Low-flush toilet saves waterThe East Coast may be in the middle of the floodpocalypse, but the South is still suffering through some of the worst drought conditions on record.

Even when there’s no shortage, saving water is just good policy. As a child, I used to watch my dad shave. Rather than running the water over his razor to rinse it, he would fill the sink with water and swish the razor through at top speed. He said that serving in the Navy taught him how precious water is. 

“Why don’tcha save some for the fish,” he’d mutter, if I was letting the tap run too long.

We could all stand to preserve a few drops this summer. Here are some tips for saving water at home. Some are strange, some are easy, and some will save you buckets of cash on your water bill, for reals.

  • When you have to hand-wash dishes, don’t leave the tap on. Fill the sink and scrub, and only run the water to rinse.
  • Don’t run your washing machine or dishwasher till they are full, full, full.
  • Rinse veggies and fruit in a tub of water -- then use that tub to water your plants.
  • If you need to relax and space out, save it for a tub soak – and set a timer for your showers. Even the newest, most efficient showerheads use about 2.5 gallons per minute, and older (pre-1992) models can use more than 5 gallons per minute!
  • In fact, just go and upgrade your shower head to a high-efficiency model.
  • Same with the toilet: Pre-1994 models can use up to 8 gallons per flush, and new ones use less than 2. And you might qualify for a rebate.
  • Test your water meter: Turn off all the water in the house and take a look at the meter. The dials should be still; if not, you may have a water-wasting leak. Check your water bill, too, to make sure there’s not a big leap in usage.
  • Leave your grass a little higher. Taller grass = more shaded roots = moister soil = more efficient watering.
  • Collect rainwater (remember rain barrels?) and cover the container. Use it later, for your plants.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. (I know, no-brainer, right? Just imagine my dad walking by and muttering.)
  • Insulate hot water pipes so you don’t have to run the water to get it hot.
  • Don’t throw dropped ice cubes down the drain. Drop them into a house plant instead.
  • Switch from grass to shrubs in places that are hard to water.
  • If you have a sprinkler system, have a “water auditor” look it over to make sure you’re not over-watering.
  • It's gross, but we do it because Gov. Jerry Brown of California told us to: "If it's yellow, let it mellow. When it's brown, then flush it down."

How do you save water?


Image via TotoUSA.com