Drought and Water Saving Tips
Local Water & Drought Data
Tips and Suggestions
Some suggestions and tips from Athens-Clarke County:
- 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.
- Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with
other plants for nutrients, light, and water.
- 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.
- Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full and
you could save 1000 gallons a month.
- Hand-watering of plants and yards from Athens-Clarke County public
water sources is not permitted under current watering restrictions.
- 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.
- Only fill the bathtub as much as you need. Bathe babies and small
children together when possible to conserve water.
- Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin or a partly filled sink - not
under running water.
- To save water and time, consider washing your face or brushing your
teeth while in the shower.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape
- Donít waste a toilet flush. Drop tissues and other garbage in the
trash instead of flushing it and save gallons every time.
- 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.
- We're more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don't forget
to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses for leaks.
- 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.
- 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.
- Begin planning future outdoor landscaping with potential droughts in
mind by researching appropriate plants. Consider rain gardens,
xeriscaping and drought-tolerant plants.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Using pine straw, bark chips or ground hardwood mulch on the roots
of plants and trees helps the soil retain water.
- 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
- 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.
- Select the proper size pans for cooking. Large pans require more
cooking water than may be necessary.
- 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.
- 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.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost instead and save gallons
- 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.
- If a toilet handle frequently sticks in the flush position and lets
water run constantly, replace or adjust it.
- Instead of throwing away ice left over from your to-go cups,
consider dropping the ice cubes into your house plants.
- 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.
- Consider not only your home usage, but ways in which water
efficiency can be improved at your place of work.
- Turn the water off while you shampoo and condition your hair and you
can save more than 50 gallons a week.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Microwave, steam, or use a pressure cooker to cook vegetables. It
will retain more flavor and use less water than traditional boiling.
- Make sure to turn your faucets all the way off. If water continues
to drip, make repairs or call maintenance as soon as possible.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you are purchasing a new dishwasher or laundry washing machine,
consider purchasing a water-efficient model.
- 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.
- 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.
- Avoid planting turf in areas that are hard to water such as steep
inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
- Collect water drips from air conditioning units or collection
buckets on dehumidifiers for use on plants or trees.
- Plug the bathtub before turning the water on, then adjust the
temperature as the tub fills up.
- While washing your hands or face, donít let the water run while you
lather the soap.
- Donít turn on your faucet full blast when just a trickle of water
- 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.
- Properly dry, air out and reuse towels whenever possible to avoid
additional laundering. Wait until necessary to launder bed linens and
- Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip to 20 degrees F to
prevent pipes from bursting or freezing.
- 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.
- Insulate your water pipes. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid
wasting water while it heats up.
- Instead of washing your face, use cleansing facial wipes. The wipes
donít require water and effectively clean your face, even removing
- 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.
- Shave your face or legs less frequently to save water. Also consider
using an electric razor or non-water based hair removal method.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Use environmentally-friendly disposable/compostable plates instead
of washable plates during meals. This cuts down on dishwasher runs and
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Share a shower with someone. Just make sure you use less water than
you would taking two.
- Consider installing instant cut-off shower fixtures. They allow
water temperature to remain the same when turning off water for
- 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
- 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.
- When washing dishes by hand, use the least amount of detergent
possible. This minimizes rinse water needed.
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