Water Watchful: Save water during a drought

Rain? What’s that? It was a hot, dry summer across the U.S., and even now 30 per cent of the country is suffering under drought conditions. Unfortunately, according to climate scientists, we’re going to be feeling even more parched in the coming years.

So if your lawn is looking brown and the water levels in your well are dipping dangerously low, what steps can you take to conserve your groundwater?

All of these appliances can contribute to water over-use.

All of these appliances can contribute to water over-use.

1) Target your toilet: Toilets use the most water in the home by far — an older model can use up to 3.5 gallons in a single flush. That adds up to a lot of water swirling down the bowl each day! Consider swapping your older toilets for new water-efficient ones. If that’s not in your budget, a toilet dam at your hardware store costs just a few dollars, or you can fill a plastic bottle with water and place it in the tank. When water is limited, consider flushing a little less frequently.

2) Time your water use strategically: The water level in your well is highest in the morning after a night of little or no use. If you need to do something that requires a lot of water, like a jumbo-sized load of laundry, opt for early morning.

3) Check your tap and toilets for leaks: A single dripping tap can waste up to 2,700 gallons of water over the course of a year, so grab your toolbox and replace that worn washer! A leaky toilet wastes even more. Add a few drops of food coloring to your toilet tank and see if any seeps into the bowl.

4) Lighten up on the laundry: Don’t wash a few dirty clothes at a time. Wait until you have a full load of laundry before you toss it in the washing machine. Upgrading to a water- and energy-efficient model will cut your water use even further — and also trim your utility bill.

5) Take shorter showers: Sure, personal hygiene matters, but you can get just as clean with in five minutes as you can in ten. Want to save even more water? Turn off the water between soaping up and rinsing.

6) Go easy in the garden: The higher you mow your lawn, the less water it needs. When you do water it, opt for earlier in the morning or later in the evening when cooler temperatures mean less evaporation. Planning your garden? Choose that can withstand a stretch of dry weather.

7) Install a rain barrel: Instead of using groundwater to keep your garden green and lush, collect and store rainwater.

8) Keep a jug of water in the fridge: Next time you’re feeling thirsty for a long, cold drink, you won’t need to wait for the tap water to run cool.

9) Turn it off: Don’t let the tap run when you’re brushing your teeth or shaving.

10) Check your pump: A well pump that switches on when you’re not using water means you have a leak.

You don’t have to wait for a dry spell to begin saving water. In fact, adopting these water-saving habits year-round will help keep healthy levels of water in your aquifer — even when the next drought hits.

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