(WSYR-TV) — From coast to coast, water restrictions are in place as drought conditions worsen, affecting tens of millions of people. That means cutting back on everything from watering the lawn to washing the car. And as Consumer Reports explains, there are lots of other ways to conserve water so that our faucets don’t run dry.
Saving water doesn’t need to be difficult. Let’s start outside. The Environmental Protection Agency says outdoor watering accounts for almost 30 percent of household water use. Save water by letting your lawn grow longer to reduce evaporation, so you water less frequently. And think about replacing some grass with mulch, ground cover, or longer ornamental grasses that use far less water.
Instead of rinsing your driveway or deck, sweep it or use an electric leaf blower. And wash your car using a bucket of water instead of a running hose.
Nearly 20 percent of indoor residential water use flows from the shower. A standard showerhead releases 2.5 gallons of water a minute.
Consumer Reports says that replacing it with a low-flow WaterSense-approved head that uses 2 gallons per minute or less can save 2,700 gallons a year.
Save even more by limiting showers to under 5 minutes, and turn off the water when shaving or brushing your teeth.
In the kitchen, soak pots and pans instead of scrubbing them under running water. And keep a water-filtering pitcher in the refrigerator, to keep from running the faucet for cold drinks.
And you can save water in the laundry room. If you have an “HE” washer, use detergent for an HE machine. Regular detergents will create a lot of suds and will force an HE washer to use more water to get out that soap.
And household leaks account for more than 10,000 gallons of wasted water a year. So fix those drips!
Consumer Reports says that to check for a toilet leak, place a drop of food coloring in the tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, it’s leaking. Probably time to replace the flapper or valve seal.