Despite recent increased rainfall in many areas of the country, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported in its most recent drought outlook that drought is still likely in many parts of the country during the summer of 2013. Therefore, it is more important than ever to be mindful of wise water use during these hot, dry summer months.
From running air conditioning to watering lawns, increased summertime water consumption can strain both local supply for homes, businesses and fire protection. The following “Top 10 Tips” from American Water (NYSE: AWK), the nation’s largest publicly traded water and wastewater utility company, can help consumers use water more efficiently, plus identify and prevent leaks, a significant source of water waste.
|1.||Water your lawn only when it needs it. An easy way to tell is to simply walk across the grass. If it springs back you don't need to water, but if you leave footprints, it’s time to water. An added benefit: Fewer, deep-soaking waterings encourage deep root growth and stronger turf.|
|2.||Set your lawn mower one notch higher to make your lawn more drought-tolerant.|
|3.||Consider using drip irrigation or a rain barrel to water your outdoor plants, and water in the early morning. As much as 30 percent of water can be lost to evaporation by watering during midday.|
|4.||Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your sidewalk, driveway or patio.|
|5.||Forego the hose and wash your car with a bucket and sponge instead, which uses only a few gallons to do the job, while a hose left running can waste as much as six gallons per minute.|
|6.||Run dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are full and adjust the water level of your washing machine to match the load size. If you have a water-saver cycle, use it. Also newer, high-efficiency washing machines use less than 27 gallons of water per load, compared to between 27 and 54 gallons a load with traditional washing machines.|
|7.||Keep a pitcher of cold tap water in the refrigerator. You'll avoid the cost and environmental impact of bottled water and you'll have cold water available for warm days without running the faucet.|
|8.||A short shower is better than a bath. A full bathtub can require up to 70 gallons of water, while taking a 5-minute shower uses only 10 to 25 gallons.|
|9.||Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save 8 gallons per day.|
Regularly check your toilet, faucets and pipes for leaks and have them fixed promptly. An easy test for toilet leaks from EPA WaterSense: Place a drop of food coloring in the tank. If the color tints the water in the bowl without flushing, there's a leak. Or, check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, there’s probably a leak. Downloadable leak detection kits are also available in the Learning Center on American Water's website ( www.amwater.com).
These wise water tips also serve to remind consumers of the fundamental value of our most precious resource to overall quality of life in our communities, including health, business and economic development and fire protection. American Water proactively implements leak detection technologies and ongoing system maintenance and upgrades to ensure its communities have safe, reliable water service, especially during periods of peak demand, and all year round as well.