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Whether drought conditions necessitate water conservation measures or you're just a wise consumer who wants to save money and a precious natural resource, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce your home's or business' water consumption throughout the year.

Reducing Indoor Water Use
Check for leaking faucets and fix them immediately. Even a slowly dripping faucet (one drop every 15 seconds) can waste close to 150 gallons of water a year.
Equip your faucets with aerators that reduce water use without creating a noticeable difference in flow. The CWLP Energy Services Office offers free low-flow faucet aerators (and other water-saving devices) to CWLP customers. Learn more about this.
Check for toilet leaks and fix them immediately. A bad toilet leak can easily waste well over 1,000 gallons a day! Some leaks are obvious—you can see or hear them—but others can easily go unnoticed (except on your water bill). One of the most common types of "silent" toilet leaks occurs when water from the tank continues to quietly seep into the bowl even after a flush is complete. To check for this type of leak, put a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If the coloring shows up in the bowl without the toilet being flushed, you know you have a leak. Sometimes a simple adjustment to the ball and cock inside the toilet tank can fix this type of leak.
If you need new faucets or a new toilet, install models that carry the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) WaterSense label. These fixtures are designed to use 20 percent less water, while performing as well as or better than standard models. (Find out more about the EPA WaterSense program.)
Take showers instead of baths and limit your showers to 5 minutes or less. If you must take a bath, fill the tub only half instead of all the way full.
Equip your showers with low-flow showerheads. And even better, make sure the new showerheads have flow restrictor knobs that allow you to easily cut off the water flow while you lather up.
Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth, turning it on only to wet your toothbrush and to rinse.
For the most part, using a dishwasher requires less water than washing the same number of dishes by hand. But unless your dishwasher has a feature that lets it be adjusted for load size, wait until you have a full load to run it.
When using your clothes washer, make sure you adjust the water level to fit the load.
Try to think of creative ways to re-use water. For instance, when you shower, place a bucket in the shower with you to catch run-off water. This, as well as used bath, dish, and house-cleaning water can be used to water indoor and outdoor plants.

Reducing Outdoor Water Use
When watering your lawn or garden, make sure the water goes where it is needed, not onto the sidewalks, driveway or street.
Using drip irrigation hoses, rather than sprinklers, can be a much more efficient way to water shrubs, flowers, trees and other landscaping. It directs the water right toward the plant roots.
If you have an in-ground irrigation system:
        - check it periodically for leaks and broken parts;
        - replace spray sprinklers with high-efficiency nozzles that produce droplets, not a mist
             that can evaporate or blow away;
        - retrofit the system with a rain sensor (if it does not already have one) that will keep your
             sprinklers from coming on if Mother Nature has provided sufficient precipitation.
Install one or more rain barrels to capture rain water runoff from your roof. Even a relatively small rain event can result in the capture of a significant amount of water that can be used to water outdoor plants or even wash a car. (Learn about CWLP's Rain Barrel Rebate.)
Don't over-water your lawn. A healthy lawn needs only about one inch of water per week. The Irrigation Association finds that many property owners over-water their lawns and landscapes by as much as 30 percent. (And if your grass isn't getting enough water to keep it nice and green, don't panic. Most lawns will go dormant during extended dry periods, but will tend to come back once normal rainfalls return.)
When you do water, do so in the early morning when temperatures are at their lowest and there will be less chance of evaporation.
Add several inches of mulch around landscape plants to help the ground around their roots retain moisture.
When mowing, set your mower blade to a height of at least 3 inches. The taller the grass, the better the roots will be shaded and the longer the soil will hold moisture.
If you're ready for a new landscaping project, replace grass with native plants, groundcover or hardscaping that will require less watering.
When washing your car at home, use a hose attachment that will allow you to shut off water flow except when you need it for wetting and rinsing the car. If you can, park the car on your lawn while washing, so the water you use can also water your grass. Better yet . . . wash your car at a car wash. Most modern car washes utilize water recycling systems that significantly reduce waste.
When conditions call for even greater reductions in water use, ornamental fountains should be turned off and new plant or tree installations should be postponed.

Links to more information and tips about conserving water can be found in the left-hand column of this page.


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