EcoH20 Tips

Column 4, EcoH20 Tips Nov 13, 2012 Comments Off

Be a Water Wise Guy or Gal!

Follow these simple water conservation tips and make a big difference for our planet!

  • Collect rainwater and cold shower water to use for watering plants.
  • Plant drought-resistant trees and plants.
  • Remove dying plants and weeds that compete for available water.
  • Don’t run the hose while washing your car.
  • Limit showers to 5 minutes and install a low-flow shower head.
  • Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush.
  • Check faucets, pipes, and toilets for leaks.
  • Use your dishwasher only for full loads.

Click HERE for a printer friendly handout to have at home.

What is stormwater runoff?

Stormwater runoff is generated when rain or snowmelt flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. As the runoff flows over paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops, it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could negatively affect water quality.  How you can help!

  • Remember, only rain down the drain! Hosing off driveways, sidewalks and rooftops, can add contaminants and excess soil to the stormwater. Try to send the runoff water through vegetation for a natural filtering effect.
  • Pick up after Fido!  Did you know?  Dog poop is a leading cause of stormwater pollution
  • Need to know how to dispose of something properly?  Follow this link:  http://www.lexingtonky.gov/index.aspx?page=2797

Keep checking back for more EcoH2O tips.
Water Conservation, Water Quality, and Stormwater Issues

  • Limit showers to 5 minutes.  Did you know?  Shower Heads are responsible for 17 percent of household water usage. As with faucets, making your shower more eco-friendly is relatively inexpensive. Simply install a WaterSense-labeled low-flow shower head. With a flow rate of less than a gallon per minute, you can cut shower water usage by 70 percent!
  • Check your toilet for leaks.  Did you know?  Toilets are responsible for nearly 30 percent of household water usage, making it the largest source of water consumption in your home. If yours is an older toilet, chances are it uses 5 gallons of water per flush. So it’s wise to invest in a newer model at just 1.6 gallons per flush. You can find them even lower than that if you look for a WaterSense-labeled HET (High Efficiency Toilet) that will not allow more than 1.3 gallons per flush. It’s well worth the investment, as you can expect to save up to $2,000 over your toilet’s lifetime.  How to check for leaks in your toilet: 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.
  • Don’t use your toilet as a wastebasket. Every time you flush a 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 flush just as efficiently with less water than it now uses.  To cut down water waste, put an inch or two of sand or pebbles in each of two plastic quart bottles to weigh them down. Fill them with water replace the lid and put them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. Better yet, replace your old toilet with a new low-flow toilet.  They are readily avaiable in a variety of styles and colors.  Opt for the reliable brand names.
  • Take shorter showers. Long hot showers waste five to ten gallons of water every unneeded minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off.
  • Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush. After you have wet your toothbrush and filled a glass for rinsing your mouth, there is no need to keep water pouring down the drain.
  • Rinse your razor in the sink. Before shaving, partially fill your sink with a few inches of warm water. This will rinse your blade just as efficiently as running water, and far less wastefully.
  • Check faucets and pipes for leaks. Even the smallest drip from a worn washer can waste 50 or more gallons of water a day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds.
  • Use your automatic dishwasher only for full loads. 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.
  • Use your automatic washing machine only for full loads. Your automatic washer uses 30 to 35 gallons of water in a cycle. That’s a lot of water for three T-shirts.
  • Replace traditional clothes washers with new, energy- and water-conserving machines that use less than 27 gallons of water per load.
  • Teach children to turn water faucets off quickly and tightly after each use.
  • Teach children to change into play clothes after school so that school clothes can be worn more than once before washing.
  • EcoH2O Outdoor Tips:

  • Collect rainwater to use for watering plants.
  • Plant drought-resistant native trees and plants. There are many beautiful trees and plants that thrive in Utah 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 car with a pail of soapy water. Then use a hose just to rinse it off. Teach your children that your hose and sprinklers are not toys. There are a few things more cheerful than the sound of happy children playing under a hose or sprinkler on a hot day. Unfortunately, there are also few things more wasteful of precious water.
  • Water your lawn only when it needs it. Watering frequently can be very wasteful as it doesn’t allow for cool spells or 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 water.
  • Deep-soak your lawn. When you do 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 the surface, will simply evaporate and be wasted. A slow steady fall of water is the best way to irrigate your lawn.
  • Water during the cool parts of the day. Water early in the morning when temperatures and winds are at their lowest levels to reduce evaporation. Early morning is better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus.
  • Don’t water the gutter. Position your sprinklers in such a way that 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 may be carried off before it ever hits the ground.
  • Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings. Leaks outside the house may not seem as unbearable since they don’t mess up the floor 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.
  • Don’t water the gutter. Runoff is wasteful and can carry pollutants to creeks.
  • Use a trigger nozzle on hoses so water won’t run except when you intend it to.
  • Remove dying plants and weeds that compete for available water.
  • Aerate lawns and apply compost periodically to decrease compaction and improve penetration of water, air and nutrients into root zones. Lawns need aeration when water pools or runs off after only a few minutes of watering.
  • Cover pools, spas and other water features when not in use to minimize evaporation. A good pool cover will save energy by up to 90% and water by up to 70%, saving nearly 1,000 gallons of water per month. Seasonally check pools and spas for leaks, which can lose up to 1,000 gallons a day. Symptoms of leaks include water level drops over 2 inches per week in the summer (with automatic filling off) or increased need for chemicals. The more frequently swimming pool filters are cleaned, the less often you’ll need to replace the pool water.
  • Reduce the amount of lawn you have, especially where it isn’t used for play.
  • Determine specific water requirements for all existing landscape plants, and water accordingly. Plants with the same water needs should be planted and irrigated together so you don’t have to overwater some to give the rest enough.
  • Water all plants deeply but infrequently to encourage deeper, healthier rooting.
  • Install drip irrigation for trees, shrubs, slopes and narrow spaces.
  • Harvest water from rainfall for landscape irrigation purposes. Systems can range from rain barrels to underground cisterns.
  • Don’t litter. Trash that harms aquatic life is discharged into storm drains and local waterways every time it rains or snows.
  • Don’t wash vehicles in parking lots and roadways. Detergents, dirt, oil and grease will end up in local waterways. Use a commercial car wash or clean vehicles on pervious surfaces that absorb water (such as lawns).
  • Maintain vehicles properly. Fix oil and other types of leaks promptly. Take cars to an oil changing shop. If you do maintain your vehicle yourself, dispose of used oil and other fluids properly and clean up spills. Do not dump oil and other vehicle fluids down the drain and do not hose down areas afterwards. Use dry materials such as cat litter to clean up spills, sweep them up and dispose of properly.
  • Remember, only rain down the drain! Hosing off driveways, sidewalks and rooftops, can add contaminants and excess soil to the stormwater. Try to send the runoff water through vegetation for a natural filtering effect.
  • Pick up after Fido! Did you know? Dog poop is a leading cause of stormwater pollution
  • Need to know how to dispose of something properly? Call the Household Hazardous Waste Hotline at 303.441.4800
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