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Landscape Irrigation - Outdoor landscaping can consume 50% or more of the water used at a property. Focus on reducing evaporation, eliminating runoff, and only watering as much as needed.
*Water your lawn and garden in the early morning or late evening to reduce water lost to evaporation and exposure to wind
*Reduce the number of days and length of time that you water your landscaping. Most landscaping only needs to be watered 2-3 days per week and 6-7 minutes per cycle; Possibly less during winter months.
*Use drip irrigation where possible and consider drought resistant native landscaping.
*The best time to plant natives is in the fall/winter
*Save hundreds of gallons of water a year by using organic mulch around trees and plants to reduce water evaporation and discourage weed growth
*Install a smart irrigation controller that adjusts watering based on weather, soil type, amount of shade, and type of landscaping
*If using a standard controller, install a rain sensor or turn off sprinklers when it rains
*Maximize the amount of water delivered to your landscaping by checking your irrigation system to prevent overspray, replace broken sprinkler heads, and repair leaks routinely
*Rotating sprinkler nozzles can result in 20% less water use than conventional spray heads
*Plant with finished compost to add nutrients and water holding organic matter to soil
Pools, Spas, and Ponds - Due to the automatic fill mechanism on many pools, spas, and ponds, leaks can go undetected resulting in significant water waste.
*Check pools, spas, and ponds for leaks
*Turn off the automatic fill mechanism, place a weighted bucket filled with water to the same level as the pool/pond on a step, and determine if the water level in the pool/pond is dropping faster which would indicate a leak.
*Alternatively, use a grease pencil to mark the pool water level at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later to see if you have a leak
Sidewalks, Driveways, Parking, Patios - Using water to wash down sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, patios, or other paved areas except to alleviate immediate fire, sanitation, or health hazards is prohibited in Downey.
*Use a broom, not a hose, to clean sidewalks, driveways, and patios; Use a broom or commercial sweeper for parking areas.
Indoor Water Use - Indoor water use is primarily determined by the appliances we use, our water use habits, and upkeep of plumbing. Know what is happening with your water and where you can save by performing a quick survey of your property.
Toilets, Showerheads, Faucets
*Check your toilet for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. After 30 minutes (without flushing) check to see if any color shows up in the bowl. Invisible leaks can waste 100 gallons of water a day.
*Use high-efficiency (1.28 gallons per flush or less) toilets, water saving shower heads, and low-flow (1.8 gallons per minute or less) faucet aerators
*Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth and shaving, and avoid long showers
*Check faucets for leaks; even a slow drip can waste 15-20 gallons per day
*Consider waterless urinals for your business
Clothes Washers and Dishwashers
*Only run full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine. Half-full loads waste water and money.
*Use Energy Star clothes washers which use 35-50% less water and energy per load
*Use water saving front-load clothes washers
*Avoid "permanent press" cycles which can use an extra 5 gallons for extra rinse
Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling
*Use your water meter to check for leaks. With all water use turned off, check your water meter reading. Then check the meter again in 30 minutes. If the reading has changed, you have a leak.
*Close the main shut off valve and run the same test to determine whether the leak is between the meter and shut off valve or downstream of the shut off valve.
*Look for unusual wet spots on ceilings, floors, and in the yard indicating a leak
*An instant water heater near the kitchen sink will eliminate having to wait for the water to heat up saving time and water
*Set HVAC systems and water softeners for a minimum number of refills to save water
Published: Feb. 20, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 45