A Little Wasted Water Can Make A Lake

Wow! We use a lot of Water! I was on the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Public Works web site the other day searching for how to get new water service and stumbled onto a Conservation Checklist. The check list is set up like a quiz to see how someone is doing in their home related to water conservation.

First it is a great little check list and I think it is great that the City has that kind of information and tool available for residents. Second–and more interesting to me–was how much water we waste and in ways that I never even thought of which I am guilty off doing. I thought I would pass the Quiz along hoping more people will get a little wake up call. – David, New to Fort Lauderdale

Conservation Checklist

Check your toilet for leaks.
A leak in your toilet may be wasting more than 100 gallons of water a day. To check, put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the coloring begins to appear in the bowl, you have a leak. Adjust or replace the flush valve or call a plumber.

Stop using your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket.
Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue, or other small bit of trash down the toilet, you waste five to seven gallons of water.

Put two plastic bottles in your toilet tank.
Your toilet can probably flush just as efficiently with less water than it now uses. To reduce water waste, put an inch or two of sand or pebbles in a plastic bottle to weight it down. Fill it with water and put it in your toilet tank, away from the operating mechanism. The bottle will displace several gallons of water a day.

Take shorter showers.
Long, hot showers waste five to ten gallons every unneeded minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash, and rinse.

Install water saving shower heads or flow restricts.
Most shower heads put out five to ten gallons per minute: three gallons per minute is sufficient for a refreshing shower. Your local hardware or plumbing supply stocks inexpensive water saving shower heads you can install easily. The City will supply to you, at no cost, a small insert to limit flow through your present shower head.

Turn off the water after wetting your tooth brush.
After you have wet your toothbrush and filled a glass for rinsing your mouth, turn off the tap water.

Rinse your razor in the sink.
Before shaving, partially fill the sink with warm water. This will rinse the blade just as well and use less water.

Check pipes and faucets for leaks.
Even the smallest drip from a worn washer can waste 50 gallons or more a day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds.

Water your lawn only when it needs it.
Watering frequently can be very wasteful as it doesn’t allow for rainfall that can reduce the need for watering. A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on some grass. If the grass springs back up when you move, it doesn’t need watering.

Use your automatic dishwasher for full loads only.
Every time you run your dishwasher, you use about 25 gallons of water.

If you wash dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing.
If you have two sinks, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have but one sink, gather all the washed dishes in the dish rack and rinse them with an inexpensive spray device.

Don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables.
You can serve the same purpose by putting a stopper in the sink and filling the sink with clean water.

Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator.
This ends the wasteful practice of running tap water to cool it off for drinking.

Water during the cool part of the day.
Early morning is better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus.

Use your automatic clothes washer for full loads only.
Your automatic washer uses 30 to 35 gallons of water in a cycle. That’s a lot of water for three t-shirts.

Plant drought resistant trees and plants.
There are many beautiful trees and plants that thrive in Florida with far less watering than other species.

Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants.
A layer of mulch will slow the evaporation of moisture.

Use a broom to clean driveways, sidewalks, and steps.
Using a hose to push around a few leaves and scraps of paper can waste hundreds and hundreds of gallons of water.

Don’t run the hose while washing your car.
Soap down your care with a pail of soapy water. Then use a hose just to rinse it off.

Teach your children that your hose and sprinkler are not toys.
Few things are more cheerful than the sound of children playing under a hose or sprinkler on a hot day. Unfortunately, there are also few things more wasteful of precious water.

Deep soak your lawn.
When you water your lawn, do it just long enough for water to seep down to the roots where it won’t evaporate quickly and where it will do the most good. A light sprinkling, which sits on surface, will simply evaporate and be wasted. A slow, steady fall of water is the best way to irrigate your lawn.

Don’t water the gutter.
Position your sprinklers so water lands on your lawn or garden, not on concrete where it does no good. Avoid watering on windy days when much of your water will be carried off before it ever hits the ground.

Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets, and couplings.
Leaks outside the house may not seems as unbearable since they don’t mess up the floors or drive you crazy at night. But they can be just as wasteful as leaks in the line from the water meter, even more wasteful.

Your Score

If you’ve checked 19-23 boxes, you’re doing an excellent job of saving water, energy, and protecting our environment! 12-18 means you’re doing a good job, but there’s room for improvement. Less than 12 means that you need to change your habits.

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