Conserving Water At Home

The United Nations has warned that within two decades, the majority of the earth’s population could face serious water shortages. If we all become more aware of the amount of water we each consume and make conserving water a part of our daily practices, we will be part of the solution to this looming problem.

In our homes, the bathroom is where most water is consumed. For the average family approximately 18 percent of their total water usage is from bathing and showering. Our toilets account for as much as 28% of our water consumption. What can you do to reduce water consumption in the bathroom?

* Use a bucket or watering can to catch water that would normally go down the drain as you wait for your shower water to warm.

* Replace shower heads with low flow fixtures. Prior to 1992 the flow from shower heads was 5 gallons of water per minute. After that date the flow was cut in half to 2.5 gallons per minute.

*Take shorter showers. Shortening your shower by just one minute can save as much as 912 gallons of water a year.

*Consider replacing high flush toilets with a low flush model.

*If replacing the toilet isn’t an option, place a plastic milk jug filled with water or rocks in the tank. This will displace some of the water that would normally fill the tank.

The typical single-family suburban household uses at least 30 percent of their water outdoors for irrigation. Some experts estimate that more than 50 percent of landscape water use goes to waste due to evaporation or runoff caused by over watering. What can you do to reduce your water consumption in the garden?

* Install drip irrigation systems. These use 20 to 50 percent less water than in-ground sprinkler systems and water isn’t lost to runoff.

* Water gardens just after sunrise or at sunset to reduce evaporation.

* Mulch gardens to reduce watering requirements.

* Cut grass a little longer and more often and then leave the cut grass as mulch.

* Use drought tolerant plants in your garden and drought resistant grass for lawn. * Sweep leaves off the driveway rather than using the hose to remove them. * Consider capturing rain in a barrel to use for your gardening needs. Use rainwater for your yard and garden, and lower your water bill. A roof area of only 1,000 sq ft can provide approximately 600 gallons of water during a one inch rainfall. Adapting just a few of these tips into your daily routine will not only save you money on your water bill but also conserve the precious water that is needed for all forms of life to exist.

Elyse Cormier is the owner of Redwood Acres Recycling Center in Northern California. The center’s motto is Live Green – Help Your Mama. You can visit us at

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