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Water-saving tips vital during drought, helpful all the timecomment (0)

July 12, 2007

Never operate the dishwasher until it’s completely full. If your dishwasher is an older model, then consider replacing it. Newer models average 25 percent less water usage.

Repair leaky faucets. Install a water-conserving, or “low-flow,” aerator on your sink faucet. This can cut the gallons per minute in half.

If you don’t have a tankless, or “instant,” hot water system, then keep a clean dishpan or other large container in the sink to catch water you run while waiting for your faucet to produce hot water. This perfectly clean water can be used for cooking, cleaning, laundering hand washables or watering plants indoors and out.

Check your refrigerator’s icemaker water line to ensure there is no leakage.

- Laundry room
Wash only full washer loads. Set one or two specific laundry days per week, and refuse to launder in between times.

Consider upgrading to a water-saving washer unit. Newer washers can save as much as 40 percent water usage over older models.

- Outdoors
Know your area’s restrictions on outdoor watering and adhere to them. But do yourself a favor and learn to conserve water all the time. Hand-watering uses less water than using sprinklers, but it’s important to strategically water so that targeted plants and areas get a proper soaking. Watering in the pre-dawn or earliest daylight hour ensures the least amount of evaporation.

The best way to save on watering is  drought-resistant landscaping. When shopping for trees, shrubs, flowers or other greenery, consult your county agricultural agent, professional landscapers or nursery workers. And do your own homework at your local library or bookstore.

A few plants to consider:
Trees: pine, oak, eucalyptus, olive and redbud

Vines: trumpet creeper, bougainvillea and wisteria

Ground cover: rosemary and creeping St. John’s wort

Flowering plants: yarrow, aloe, lavender, red-hot poker and oleander

Washing your car doesn’t have to be neglected. Car wash facilities recycle their water, so these businesses don’t use nearly as much water as some might think. And availing yourself of these services may not cost you a penny. Many service stations offer car washes for free with specific minimum fuel purchases. If you’re nervous about automated car washes, however, then spend a few dollars and visit a touch-free car wash.

Make sure there are no water leaks anywhere in your plumbing by first turning off every water-using appliance. Then locate your water meter, lift the lid and look at the dial. If the dial hand is moving, then you have an obvious leak. A smaller leak may not be as readily apparent.

Note the exact position of the dial hand. Wait 10 minutes and check it again.

If it has moved, then you have a leak somewhere and should check all your plumbing, locate the leak or leaks and make all the necessary repairs.

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