This past week Governor Brown issued a mandate for California cities and towns to cut water use by 25% after a voluntary cut of 20% failed. That means us! We are now in the fourth year of one of the most severe modern droughts and our water supplies are becoming scarce. What is more scary is that there is no guarantee that next year or the year after will bring us rain.
We have been called into action to take water conservation seriously and will be penalized financially if we don't. Ouch!! Here are some tips to conserve and save money:
1. Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow aerators easily found at Pini Hardware, Lowe's and Home Depot. Check with your water district to see if they provide free low-flow shower heads or restrictors or pick some up at the hardware store. Often the single best home water conservation method is also the least expensive
If you are one who does most of your thinking in a long-hot shower, think faster. Limit showers to the time it takes to soap and rinse. Check into installing ShowerStart and adding a ShowerStart converter to existing showerheads. It automatically pauses a running shower once it gets warm.
2. Check your toilet for leaks. Add some food coloring to your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color dribbles into the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak. Most replacement parts are very easy to install and not expensive.
3. Speaking of toilets, always a bit indelicate - for new installation, consider purchasing "low-flush" toilets which use 1-2 gallons per flush instead of the usual 3-5 gallons. Replacing to a "low-flush" toilet can cut indoor water use by about 30%.
One more note, if you are changing out your toilets consider the "comfort height" models that are 2-3 inches higher than the standard models.
4. Use your water meter to check for hidden leaks. Take a read of your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. No Nancy Drew here, it will speak for itself. It is a good idea to utilize your water meter to monitor your usage. Some of us need to locate it first. Make a game of it with your family and reward low usage with something special.
5. A good use for your plastic water bottles, put an inch or two of san or pebbles inside each of two 16 oz. bottles to weigh them down, fill with water, tighten caps and place in tank away from operating mechanisms. Or, purchase an inexpensive Tank Bank or float booster. This may save more than 10 gallons per day.
6. Turn off water after you wet your toothbrush. There is no need to keep the water running. Have a glass ready to rinse you mouth and toothbrush.
7. Rinse your razor in the sink. Fill your sink with a few inches of warm water and rinse your razor that way.
8. Check faucets and pipes for leaks. A warn faucet washer can waste up to 20 gallons of water per day. Washers are pennies and those wonderful folks at Pini Hardware and Lowe's can show you how to change them out.
Do not use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Every time
you flush facial tissue, cigarettes or other small items of trash you waste
about 5-7 gallons.
10. While cleaning vegetables and fruits, best not to let the faucet run. Pull out that stopper or use a pan with clean water. Install a dual-setting aerator that can minimize the flow to 1.5 gpm (gallons per minute). (That's a term we better get used to.....
Kathleen Emrey, Broker Associate, SRES