You Make All The Difference
Water is a limited resource shared by everyone. When you save water you can help your community, save money and feel good about protecting our environment. You’re probably already doing some of this…maybe all of it, but surprisingly, the more you do, the more you find you CAN do.
Saving water doesn’t have to change your lifestyle or affect the quality of your life—or even your landscape!
How you can help
The list and charts below show how much water is used for every day tasks when using non-conserving appliances or fixtures. Take a look at this information and think of ways you and your family can reduce your use and save gallons of water every day.
If you get into the habit of only flushing the toilet when necessary, turning off the water when you brush your teeth, using a nozzle on your garden hose and only washing full loads of laundry, you can begin to do your part. By saving water, one person at a time, we can really make a difference. If an appliance like a washing machine needs to be replaced in your house, purchase a water-saving washing machine and watch the savings begin.
- Toilet flush = 3-7 gallons
- Dishwasher = 12 gallons per load
- Washing machine = 47 gallons per load
- Bath = 36 gallons per tub
- Brushing teeth, showering or washing hands = 4 gallons per minute
- Yard hose = 9 gallons per minute
- Pool covers = 60-70% less evaporation
Ready, set, SAVE!
- Avoid unnecessary toilet flushes – dispose of tissues, insects and other similar wastes in the trash, rather than the toilet.
- Turn off the water when brushing teeth and shaving.
- Take shorter showers by limiting shower time to five minutes.
- Turn off the shower when shaving.
- In the shower, turn on water to get wet, turn off water to lather up, then turn water back on to rinse.
- Replace leaky drain plugs in sinks and bathtubs.
- When bathing, close the drain first then fill the tub only one-third full.
- Add food coloring to the toilet tank. If you have a leak, the color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes (flush toilet immediately to avoid stains)
- Operate the dishwasher only when there’s a full load.
- Don’t rinse dishes before loading the dishwasher.
- Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave, not under running water.
- Disposals require a lot of water to operate properly – start a compost pile as an alternative method of disposing of food waste.
- When washing dishes by hand, avoid letting water run continuously in the rinsing sink.
- Select the minimum water volume required per load.
- Only use washer when there are full loads.
- Use the shortest wash cycle for lightly soiled loads; normal and permanent press wash cycles use more water.
- Check hoses regularly for leaks.
- Pre treat stains to avoid rewashing.
There’s nothing more annoying than the sound of a drippy faucet. Just imagine the drops of water – and money – that are being washed down the drain. Even a small leak can waste hundreds of gallons or water a month. Fixing leaks and replacing old toilets, showerheads, faucets and appliances is an important part of being water savvy. You can also save water and money in your home by installing water efficient devices – such as washers, sink aerators and low-flow showerheads. Follow these suggestions to detect leaks and update devices in your home.
Toilets are the largest water users inside your home. Toilets can equate to between one-third and one-half of total indoor water use. Leaks from your toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day – that’s a lot of water. It’s easy to check your toilet for leaks.
Add food coloring to the tank of your toilet (do not use dye, it can stain the tank). If your toilet is leaking, the food coloring will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes (flush toilet immediately to avoid stains).
Toilets have made leaps and bounds over the years. Since the early 1990’s, all new toilets use an average of 1.6 gallons per flush or less – that’s almost half the amount of water toilets used before the early 1990’s. By replacing an old model toilet with a new one, the investment you make in a water-saving toilet will pay for itself by saving money on your monthly utility bill.
By updating your showerhead to a low-flow showerhead, you can reduce water use by up to 50 percent. To determine if you showerhead needs to be replaced, turn the showerhead on at full flow for 10 seconds into a container so you can measure the amount of water. Multiply the amount of water in the container by 6 to get the flow in gallons per minute. If the flow rate is more than 3 gallons per minute, or if your showerhead is leaking, change to a low flow version.
Water loss from drippy faucets can range from several gallons to hundreds of gallons of water per day. Leaks can be fixed in faucets by replacing washers and by tightening or repacking the faucet stem. Most home improvement stores offer a variety of repair kits for faucets. The majority of kits contain detailed instructions and a list of necessary tools to make repairs. Plumbers can make repairs to faucets as well.
You may also choose to install low flow faucets or faucet aerators to conserve water. If installing low flow faucets is not practical, install faucet aerators and flow restrictors. Retrofitting household faucets with low-flow aerators can cut water use by up to 50 percent.
Replacing washing machines and dishwashers with water efficient appliances can save hundreds of gallons of water over the course of a year.
We can have beautiful yards and landscapes without overwatering. Overwatering can actually be harmful to our lawns and cause unwanted pests and bugs. Outdoor water use accounts for approximately 50 percent of total water used by households. Before you irrigate, mow or fertilize your lawn, consider these things:
- Know and follow your watering restrictions, but don’t water just because it’s your approved watering day.
