Saving Water in Your Home

Water is a limited resource, and even in our wet corner of the world supplies can be depleted.

Rivers across the state provide drinking water for our communities and up to 30% of Oregonians draw on wells that are linked to nearby rivers. The more water we use, the less we leave for fish, wildlife and irrigating farms, and the more we end up paying. Like it or not, the population of the Pacific Northwest is expected to grow drastically over during our lifetime, so even more demands will be placed on our water resources.

The good news is that conserving water is easy. Here are a few ways to get started:

Water in the morning or evening, not in the middle of the day when water evaporates quickly. A green lawn only needs 1 to 1 ½ inches of water per week. That’s only as deep as a tuna can.

Landscape with native plants instead of grass. This will reduce your yard’s water needs. This will also attract wildlife such as birds and butterflies. You can get information on native plants from your library or nursery. Native plants are used to the natural cycles and can thrive without the extra watering.

Run the washing machine or dishwasher only when you have a full load.

Take shorter showers. Each minute you cut from a daily shower will save over 1800 gallons over the course of a year. If the 2.5 million people in our area cut one minute of shower time from every shower for a year, it would save 4.5billion gallons of water!

Fix leaks promptly. Leaky sinks and toilets can waste thousands of gallons. A leaky sink can waste 50 gallons of water in just 24 hours.

Adjust sprinklers to avoid sidewalks and streets. If it doesn’t grow, don’t water it.
Install water saving devices. These include low-flow showerheads, on/off sink spigots, and toilet dams. Showerheads average five gallons per minute. Switching to a low-flow showerhead (around two gallons per minute) can save even more.

Turn off the tap. Keep a pitcher of cool water in the fridge to avoid running the tap until it gets cool every time you want a drink. Use a cup while you brush your teeth.

Support “conservation rates” in your community. Water rates should be structured to encourage conservation by homes and businesses. Instead, they often encourage waste by charging less per unit for high-volume customers.

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