How to Become Water Wise
We live in a beautiful, thriving community... the Valley of the Sun. But because we do live in a desert, water is our most important and precious resource. Water is the lifeblood of the Valley. So we must all do our part to use water wisely and ensure an adequate water supply for ourselves and future generations. Water conservation not only will help save water, it will also save you money. The following tips can help you do your part to live a more water-wise lifestyle.
In the Bathroom
- Check faucets and pipes for leaks.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving, rather than running a steady stream.
- Limit showers to five minutes.
- For pre-1985 homes, replace standard shower heads with low-volume heads. Install flow restrictors in bathroom faucets.
- Check your toilet periodically for leaks. Place a few drops of food coloring in the tank. After a few minutes, if you see color in the bowl, you have a leak, perhaps caused by a faulty flapper.
- Listen for gurgling sounds coming from your toilet. These noises indicate the flush valve needs to be adjusted to stop wasting water.
- In pre-1980 homes, fill a plastic, one quart bottle with water and place it in the toilet tank. To anchor the bottle, partially fill it with sand or any heavy substance. This does not affect the efficiency of most toilets and can save 5 or more gallons per day per a family of four. Do not use bricks to displace water in your toilet tank. They will break down over time and can cause problems.
- Avoid using your toilet for a wastebasket or ashtray. Extra flushes waste water and money.
In the Kitchen & Laundry Room
- Automatic dishwashers and washers are more efficient if run only when they are full.
- When washing dishes by hand, don't let the tap run freely to rinse. Fill the second side of the sink with rinse water.
- Fill a pitcher with drinking water and store it in the refrigerator.
- Evaporative coolers require a seasonal maintenance check-up. For more water efficient cooling check your evaporative coolers annually. Make sure your evaporative cooler uses a recirculating water pump.
- When washing the car, use soap and water from a bucket. Use a hose with a shut-off nozzle for the final rinse.
- Use a broom when cleaning your driveway.
- Adjust sprinklers so only the lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
- Do not water on windy days.
- Check and maintain your sprinkler system regularly.
- Water your lawn every third day.
- Always water during the cool time of the day to minimize evaporation. Early morning is best, and the peak water consumption hours (4 p.m. - 9 p.m.) should be avoided.
- Adjust your irrigation schedule to accommodate changes in seasonal water demand.
- Install an automatic timer.
- For landscaping, use native or other low water use plants.
- Using a layer of mulch around plants reduces evaporation and promotes plant growth.
- Water retaining basins also allow water to be concentrated around the plants.
- Use the principles of Xeriscape. To find out more about Xeriscape, call the water conservation office.
In our desert environment, times of drought are far more common than times of plenty. Don't let Arizona's precious resource drip away carelessly. Adopt a water-wise lifestyle.