A Mother's Shade of Green: Simple Ways to Conserve Water

By Kate Agliata:

It’s August. It’s hot, and despite the humidity in the air, everything is dry and parched. In the midst of heat waves and drought, water usage among average households typically tends to massively increase. However, with a great deal of our city and state facing water shortages, there’s never been a better time to start using some simple water conservation techniques.

Before you begin making changes however, familiarize yourself with your family’s overall water usage. Having this knowledge on hand can help you decide how much water use should be reduced, and where and when it needs to be done. Get your whole family on board as well. Conserving resources in the home should be a group effort, not a challenge reserved just for mom or dad. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of more efficient and effective ways to save water, but they all begin with your efforts. Here are few great ways to get started:

  1. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth.
  2. Skip hand washing dishes and instead load them in the dishwasher. Its been proven that washing dishes in the sink can use upwards of a 1,000 gallons more each month.
  3. Only run the dishwasher when it’s full.
  4. Water your lawn and garden in the early morning or evening time when temperatures are a bit cooler to maximize moisture absorption and minimize evaporation.
  5. Adjust your sprinklers so that they only water the lawn, and not your house, sidewalk, or road.
  6. Check for leaks in plumbing pipes. (Tip: Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.)
  7. Make sure toilets aren’t continuously running water. Replace the toilet flapper if necessary.
  8. Minimize use of your garbage disposal. Try starting a compost and toss your vegetable peels in there instead of down the drain.
  9. Add nutrient-rich compost to your soil while planting shrubs, flowers and vegetable gardens. This improves the soils ability to absorb and hold water.
  10. Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  11. Fill the bathtub only half way, and add more toys!
  12. Collect and store rain water to use for watering your garden or houseplants. Simply set up a large bucket or other sturdy container underneath your roof line or gutter, and wait for rain.
  13. Don’t use running water to thaw frozen food. Instead, defrost food in the refrigerator.
  14. Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  15. If your kids want to run in the sprinkler, set it up in an area of the lawn that needs extra watering.

Spread the word! Share these water saving techniques with friends and family, and challenge one another to see who can produce their lowest water bill yet!

About Kate:

Kate, a freelance writer and mother of two, most often finds creative inspiration in writing, but occasionally at the bottom of an empty wine glass. She has hijacked her family’s former lifestyle and is in the midst of creating a simpler and greener approach to life. To follow her family’s challenges and successes in this endeavor, visit her blog, at Kate’s Musings. She and her family have lived in Birmingham since 2009.

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