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Be water smart
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Did you know that a faucet that leaks just one drop per second can waste over 2,000 gallons of water per year? That a leaking toilet can waste 200 gallons a day? Or that an average shower uses 20-30 gallons of water?

Americans use an average of over 400 million gallons of water each day; much of that water is wasted due to carelessness.

The International Arid Lands Consortium (IALC) offers these simple water saving tips to conserve our most valuable and vital natural resource:


Turn faucets off when you are not using them; for example, do not leave the water running when washing dishes by hand or brushing your teeth.

Make sure to repair any leaking faucets, pipes and toilets.

Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave instead of running hot water over it.

Dispose of toxic chemicals properly; do not pour them down the drain.

Install water saving fixtures such as ultra low consumption toilets, efficient faucets and showerheads.

Do not throw trash into the toilet as it will result in unnecessary and wasteful toilet flushing; instead, dispose of trash in the proper containers.

Take a quick shower rather than a bath and save an average of 20 gallons of water.

Clean vegetables in a sink or pan partially filled with water rather than running water from the tap.

Re-use the water that vegetables are washed in for watering houseplants or for cleaning.

Insulate water pipes; it’ll make your water hotter faster and avoid the waste that comes when heating water.

Instead of waiting for tap water to get cold enough for drinking, keep a bottle of water in the refrigerator.

Whenever possible, compost food scraps or dispose of them in the garbage rather than using the garbage disposal, which requires a high level of water for operation.

Only run your dishwasher when it is full to make the best use of water, energy and detergent.

Cut down on the amount of rinsing you do before loading the dishwasher. Most modern dishwashers do an excellent job of cleaning dishes, pots and pans.

Wait until you have a full load of laundry before running the machine to save both water and energy. If you can’t wait for a full load, use the right water level to match the size of the load.

When washing clothes by hand, the water should not be left running. Fill a laundry tub with water, and re-use wash and rinse water as much as possible. Likewise with the dishes.


Water your lawn early in the morning or at night to avoid excess evaporation. Similarly, do not water your lawn on windy days as it can also help to avoid excess evaporation.

Don’t follow a fixed watering schedule. Water when the grass or plants show signs of needing it. Over watering is bad for plants and lawns. It promotes shallow root growth, making your lawn less hardy. To determine if your lawn needs to be watered, simply walk across the grass. If you leave footprints, it’s time to water.

Cover swimming pools to minimize the loss of water due to evaporation. Also install a more efficient water saving filter.

Use a broom rather than a hose to clean sidewalks or driveways.

Install efficient irrigation devices that can be adjusted according to seasonal irrigation needs. Install moisture sensors in each irrigation zone (sunny, shady, etc.) to better determine irrigation needs.

Do not leave sprinklers or hoses on unattended; it can result in leaks and over watering.

Maintain a lawn height of 2 1/2 to 3 inches to help protect the roots from heat stress and reduce the loss of moisture to evaporation. Allowing the grass to grow slightly taller reduces water loss by providing more ground shade for the roots and by promoting water retention in the soil.

Watering in several short sessions rather than one long one allows the lawn to better absorb water and helps reduce the risk of over watering.

Check sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the heads in good repair.

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