Every Drop Counts Quiz & Tips
EVERY DROP COUNTS: Water Quiz How much water are you using?
What is your water footprint?
Household faucet: 3 to 5 gallons per minute
Shower: 5 to 10 gallons per minute
Tub for bath: 50 gallons if full
Toilet flushing: 5 to 7 gallons
Dishwasher: 15 to 25 gallons
Washing Machine: 35 gallons
Lawn watering: 35 gallons per ½ acre
Dripping faucet: 1000 gallons or more per year
Based on your country of residence and your own consumption pattern, you will have a unique water footprint. Use the footprint calculator developed by waterfootprint.com
to assess your own water footprint.
EVERY DROP COUNTS: Water Tips
Using less water at home leaves more in streams for our aquatic animals. Here are some great tips to help you conserve water at home.
IN YOUR HOUSE…
Fix Your Leaky Commode. A leaky toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water each day and one leaky faucet alone can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water in one year. Fixing a leaky faucet or toilet will save you money while saving water. Check for leaks in your toilet by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank, then watch for a few minutes. If color appears in the bowl, you have a leak. If you hear a drip from your faucet, you have a leak. Check for leaks today!
Do the Dishes . . .the Right Way! Only run full loads of dishes in the dishwasher; automatic dishwashers use 12 gallons of water whether the dishwasher is full or not. Pre-rinsing dishes before running the washer wastes up to 25 gallons per load. Use the pre-rinse cycle on your dishwasher instead of pre-rinsing by hand. If washing dishes by hand, instead of running the water the whole time use a bucket (or sink) of soapy water to wash and a bucket (or sink) of clean water to rinse.
Do Laundry the Smart Way. Make sure to use the load selector for small loads on your washing machine. A full washing machine uses 35 gallons each load. Using colder water on your clothes is not as harsh on the fabrics and will make your clothes last longer, as well as helping the environment!
Shower Power. It takes about 70 gallons of water to fill a bath tub completely. Taking a five minute shower only uses 10 to 25 gallons of water. If you do take a bath, stopper the drain immediately and adjust the temperature of the water as you fill up the bath tub.
Save Water While Brushing. If you leave the water running while brushing teeth, it wastes 2 gallons per minute. By turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth you can save around 8 gallons a day.
Defrost without water. Plan ahead when cooking, and leave frozen foods out to thaw instead of running them under hot water. If it is necessary, place it in a bowl of water instead of running the faucet until it has thawed out.
Replace Your Older Toilets. If your toilet was made before 1992 then it is probably an inefficient toilet that uses from 3.5 gallons up to 7 gallons per flush. High-efficiency toilets made after 1992 use less than 1.3 gallons per flush. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, using a high-efficiency toilet can save a family of four about $1000 a year. You can also place a water jug in your toilet tank to displace some of the water, using less water with each flush (this works well with older toilets).
Enjoy A High Efficiency Shower. Older, low-efficiency, shower heads use from 4 up to 7 gallons per minute in the shower. Replace your old shower head with a new aerating shower head which uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute or less. Aerating shower heads work by mixing water and air together to create a forceful stream. It still feels great without using nearly as much water.
IN YOUR YARD AND FOR YOUR PLANTS
Use Native Plants. Plant drought tolerant native plants when landscaping. They will not require as much watering to sustain them and will weather droughts better. To find out if a plant is native to your area, visit the Tennessee Valley Authority website which has a native plant search engine
Collect Rainwater. Collecting rain water from your gutters to water your plants can save a lot of water depending on how much rainfall there is, and provides healthier water for your plants. The easiest method to collect rainwater is to place a container under one of the gutter downspouts and cover the container between uses. (Covering the container will prevent mosquitoes and other critters from contaminating the water). Anytime you draw water inside and do not use all of it, do not pour it down the drain! Save it to water plants later.
Don’t Water More… Water Smarter. If you plan on watering your grass, first check to see if watering your lawn is necessary. Walk across your lawn and if you leave footprints then it needs water. Water at the coolest time of day (i.e. overnight, late evening and early morning.) Less evaporation and better soil absorption occurs in the early morning hours, which means less water usage. Don’t water your lawn on windy days, because of increased evaporation. Following these tips can help you save 300 gallons in each watering. Imagine what that does for your water bill!
Water Less Often. Try to create a larger gap between when you water. When your lawn dries out it creates deeper roots. These deeper roots will allow you to water deeper and less often when you do water your lawn.
The Less Paving the Better. Limit the amount of impervious surfaces (e.g. sidewalks, roofs, driveways and patios) on your property. Impervious surfaces block the absorption of water into the soil. Consider using porous concrete on your driveway. Porous concrete has more void space to allow water to pass through the concrete into the soil, rather than become runoff.
Embrace Irrigation Technology. Consider placing your irrigation system on a control that will regulate irrigation time and moisture level of the soil. This will cut down on over-watering and will shut off the system when rainy weather does the watering for you.
Let the Grass Grow! Longer grass will shade root systems and hold moisture in the soil more effectively than a finely clipped lawn. Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting and consider leaving the clippings on the lawn for more protection
Plant A Rain Garden. Rain gardens are bowl-shaped areas in your landscape that function as miniature wetlands. The garden is designed to take in excess rainwater run-off from your property. The plants in the garden absorb the excess water, and return water vapor into the atmosphere rather than letting the rainwater become runoff. Add a rain garden to grow beautiful plants with the rain you get anyway.
Treat Your Lawn Less - Water from rain or irrigation carries pesticides and fertilizers from lawns or gardens to street drains that feed directly into waterways. Once these chemicals dissolve into our rivers and streams, they can kill fish and affect plants and algae that aquatic life needs to thrive. Start gardening without chemicals or use only what is necessary and protect our rivers and streams. Ask about chemical-free alternatives at your nursery.