Habit of the Month: Water Conservation

April 29, 2010 at 7:03 pm Leave a comment

This column highlights little changes toward a more sustainable life. Each month we feature one small thing that you can do each day in just minutes. You may already be doing it so find ways to adapt and improve. Studies show that it takes about 20 days to establish a habit. By having a habit of the month, we are constantly establishing more sustainable lives.This month’s sustainable habit of the month is to conserve water. Fresh water is a precious resource on our arid side of the island. Conserving water also means less waste water to process and less water in our injection wells! Listed below are a few suggestions to make changes. Habits are changed slowly – so just pick one or two changes at a time to make a difference.

Challenge your dishwasher more! Most modern dishwashers do a great job of cleaning without pre-rinsing . Just scrape off food. Most dishwashers use about 4 gallons of water during a cycle; the average person washing a full load of dishes by hand used 27 gallons of water. For hand washing, think the same way a dishwasher operates. Put as much dirty stuff as you can in one side of the sink and stop the drain but don’t fill with water. Spray everything down with hot soapy water then let it sit a minute or two. Rinse and repeat noticing any places that need scrubbing. Move all soapy dishes to the other side and rinse quickly.

Check and Tune Your Sprinkler System Watering our landscaping is one of the biggest uses of water. Spend 5-10 minutes a day to observe, tweak and tune your sprinklers. Shortening a cycle by a few minutes can save gallons. Look for and repair any leaks; rats are known to chew through the drip line cables. And don’t forget to keep your soil healthy with proper organic amendments. Healthy soil allows more water to get into the plants! Mulch reduces the evaporation so more water is available to your plants. Also think about reducing your lawn area which uses tons of water.

Shower Time If your shower is across the house from your hot water heater, try this tip. Get a timer and time how long it takes for hot water to flow. The first day, set the temperature where you like it. The second day, set it as hot as possible. See which one take less time (and has less water running down the drain) while you are waiting for hot water. If you are extreme, keep a bucket in the shower to collect the water. Install low flow shower heads; many newer models offer powerful feeling flow. And keep that timer in the shower to keep them as short as possible!

Stop that Running Be aware of running water while brushing your teeth, washing your hands and cleaning. If you aren’t actively using the water; stop it. Every second counts!

Tune up that Toilet If you are purchasing a new toilet get one of the new WaterSense rated ones. Although you may pay a little more you will make it back quickly. For existing toilets, watch for leaks! The county has bags that you put in the tank that cut down on water use. Recently, a dual flush valve became available that allows you to select your flush for #1 (low water use flush) and #2.

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