Simple tips to save water at home

  • Published: Wednesday, June 22, 2016

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Farmers and rural residents can use simple tips to conserve water in the home during drought, says University of Missouri Extension water quality specialist Bob Broz.

Many farmers and rural residents rely on private water wells. Groundwater levels may have little time to recharge when there is low precipitation and high demand.

Wells close together may feed from the same water source, known as an aquifer. Water outages, sudden drops in water pressure or surges, and cloudy or heavily silted water may be signs that your well is not keeping up with demand, Broz says.

Users may also experience problems with valves, waterlines, pumps, well casings and pressure tanks during drought. “It is important to work with a licensed pump installer and well driller to properly diagnose the problem and decide what corrective action to take,” Broz says.

The best approach is to save water by simple measures in the home, he says. Two-thirds of water used in the average home is in the bathroom.

Talk with family members and visitors about ways to conserve water:

Turn water off when brushing your teeth. This saves about 2 gallons of water. Use a glass to rinse.

Turn water off when shaving. This saves 4 gallons of water. Plug the sink and use as little water as possible to wet and rinse your face and clean the razor and sink.

Don’t use the toilet as a waste can. Toilets use 3 to 6 gallons per flush. Put your trash in the trash can instead of flushing it down the toilet.

Take short showers. Limit showers to about four to five minutes. A 10-minute shower uses about 55 gallons of water. Replace old shower heads with new high-efficiency ones.

Taking baths instead of showers can save water if you don’t fill the tub with more than 25 to 40 gallons.

Kitchens are another area where water is often wasted, Broz says. Automatic dishwashers use 9-12 gallons per load. Run the dishwasher only when completely full. Dishwashers may actually use less water than hand washing, Broz says. If you hand wash dishes, use a container of rinse water rather than rinsing dishes under a running faucet.

Garbage disposals use about 2 gallons of water each time they run. Compost your waste instead. Don’t leave the faucet running when you clean vegetables.

Automatic washing machines use about 45 gallons of water per load, Broz says. Run full loads or adjust the water level properly.

Also, clean your sidewalk and driveway with a broom when it’s hot outside. Washing your driveway can take 60-120 gallons of water.

Watering your lawn and shrubs also takes large amounts of water, so do it wisely and at the right time of day.

Writer: Linda Geist

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