It doesn’t matter what your New Year’s Resolutions are, the most effective are the ones that break down the larger goals into manageable steps. Small individual actions can add up to significant savings on your water bill and you will be doing your bit to help the environment.
1. KNOCK A FEW MINUTES OFF YOUR SHOWER
Do you actually know how long you shower for? It would be an interesting exercise to set a timer. I happen to be a very quick shower taker. I don’t want to linger in there very often so it would be easier for me to take off a few minutes. My husband on the other hand adores the shower and stays in there for, what I think, is forever! We will make a pact. I will take 3 minutes off if he will!
2. WASH UP BY HAND
Even if you washed the dishes under a running tap, this would still use less water than your dishwasher. Commit to washing by hand a little more often.
3. DOUBLE DIP YOUR DISHES
You can only do this if you have a dual sink. Fill one sink with hot soapy, water for washing. Fill the other with clean water for rinsing. According to the EPA this method uses far less water than rinsing under the faucet.
4. ONLY RUN YOUR DISHWASHER WHEN FULL
Modern, energy efficient dishwashers save a great deal of water. With a good dishwasher, you should only have to scrape plates before putting them in, not rinse as well. Run only full loads. If you find you are always running your dishwasher half empty, consider buying something like the Fisher-Paykel double drawer model, where each drawer can be run independently.
5. REPLACE YOUR LAWN
Lawns are water guzzlers. Consider replacing your lawns with drought resistant native plants and succulents. See what grows in nature and duplicate it in your yard.
6. NATIVE GRASS
If you can’t bear to part with your lawn, make sure you use a native grass blend that can survive with far less water.
7. LOW FLOW TOILETS
If you are in the market for a new toilet, go low flow. Newer, EPA WaterSense-certified toilets use just 1.28 to 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Dual-flush toilets use even less water.
8. BUY A HIGH EFFICIENCY WASHER
Energy Star–certified machines use about 40 percent less water than regular washers. The key to their savings is that the tub does not get filled up; clothing is flipped and spun through streams of water and repeated high-pressure sprayings.
9. CAPTURE RAINWATER
In Southern California, capturing the rain may seem like a fantasy, since we see it so rarely, though this January I have actually looked out of my window at the rain one day after another. A rarity. If I had had a barrel set up, it would be full. You can buy a 50 gallon drum that will collect water from gutters and downspouts. Use this water to fill a watering can and water pots by hand. Gardening experts say plants prefer rainwater to the treated tap variety.
10. USE WATER SENSORS
You can use water sensors to detect leaks in your house, which will save you money on water bills. Products from companies such as Eddy Smart Home Solutions Inc. provide useful data on water usage and trends, and alert homeowners when leaks are detected. The Eddy Home mobile and desktop applications even enable you to turn off the flow of water into your property, which can reduce costs associated with water damage.