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Of Drips and Trickles: Conserving Water at Home

By Elie Saroufim

Saving water is not that hard to do. In fact, it only requires small changes in your everyday routine to truly have an effect on your water bill.

Sinks and faucets

The first changes we should make happen where most of us start our day: the bathroom. Checking to make sure that your faucets and showerheads are not leaking can save you a lot of money. A faucet or showerhead that drips just two tablespoons per minute can waste 15 gallons per day, which is 105 gallons per week or 5,460 gallons per year!

The next small change is when you are brushing your teeth, turn the water off. Instead of having the water continuously running without being used, turn it off. Over time, this will help you save gallons of water.

Toilets

Many people don’t realize that the toilet is the single biggest water user in your home. Each time you flush an older toilet, you use about 5 to 7 gallons, which adds up to about 38% of the water you use. Installing a new low-flow toilet (now required by the building code) uses only 1.6 or even 1.28 gallons per flush and can reduce your home water consumption significantly.

Dishwashers and washing machines

Dishwashers and washing machines use the same amount of water regardless of the size of the load inside, so run them only when they are full. There are newer, energy-efficient models available now. Look for water- and energy-use specifications when it’s time to replace your appliance.

Lawn care

Water the grass only when it’s needed. Don’t water when it is windy. If you do this, most of the water will be blown away and end up on the street or somewhere that doesn’t need watering.

Install a trigger nozzle for the hose. This screws on to your hose so that, when you are not using the water, it shuts off automatically.

Gardens

A rain barrel is a good way to capture water to keep your garden (or lawn) well hydrated without using any municipal water. If you do need to use the hose, only water the plants in the morning or at night. This will minimize water loss due to evaporation. Also try cultivating plants that are native to your area. Native plants tend to use less water.

These are just a few simple steps to take to reduce our water use, which will help ensure our planet’s safety and our children’s future.

Elie Saroufim is a special projects coordinator at the Boston Water and Sewer Commission.