Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 22nd 2017 Contents B15
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Water conservation is an essential prac-
tice in all regions, even in areas where wa-
ter seems abundant. In addition to saving
on utility bills, water conservation helps
prevent water pollution in nearby lakes,
rivers and local watersheds.
Conserving water can extend the life of
your septic system by reducing soil sat-
uration, and any pollution due to leaks.
Here are some ways you can do your part
to conserve water in your home and in
Check indoor and outdoor faucets and
pipes for leaks
A small drip from a worn faucet washer can
waste 20 gallons of water per day. Larger leaks
can waste hundreds of gallons. Leaks outside
the house may not seem as bad since they're
not as visible, but they can be just as waste-
ful. Check couplings frequently to keep them
Don't use the toilet as an ashtray or
Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial
tissue or other small bit of trash, five to seven
gallons of water is wasted.
Check your toilets for leaks
Put a little food colouring in your toilet tank.
If, without flushing, the colour begins to ap-
pear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have
a leak that should be repaired immediately.
Install water-saving shower heads and
low-flow faucet aerators
Inexpensive water-saving low-flow shower
heads ("Low-flow" means it uses less than
2.5 gallons per minute) or restrictors are easy
for the home-owner to install. Also, long, hot
showers can use five to ten gallons every un-
needed minute. Limit your showers to the time
it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off.
Put plastic bottles or a float booster in
your toilet tank
To cut water waste, put an inch or two of
sand or pebbles inside each of two plastic
bottles to weigh them down. Fill the bottles
with water, screw the lids on and put them
in your toilet tank, away from the operating
mechanisms. Or, buy an inexpensive tank
bank or float booster which can save ten or
more gallons of water daily. Be sure at least 3
gallons of water remain in the tank so it will
flush properly. For new installations, consider
buying "low flush" toilets, which use 1 to 2
gallons per flush instead of the usual 3 to 5
Take shorter showers
Turn off the shower while soaping, then turn
it back on to rinse. A four-minute shower uses
approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water.
Turn off the water after you wet your
Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth
Rinse your razor in the sink
Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water.
This will rinse your razor just as well as running
water, with far less water waste.
Use your dishwasher and clothes washer
for only full loads
Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers
should be fully loaded for optimum water con-
servation. Most makers of dishwashing soap
recommend not pre-rinsing dishes (this saves
With clothes washers, avoid the permanent
press cycle; it uses an added 20 litres (5 gallons)
for rinsing. For partial loads, adjust water levels
to match the size of the load. New Energy Star
rated washers use 35 - 50% less water and 50%
less energy per load. If you're in the market
for a new clothes washer, consider buying a
water saving front load washer.
When washing dishes by hand, don't
leave the water running for rinsing
If your have a double-basin, fill one with
soapy water and one with rinse water. If you
have a single-basin sink, gather washed dishes
in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray de-
vice or a pan of hot water. Dual-swivel aerators
are available to make this easier.
Don't let the faucet run while you clean
Just rinse them in a stoppered sink or a pan
of clean water.
Put a layer of mulch around trees and
Mulch will slow down the evaporation of
moisture while discouraging weed growth.
Adding 2 - 4 inches of organic material such
as compost or bark mulch will increase the
ability of the soil to retain moisture.
Don't water the gutter
Position your sprinklers so water lands on
the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Also,
avoid watering on windy days. Use a broom,
not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks.
Water your lawn only when it needs it
A good way to see if your lawn needs wa-
tering is to step on the grass. If it springs back
up when you move, it doesn't need water. If
it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering.
Letting the grass grow taller (to 3") will also
promote water retention in the soil.
Most lawns only need about 1" of water each
week. During dry spells, you can stop water-
ing altogether and the lawn will go brown and
dormant. Once cooler weather arrives, the
morning dew and rainfall will bring the lawn
back to its usual vigour. This may result in a
brown lawn, but it saves a lot of water.
Deep-soak your lawn
When watering the lawn, do it long enough
for the moisture to soak down to the roots
where it will do the most good. A light sprin-
kling can evaporate quickly and tends to en-
courage shallow root systems. Put an empty
tuna can on your lawn - when it's full, you've
watered about the right amount.
Water during the early parts of the day;
avoid watering when it's windy
Early morning is generally better than dusk
since it helps prevent the growth of fungus.
Early watering, and late watering, also reduces
water loss to evaporation. Watering early in the
day is also the best defence against slugs and
other garden pests. Try not to water when it's
windy - wind can blow sprinklers off target
and speed evaporation.
Don't run the hose while washing your
carClean the car using a pail of soapy water. Use
the hose with a spray nozzle only for rinsing
when allowed - this simple practice can save
as much as 150 gallons when washing a car.
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