, but glass & metal is recycled at high temperatures that vaporize food.
  68. Toilets, showerheads & faucets often have the number of gallons of water per minute used printed on them. Use these numbers Ė or the lack of a number Ė to consider getting more efficient ones.
  69. Use gel blocks or freeze packs instead of making ice for keeping items cold. Consider placing drinks in the freezer for a short time to cool down.
  70. Share a shower with someone. Just make sure you use less water than you would taking two.
  71. Consider installing instant cut-off shower fixtures. They allow water temperature to remain the same when turning off water for lathering/shampooing.
  72. Reduce the number of showers you take in a day to no more than one. Plan activities in a way that avoids multiple or even single showers on some days.
  73. Donít wash your hair every time you shower if it doesnít need it. You can use talcum powder to dry-wash your hair and then brush it out.
  74. When washing dishes by hand, use the least amount of detergent possible. This minimizes rinse water needed.

Other links and tips:


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02.10.2012