Daily Dupaco

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Wise water use equals smaller bills

As temperatures climb, so does our water usage.

In hot summer months, a household's outdoor water usage can rise from 30 percent to as high as 70 percent, according to estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

You can play your part in being water wise and, as a result, save money on your summer water bills by taking a few simple steps.

During this heat wave and dry conditions, the EPA offers these outdoor landscaping tips:

  • Use regionally appropriate, low water-using and native plants. Once established, these plants require little water beyond normal rainfall.
  • Group plants according to their water needs. Doing so will reduce water use by allowing you to water according to each zone's specific needs. 
  • Plan a water-efficient landscape. Use the WaterSense Water Budget Tool to get started.
  • Minimize steep slopes, which come with the potential for erosion and runoff.

You also can make changes inside of your home to conserve water and realize additional cost savings. About half of the water used in an average home is used in the bathroom, and much of that water might be going to the sewer needlessly, according to the city of Dubuque.

The city says that making some of the following changes can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars:

  • A single dripping faucet can waste far more water in a single day than one person needs for drinking in an entire week. Don't wait to fix a drip. Check every faucet in the house for leaks. Click here to learn how.
  • Toilets are notorious for hidden leaks, which occur when they are out of adjustment or when parts are worn. Most leaks are at the overflow pipe or plunger ball. 
  • Don't run the water while brushing teeth or shaving. It wastes more than what one person needs for drinking for a week. 
  • Have a full load when running your dishwasher or washing machine. Both of these appliances use the same amount of water, full or not.

By Emily Kittle

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