Conserve water after our pitiful monsoon

We live in a desert so we should be especially careful with our water. Over the decades, our use of river and ground water has depleted river flows. And at the time of this writing, people are saying this was ‘the worst monsoon’ in history. So what can you do?

Assess your use

What uses the most water? How do you compare to the average family? Look at the usage on your bills every month.
According to the EPA,
• The average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day at home. Roughly 70 percent of this use occurs indoors.
• Nationally, outdoor water use accounts for 30 percent of household use yet can be much higher in drier parts of the country and in more water-intensive landscapes. For example, the arid West has some of the highest per capita residential water use because of landscape irrigation.
If you want to do a more formal water audit, click here.

Reduce outdoor water use

In Arizona, consider your landscape.
• Swap out plants that are struggling with drought tolerant natives.
• Check your drip irrigation for leaks and use a moisture meter to decide when to water
• Get a rain barrel
• Take your car to a carwash that recycles its water
• Replace hardscapes with pervious pavement
• Direct stormwater to where it can do the most good

Control indoor water use

Inside a home, the biggest water users are the toilets and showers.
• Make sure you have low-flow fixtures, especially toilets and shower heads. They should be labeled. Get a high efficiency clothes washer and dishwasher.
• Check for leaks. See if your water meter is going when no one is using water. How to read your meter. Put a little food coloring in the top of your toilet tank and see if it ends up in the bowl.
• If you’re building a new house, put in a graywater system.
• Get in the habit of saving water. For example, take quick showers and reuse kitchen rinse water.
Check out the Arizona Department of Water Resources for more tips and resources.
Darcy Hitchcock, Sustainability Alliance, 928-554-5171