How to save money, protect environment during drought
Warmer months bring hotter weather. In recent years, they’ve also brought droughts from coast to coast, from California to Georgia.
From implementing basic water use best practices to installing eco-friendly water conservation technology, here are six ways from water conservation firm WaterSignal to avoid fines during dry times and save money on water bills, all while helping the environment.
1. Turn off the water
People often unnecessarily leave the tap running. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving. Wash fruit and vegetables quickly, and let frozen foods defrost in the fridge overnight — not under a hot stream of water in the sink.
2. Take smart showers
Even if you haven't served in the military, you can benefit from what's known as a navy shower. Also known as “military showers” or “combat showers,” this method of showering conserves water by (a) turning off the flow during the lathering stage, and (b) limiting the shower duration to two or three minutes. While the average 10-minute shower uses about 60 gallons of water, a navy shower uses as little as three gallons. Another way to conserve, according to WaterSignal, comes as you’re waiting for the shower to warm up. Collect the cool water in a bucket and set it aside to use elsewhere, such as watering plants or providing flushing water for your toilet.
3. Go low-flow
A family of four can conserve some 30,000 gallons of water per year by switching to low-flow toilets, shower heads and faucet taps. While retrofitting a property with low-flow technology may cost a little extra up front, it benefits your wallet and the environment.
4. Invest in a water meter-monitoring device
Undetected leaks in residential and commercial properties can lose tens of thousands of gallons of water each year. Once a leak is detected, you may have already run up a hefty water bill.
Investing in a real-time water meter-monitoring device can protect against those wasteful underground dangers. Water monitoring technology is endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program, which recommends that property owners and operators “consider installing a water meter data management system with remote communication capabilities that provides instant feedback on all metered water use in a central location.”
5. Irrigate with rainwater
Grass lawns require vast quantities of water to maintain. As result, communities during droughts typically institute lawn-watering restrictions. To avoid having a parched lawn, consider more drought-tolerant landscaping with decorative stone, gravel and pavers, low-maintenance succulents and drought-resistant ornamental grasses.
Another way to keeps lawns water while adhering to regulations and still conserving is to collect rainwater in barrels pour it over your greenery. According to the EPA, homeowners can save thousands of gallons of water annually by switching from tap water irrigation to rain barrel irrigation.
6. Skip washing the car
A little dirt never hurt anyone, especially a car. But sometimes, when the dirt resembles a new paint job, you must take action. Car washes remain popular choices, and they tend to be good options since many of them recycle their wastewater. If you decide to do the job on your own, avoid letting the hose run while you wash. Fill a bucket and use that water to scrub your vehicle. Use the hose only to rinse.