Imagine waking up on a hot summer day…the sun is shining, there is a light warm breeze, and if you’re in Virginia, when you walk outside, you are greeted by a wall of humidity that immediately breaks you out in a sweat. Imagine jumping into a cool pool filled with glorious water, drinking a nice cold glass of water, and taking a refreshing shower at the end of the day. Well, guess what? Not everyone has the luxury of using water all day long like we do. That’s right, I said water is a luxury! It is a luxury that is taken advantage of too much, and it is often taken for granted. Instead of using things to excess, conserving our natural resources is a must. It is something everyone should start doing now, so we don’t reach a point in the future where we do not have access to water at all.
Here are some tips on how you can conserve water, even in the summer!
Water the lawn at the right time
Most of the water that is overused in the summer is on lawn and landscaping. According to the EPA, homeowners use 30-70% of their water outside in the summer, depending on the region, and it is estimated that 50% of the water is wasted from evaporation, wind, or runoff due to overwatering. 1 Avoid watering on windy days or during the hot part of the day when water can evaporate before it soaks into the soil. Landscapes should be watered early in the morning when evaporation loss is minimal. 2
Check for leaks
Put a few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet into your toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl, your tank is leaking, and you are wasting gallons of water a day. This can also reduce your water bill, so that’s two reasons to check.
Shorten your shower
The average American shower has an average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute.3 If you shorten your shower by 2 minutes, you can save 4.2 gallons of water each time! You can take a quiz by the USGS here to find out how much water you use each day.
Rain barrels can be used to collect rainwater, which can then be used for irrigation.
Know your soil and consider your landscaping
Make sure your soil is absorbing water rather than letting the water runoff. Watering for short amounts, multiple times saves more water than watering a large amount at one time. Runoff can also be reduced on slopes by planning native species and shrubs around the edges.
Use a broom to sweep debris or grass clippings from your driveway, sidewalk, or porches instead of using a hose to clean the area.
Reduce hose water waste
Instead of letting the hose waster run freely, add a shutoff valve to the end of the hose and turn it to the off position when the water is not needed or when you are moving the hose to a different location.