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  - - Featured Articles - - : Utilities Articles
Watch the Water and Save Big Bucks - Water Smarts for Wimberley, Austin, San Antonio, and All of Central Texas

Great tips about how to conserve water and save money... it's easier than you think!

People living in the Hill Country of Central Texas are dependent upon an aquifer system and the groundwater conditions that feed it. Water conservation is smart anywhere, but often critical in this area.

The good news is that water conservation is more easily practiced than many of us may think.

Water conservation is a matter of habits. Many of us grew up brushing our teeth, then later shaving, with water running full speed down the drain. Those were the days before we all knew of the looming water crisis that faces us on a local and global level.

Helping your family to use water wisely doesn't have to be a drag. You can challenge yourself and your loved ones to do one thing each day that will save water. Even if savings are small, every drop counts. And it's a great way to develop habits for the 21st century.

To start a new, smarter day, choose from these tips. Better yet, adopt them all and check out how much money you save while building awareness and a new respect for our precious natural Central Texas resource.

1. When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.

2. Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full and you could save 1000 gallons a month.

3. Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost instead and save gallons every time...composting is an especially valuable practice in our area.

4. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for cold drinks, so that every drop goes down you not the drain.

5. Check your water meter and bill to track your water usage.

6. Wash your produce in the sink or a pan that is partially filled with water instead of running water from the tap.

7. Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.

8. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk and save 80 gallons of water every time.

9. If your shower can fill a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, then replace it with a water-efficient showerhead.

10. Collect the water you use for rinsing produce and reuse it to water houseplants.

11. Check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses for leaks.

12. When you shop for a new appliance, consider one offering cycle and load size adjustments. They are more water and energy-efficient than older appliances.

13. Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You'll save up to 1000 gallons a month.

14. Install low-volume toilets.

15. Plug the bathtub before turning the water on, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.

16. Direct downspouts and other runoff towards shrubs and trees, or collect and use for your garden.

17. Don't use running water to thaw food. To save water and prevent bacterial activity, thaw covered with a small amount of water.

18. Choose a water-efficient drip irrigation system for trees, shrubs and flowers. Watering at the roots is very effective, be careful not to over water.

19. Xeriscape

20. When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.

21. Teach your children to turn the faucets off tightly after each use. Our children will face even greater water supply challenges than we do... it'll help them now and in the future.

22. Before you lather up, install a low-flow showerhead. They're inexpensive, easy to install, and can save your family more than 500 gallons a week.

23. Soak your pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.

24. Make sure you know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save gallons of water and damage to your home if a pipe were to burst.

25. An easy one...turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save 4 gallons a minute. That's 200 gallons a week for a family of four.

26. Encourage your school system and local government to help develop and promote a water conservation ethic among children and adults.

27. Install an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don't have to let the water run while it heats up. This will also reduce heating costs for your household.

28. Using a diswasher? Cut back on rinsing if your dishwasher is new. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.

29. Winterize outdoor spigots when temps dip to 20 degrees F to prevent pipes from bursting or freezing.

30. Insulate hot water pipes so you don't have to run as much water to get hot water to the faucet.

31. Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and other uses.

32. If your toilet was installed prior to 1980, replace it with a water-saver or place a toilet dam or bottle filled with water in your toilet tank to cut down on the amount of water used for each flush. Be sure these devices do not interfere with operating parts.

33. Wash clothes only when you have a full load and save up to 600 gallons each month.

34. Pick-up the phone and report significant water losses from broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers to the property owner or your water management district.

35. Cook food in as little water as possible. This will also retain more of the nutrients.

36. Choose new water-saving appliances, like washing machines that save up to 20 gallons per load.

37. Turn off the water while you shave and you can save more than 100 gallons a week.

And one final, bonus tip that can save money, protect the groundwater, and put you in the forefront of water savvy Texas Hill Country homeowners: install a rainwater harvesting system. Whether you start small with a smaller tank to water plants or use rainwater, the gift from the sky, for all household water needs, a rainwater system protects the groundwater levels and saves lots and lots of money...a win-win.


Click here for rainwater harvesting resources.

in Central Texas