Water Saving Tips

Here are some water conservation methods that all customers of Big Spring utilities should utilize to conserve water.

In the Bathroom

  • Turn off the running water while you brush your teeth (save 1 to 5 gallons of water per minute).
  • Turn off the water while shaving. Fill the sink with a little water and rinse your razor in that (save 1 to 5 gallons of water per minute).
  • Install low-flow shower heads and toilets (save 1 to 5 gallons of water per minute). Take shorter showers. You can save 2 to 10 gallons for every minute you cut back. Or take a shallow bath instead (short showers with a low-flow head uses less water than a bath).
  • While waiting for the shower or bath water to warm up, save that water and use it on your house plants, flower beds, trees, for pet drinking water or elsewhere.
  • Get running toilets fixed. A running toilet can use as much as 30 to 500 gallons of water per day. If the toilet handle frequently sticks in the flush position letting water run, replace it or get it fixed.
  • Install a toilet dam or displacement device to cut down on the amount of water needed for each flush. Put an inch or two of sand or pebbles in the bottom of a quart or larger container and fill the rest of the container with water. Put the cap on and place the bottle in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanism. The container will save on each flush without impairing the efficiency of the toilet.
  • Check your toilets for leaks. Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the coloring begins to appear in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Even a small leak can waste thousands of gallons a month.

In the Kitchen

  • Don't use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food in the fridge or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
  • Rinse vegetables and fruits with a sink full of clean water rather than running the water the whole time.
  • Don't run the tap to get cold or hot water. Keep a bottle or pitcher of drinking water in the fridge instead of running the water to cool it. Heat water in the microwave.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don't keep water running. Use sinks full of water to wash and then rinse.
  • Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run over them while you scrape.
  • Reuse the water left over from cooking foods like pasta and vegetables to water house plants.
  • Run only full loads of dishes in your dish-washing machine (save up to 15 gallons of water per load).

In the Rest of the House

  • Run only full loads of clothes in your washing machine (save up to 23 gallons of water for every load you don't run).
  • Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or cleaning around the house.
  • Don't use or install ornamental water features unless they recycle water.
  • Use high-efficiency appliances if possible.
  • Get leaky faucets and pipes fixed. A small drip can waste up to 2,700 gallons per year.

Outdoor Watering

  • Water your lawn every 3 days. Your lawn doesn't need more than this.
  • Water after 10 p.m. or before 10 a.m. to avoid evaporation.
  • Keep sprinklers from watering pavement. Position them so that water lands on the lawn and shrubs.
  • The idea is to cycle your watering so most of the water gets into the soil. High clay-content soils absorb water very slowly, so it is necessary to apply no more water than the ground can absorb. Over watering does not help your lawn.
  • Don't water if it's raining - even if it is your day/time to water. The point is to conserve our water!
  • Reset your automatic sprinkler system as the season changes to eliminate unnecessary watering. Homes with automatic sprinklers use up to 50% more water than manually operated systems.
  • Treat brown spots in the lawn with the hose instead of running the entire sprinkler system.
  • Use drip or soaker-type irrigation for all plantings except turf.
  • It's a good idea to review the way you use all the areas of your yard and prioritize your landscaping into high-care zones, moderate-care zones and low-care zones. Then water accordingly. If you have some high priority areas that you want to keep green, you may need to let other areas go brown.

Outdoor Water Saving Lawn Care Methods

  • When possible, place plants with similar watering needs in the same areas.
  • Border all lawn areas with low-water ground covers to reduce water runoff and buffer the grass from hot pavement.
  • Use an auto-shutoff nozzle on your garden hose.
  • Aerate your lawn. This increases water infiltration into the soil, allowing more water to get to the root zone. Aerating also adds air to the soil, which aids plant growth.
  • Avoid over-fertilizing. Fertilizer increases the need for water. Fertilize appropriately.
  • Set lawnmower blades to cut grass at about 2 to 3 inches long. Mowing grass shorter dries out the soil faster and increases water use.
  • Leave grass clippings on your lawn. This will reduce evaporation and add organic matter to the soil, allowing it to retain more water.
  • Compost your yard and food waste in your back yard. Compost is a valuable tool for reducing your landscape's water needs.
  • Spread mulch or compost around plants to reduce water loss and weed growth.

Other Outdoor Water Uses

  • Wash you car at a commercial car wash that recycles its water (look for the automatic drive-through car washes, the manual ones often don't recycle water). Or use a bucket and/or hose with an automatic shut off nozzle at home.
  • Don't hose down your driveway. Sweep it instead.
Remember, you are the key to conserving water, and you can make a difference by taking simple steps each day, if you do at least one thing a day to save water. Even if the savings are small, every drop counts.