By Jessica Rush, email@example.com
As temperatures across North Texas continue to rise, it may be tempting to cool off by sticking your head in the freezer or running through an endless series of sprinklers; however, the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) is offering tips on how residents can save on their water bills – money saving ideas, which may be one of the coolest things to do this summer.
According to NTMWD, summer is when North Texans use the most amount of water, a majority going toward watering the lawn. In fact, summer landscape irrigation accounts for more water usage than all indoor water use combined.
“It’s those peak demands that the district has to base its future water supplies and needs on,” said Denise Hickey, public relations coordinator for NTMWD. “If we can shave off our peak water needs during the summer, then that delays the need to expand a treatment facility or bring supplies online.”
1. Smart irrigation controllers – These “smart” irrigation controllers use atmospheric conditions to determine whether to run the sprinklers or not. They take into account temperature, precipitation and even the amount of water necessary for maximum plant growth as factors for when to turn on. “It’s a weather-based system,” Hickey said. “It won’t come on unless it needs to.”
2. MP rotator sprinkler heads – MP rotator sprinkler heads are designed to provide a lower thrust of water, while covering a larger surface area. “It actually has a better application of water to a lawn, so you don’t have to have sprinklers that overlap each other,” Hickey said.
3. Soaker hoses – These hoses can be more efficient than sprinklers, which lose some water due to evaporation and runoff, as water is slowly released through small holes in the soaker hose. The water goes right into the ground and to the plants’ roots.
4. Drip irrigation systems – Installing a drip irrigation system will get a consumer the most efficient method of irrigation. The tubing allows water to drip directly into the soil, and they are especially useful to water plants spaced far apart or on uneven ground. Hickey also recommends watering the lawn the “old-fashioned way.” “A lot of times it’s more efficient to water the lawn manually than having an automatic water system,” Hickey said.
5. Shower timers – Shower timers can be a reminder to use water indoors more resourcefully. Hickey recommends limiting a shower to ten minutes instead of the usual fifteen. Bathers can use a timer that shuts of the water after a set amount of time, or one that simply works to alert the person once their time limit is up. Shorter showers help reduce excessive water usage.
6. Low-flow shower heads – Aerating shower heads mix in air with lower-pressure water to make a shower feel like it has the same amount of water pressure, while actually reducing water consumption. A different type of low-flow shower head uses a pulsing spray to deliver water with a massaging effect, rather than a continuous stream.
7. Faucet aerators – Faucet aerators are similar to the aerating shower heads and are also simple to install. According to NTMWD, the combination of low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators can result in a 50 percent decrease in a household’s water consumption.
8. Toilet repair kits – Toilet repair kits are helpful to have on hand for replacing fill valves and flappers. These help make certain that water is not leaking, and they help with flush efficiency. “A leaky toilet can waste a lot of water, because it’s typically unseen and unheard,” Hickey said.
9. Water-wise plants – Gardening with the children can be used for education purposes. Parents can explain an efficient way to plant with a good selection of drought tolerant or low-water plants. “If they learn to use water more efficiently, then it will extend the supply for the future,” Hickey said. “Water is a finite resource.”
10. Pool covers – Water in pools can easily evaporate with strong summer winds, but a cover can help reduce the need to keep refilling the pool. These covers can help keep debris out of the pool, and some are designed to help monitor the temperature.
This year’s Water IQ theme has been “drop at least one bad habit, please don’t waste our water.”
“Our research has shown that the most motivating factor for consumers to conserve water or to use it more efficiently is to extend the supplies and save water for the future,” Hickey said.
The second most motivating factor was saving money, and Hickey said it was the first time that money had factored as a response into the research results.
According to Hickey, someone using a broom instead of water to clean the driveway or sidewalk can save up to 80 gallons of water in one cleaning.
“We estimate that watering an average-size lawn uses 2,500 gallons of water,” Hickey said. If you water once per week, (instead of twice a week) you would save over 10,000 gallons in one month…which is a lot of money.”
Through the beginning of the summer, North Texas has seen some very hot temperatures and some dry spells. NTMWD is encouraging everyone to monitor their irrigation systems, only water when their lawn needs to have additional water, and follow the city’s watering ordinances.
“I would encourage everyone to be more knowledgeable and follow the guidelines they have in place,” Hickey said, noting that most cities have a ban on watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., when water evaporation is at its highest.
For information on NTMWD and the Water IQ Water Genius contest, visit www.ntmwd.com.
pottygirl: Toilets account for approx. 30% of water used indoors. By installing a Dual Flush toilet you can save approx. 40% of water being flushed down the toilet, compared to a standard, modern 1.6 gpf (gallons per flush) model. If your toilet has been installed prior to 1994, you are using 3.5 gallons or more each single flush. The water savings you can achieve by upgrading to a Dual Flush toilet are substantial. By reducing your water usage, you are also reducing the cost of your water bill!!
If you are serious about saving water, want a toilet that really works and is affordable, I highly recommend installing a Caroma Dual Flush toilet. They offer a patented dual flush technology consisting of a 0.8 Gal flush for liquid waste and a 1.6 Gal flush for solids. On an average of 5 uses a day (4 liquid/ 1 solid) a Caroma Dual Flush toilet uses an average of 0.96 gallons per flush. The new Sydney Smart uses only 1.28 and 0.8 gpf, that is an average of 0.89 gallons per flush. This is the lowest water consumption of any toilet available in the US. Caroma, an Australian company set the standard by giving the world its first successful two button dual flush system in the 1980’s and has since perfected the technology. With a full 3.5″ trap way, these toilets virtually never clog. All 47 floor mounted models are on the list of WaterSense labeled HET’s (High Efficiency toilets) http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pp/find_het.htm and qualify for the various toilet rebate programs available in the US. Please visit my blog https://pottygirl.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/what-you-should-know-about-toilets/
to learn more or visit http://www.ecotransitions.com/howto.asp to see how we flush potatoes with 0.8 gallons of water, meant for liquids only.