Reducing Water Use During Drought Conditions
Newly released precipitation and water level projections for the year 2014 are out, and it doesn’t look good for the West. Utah, along with other states along the western seaboard are facing a severe shortage of water and runoff that may make life more difficult come summer. The state of California alone is currently suffering from the worst drought ever recorded there in the last 100 years and has officially declared a state of emergency.
So what can you do now that will make a difference besides lie in bed at night and worry? City water supplies are not infinite and every bit that you can conserve now will make a difference later. Here are several ways that you can save water now, so that you have it when you need it.
Reduce the Water Use around the House
First you’ll want to fix any leaky faucets or pipes. A toilet left running for example can waste up to 200 gallons a day if unchecked. To see if you have a leak somewhere, check your home’s water meter and then don’t use any water for two hours. If the meter reading has changed in that time, then there’s a leak somewhere.
When washing produce, brushing your teeth, or shaving, try filling the sink with about an inch of water and use that instead of leaving the water running. Also, only wash full loads of laundry and dirty dishes to minimize water waste.
Reduce the Water Use in the Garden
You can significantly decrease the amount of watering you need to do by planting more drought resistant plants in your garden this year. These types of plants, shrubs and trees are watered with a soaker hose for longer periods or time, but less often and the roots are deep enough that they don’t dry out easily. You can also install timers, moisture or rain sensors on your sprinkler system to conserve water. To minimize evaporation, try to only water in the morning when it’s cooler and raise the blade height on your lawn mower which helps the lawn lose less moisture. Also, avoid fertilizing your lawn if possible, since it causes the plants to grow and use more water.
The state of Utah recently passed a law legalizing the collection of rainwater for personal use, allowing each household to collect 2,500 gallons of water if they have an underground storage tank, or up to two 100 gallon containers above ground. The EPA has estimated that a rain barrel can save families up to 1,300 gallons of water annually, and although it’s not recommended for use as drinking water, it does great for watering the lawn, washing the car, doing laundry etc…
Use Water Sparingly
Overall, there is plenty we can do for water conservation. Always try to use water only when you need it. Try taking shorter showers, or wash your car using a bucket instead of a hose that can lose up to 6 gallons a minute. These changes, although seemingly small, can save thousands of gallons of water annually, and ensure that there will be enough to go around when you need it most.
By Zane Cope
Zane Cope has real passion for problem solving, even problems as large helping each and every household prepared for disasters. Currently, Zane is the owner and President of WaterPrepared, LLC, the number one residential large-capacity water storage tank. He highly values emergency preparedness and self-reliance and has a mission to help families and individuals become water prepared. Zane resides in Utah with his wife and son.