- Only irrigate your lawn when it shows signs of stress from lack of water.
- Pay attention to signs of stressed grass such as bluish-gray color, lingering tire tracks or footprints and leaf blades that are folded in half length-wise.
- Water your lawn in the morning to minimize water loss from evaporation.
- Avoid watering on windy days.
- Install a rain sensor switch to override irrigation systems when it’s raining.
- Monitor your sprinkler system to ensure all sprinkler heads are working properly.
- If you don’t have an automatic shutoff on your sprinkler, use a kitchen timer to remind you to shut off water.
- Make sure you’re watering your lawn and not the sidewalk or driveway.
- Do not hose down your driveway or sidewalk. Use a broom to clean leaves and debris from these areas.
- Use a rain barrel to collect rainwater to water plants.
- Outfit your hose with a spray nozzle.
- Lawns only need one-half to three-quarter inches of water at a time.
- Use mulch in your landscape beds to maintain moisture and prevent evaporation loss.
- Utilize drought-tolerant and native plants. Many of these are heat and cold tolerant, beautiful, and require much less water than turf grass.
So, how much water does your lawn really need?
It has been a pretty wet rainy season, but that will soon be ending and once again homeowners will be faced with the prospect of having to turn on their irrigation systems to keep their lawns green, because most everyone loves to keep their lawns and turf areas green year-round. Read More
- Do not apply fertilizer when more than one inch of rain is expected in the next 48 hours.
- Fertilize in moderation. More is not necessarily better.
- Read and follow fertilizer label instructions.
- If you spill any fertilizer, sweep it up and put it back into the bag.
- Raise your lawn mower blade to the highest setting on your lawn mower.
- Mow regularly, cutting no more than one-third of the grass length to encourage roots to grow deeper and grass blades to hold more moisture.
- Keep mower blades sharp. Dull blades tear grass, opening it to disease and causing it to appear tan and ragged.
- Leave short grass clippings where they fall, reducing the lawns need for water and fertilizer.
- Remove thick patches of clippings so the clippings will not kill the grass underneath.
Check for leaks
- Check water faucets, hoses and connectors periodically to make sure they are in good working order.
- If you find a leaky faucet, change the washer.
- Soft, wet spots around the in-ground sprinkler could indicate a leak that is being absorbed into the ground from your sprinkling system. Contact a plumber or landscape maintenance specialist if repairs are needed.
- Check your water meter when you are sure no water is being used. If the meter reading changes, you know you have a leak.
A printable brochure with tips to save water inside and outside of your home can be viewed here.
Broward County has developed water resource education programs for people with different interests and needs.
The Broward NatureScape program teaches homeowners and businesses how to create Florida-friendly landscapes to conserve water, protect water quality and create wildlife habitats. The NatureScape program promotes the use of native plants, which are adapted to South Florida. Once established, these plants require less water and are naturally resistant to pests. Fewer pests mean less chemical applications and a reduction in water pollution from storm water runoff. Native plants also encourage butterflies and wildlife, beautiful additions to any landscape.
To learn more about designing and maintaining a Florida-friendly landscape in your backyard, visit the Broward NatureScape program at www.broward.org/naturescape/.
Water Matters is a program created by Broward County to educate homeowners, policy makers, businesses and property managers to understand their role in water management and water conservation. The Water Matters program provides information to help them make more informed decisions about water management, the protection of water resources and water conservation.
Water Matters Day
Broward County hosts the annual Water Matters Day each Spring. Thousands of residents attend this family-friendly event, which features interactive educational displays and booths, water conservation and landscaping tips, eco-friendly ideas and live entertainment. Kids can enjoy activities such as crafts, face painting and more. Water Matters Day encourages residents to understand their role in conserving water.
You can obtain more information about the Water Matters program by visiting www.broward.org/watermatters/.
Know The Flow
Know the Flow educates residents, property managers, landscape professionals and municipal staff about the shared responsibility to protect water resources. When it rains, storm water is carried from yards and streets to the nearest drainage system and into nearby water bodies. This water – the water we use for drinking, swimming, fishing and irrigation are all linked together through this natural process. By “Knowing the Flow” of water, you can help reduce storm water pollution, prevent flooding and protect water resources for the future. The Know the Flow program was developed in partnership with the Central Broward Water Control District and the South Florida Water Management District.
More information about the Know the Flow program can be obtained by visiting www.broward.org/knowtheflow/.
Integrated Water Resource Plan
The population of Broward County continues to grow. It’s estimated that by the year 2015, the population of Broward will reach approximately 2 million people. As the population grows, the need for water grows, too. The Integrated Water Resource Plan (IWRP) was developed to effectively manage water resources. The plan ensures water is managed in a way that benefits everyone while protecting water resources for the future.
More information about the IWRP plan can be viewed at www.broward.org/iwrp/.