How You Can Help
Water conservation has a lot to do with water quality. Drinking water comes from groundwater sources or from area rivers that have been dammed. The more we use, the more we reduce the natural freshwater flows that are the very lifeblood of the Bay. So essential is freshwater to fish and plants downstream that alterations in the supply can impact the ability of these species to breed and regenerate. Squandering water also strains our limited drinking water supplies.
Quick tips for water-savers:
- Check for leaks using one of two simple techniques: monitor your water meter before and after a 2-hour period in which no water is used. If the readings are not identical, a leak is evident. For suspected toilet leaks, add several drops of food coloring to your tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the toilet within 20 minutes. Flush after conducting test.
- Replace conventional shower heads with ultra low-flow models to reduce water flow by as much as 25 percent. Install aerators with flow restricters on household faucets. Shortening your shower can save up to 10 gallons per minute.
- Don't waste water. As much as three gallons per minute can escape each time you allow water to run while brushing your teeth or shaving. Turn it off when you're not using it!
- Install a low-flow toilet or displacement device in your toilet tank to save water each time you flush. Check with your local water department about rebates for new water-conserving fixtures.
- Let your lawn tell you when to water. Water only when you see folded grass blades and a grayish cast to the lawn. It won't hurt the grass to wilt, and you can save on your water bill.
- Don't turn on an automatic sprinkler system simply to satisfy a few thirsty plants. Hand water them or install a drip system available at home improvement stores. Drip systems are easy to install; they hook onto outdoor faucets and are exempt from watering restrictions.
Improve your aim. Adjust sprinkler heads to avoid watering driveways and concrete. Consider installing a drip or micro-irrigation system that waters more efficiently.
Install shut-off devices on the end of your garden hose to reduce water loss.
Conservation is also important for people using well water, which draws from groundwater supplies. To learn more about water conservation, contact the Southwest Florida Water Management District.