It’s too soon to tell if we are in a drought, but some local water systems are already asking customers to conserve water. Fresh water is precious, and we have a responsibility to use water wisely. Consider these easy, inexpensive steps to reduce the water you use while not changing your lifestyle.

Fix Hidden Leaks

The average family of four uses 400 gallons of water each day. Up to 10 percent of homes have easy-to-fix leaks that waste 90 gallons per day. Start by checking your toilets. A leaking toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day, and the typical fix — replacing the flapper — is simple and may not require tools.

Your water meter can tell you a lot about whether you have a leak. Pick a time when no one will be using water for a few hours — maybe before you leave for work — and note the meter reading. When you return, see if it has changed. If it has, you may have a leak.  Be sure to do this more than once to be certain.

Cut Back on Running Water

Do you run the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving? Try turning it off when you are not actually using the water. You could save as much as eight gallons just in the time you brush your teeth.

If you have one, let the dishwasher wash your dishes — and make sure it’s fully loaded before you run it. Prewashing and washing dishes by hand uses more water than the dishwasher.

Outdoor Watering Done Right

Outdoor watering accounts for 30 percent of the average water bill — and most of that is used on lawns and landscapes. Yet up to half of the water is wasted because of inefficient watering methods and systems.  Make sure you water only the landscape, water early and late, and aim the spray as low as possible to reduce evaporation.

To learn more about ways to save water or improve your home’s overall efficiency, visit

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