Water Conservation Tips

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Despite the fact that the Georgia Environmental Protection Division has declared the drought over, water conservation is still an important goal in Roswell. There are many ways to conserve water both indoors and outdoors, and thereby, save you money! Below are some easy tips to make sure we are all using water efficiently. If you have any questions about water efficiency, contact Vicki Culbreth for more information by email or calling 770-641-3742.

Indoor Water Conservation

Fix that leak
  • Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.
  • Faucets can drip at a rate of one drop per second, wasting more than 3,000 gallons of water a year.
  • Toilets can leak at a rate of 200 gallons a day, which can add up to 73,050 gallons of water a year. To find out if you have a leak, place a drop of food coloring in the tank. If the color shows in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak.

Give your shower power
  • Taking a five-minute shower uses 10 to 25 gallons of water. Install a water saving showerhead to reduce the flow.
  • A full bath tub requires about 70 gallons of water. Place a stopper in the drain immediately and adjust the temperature as you fill the tub to limit waste.

Turn it off
  • The average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of two gallons per minute. Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth saves up to eight gallons of water per day, 240 gallons a month, 2,880 gallons a year.

Make it a full load
  • The average washing machine uses about 41 gallons of water per load. High-efficiency washing machines use less than 28 gallons of water per load.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate load size selection on the washing machine to save water.

Don't flush your money down the drain
  • If your toilet was made before 1993, you probably have an inefficient model that uses at least 3.5 gallons per flush. New high-efficiency models use less than 1.3 gallons per flush. Installing a new toilet could save a family of four more than $90 on their water bill annually, $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet.

Outdoor Water Conservation

Water efficiently
Over-watering is wasteful, and it can harm plants.
  • Target water to plants that show signs of moisture stress. Plants will turn a gray-green color or wilt when they need water.
  • Water the root zone of the plant instead of the foliage. This saves water and reduces diseases.
  • Water at night or in early morning to avoid losing water to evaporation.
  • Water deeply. Light, frequent watering causes shallow rooting and increases the need for water.
  • Use drip irrigation and micro-sprays when possible. They use 30 to 50 percent less water than sprinklers.
  • In-ground system users should have a regular system audit performed by a professional who will inspect for leaks and other problems and recommend new water-saving equipment. Rain sensors, soil moisture sensors, evapotranspiration controllers and new efficient rotors and spray heads are examples of new technologies.

Put the “right” plants in the “right” places
  • Select plants carefully. Read the plant tag, it tells you the amount of sunlight and water the plants needs as well as the recommended soil conditions.
  • Plants that require partial shade do best on eastern exposures where they are shaded from the hot afternoon sun.
  • Consider the slope and drainage patterns of the site. Plant moisture-loving plants at the base of slopes where they can take advantage of natural drainage.
  • Group plants in the landscape according to their water need: high, medium or low. This will result in more efficient irrigation.

Add organic matter to the soil
  • Organic matter, such as compost, improves the water and nutrient-holding capacity of the soil, adds valuable micro-organisms that aid in nutrient uptake by plants, reduces soil erosion and filters and buffers potential pollutants.
  • Apply three inches of organic matter to the soil surface and incorporate it into the soil 12 inches deep. One cubic yard of material will cover 100 square feet approximately three inches deep. When buying organic material, one cubic yard is equal to 27 cubic feet which is nine, 3-cubic feet bags or 14, 2-cubic feet bags.
  • Add organic matter uniformly across the planting area.

Mulch
  • Mulch holds moisture in the soil.
  • Apply pine straw, shredded hardwood or bark mulch three inches deep: two bales of pine straw cover approximately 100 square feet; 14, 2-cubic feet bags of mulch cover 100 square feet.
  • Apply mulch under the entire canopy of the plant.

Harvest water from alternative sources and use it to irrigate plants

  • Collect water in rain barrels or cisterns.
  • For each inch of rainfall, six gallons of water can be harvested per square foot of roof area.
  • Air-conditioner condensation and dehumidifiers are also sources of irrigation water.