Water Conservation Tips

As an Authority we try our best to keep rates as reasonable as possible while still being able to provide the highest form of service. Therefore, at times rates will need to go up to allow us to provide better service.

However, you still have the control over how much water you use by enacting water conservation practices.

Here are some ideas to help keep your water costs down:

In the Kitchen Conservation

  • Peel and clean vegetables in a bowl of water instead of under running water.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time.
  • Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, then reuse it to water houseplants.
  • Don't use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.
  • Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  • One more way to get eight glasses of water a day is to re-use the water left over from cooked or steamed foods to start  a scrumptious and nutritious soup.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  • Instead of letting the tap run until water gets cold, keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator, and use it to refill certified reusable water bottles instead of opting for single-use plastic ones.

In the Bathroom Conservation

  • Take short showers instead of baths, and consider using a shower timer. To make it fun for kids, turn it into a game to see who can get the most “squeaky clean” in under three minutes! Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you'll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  • Place a bucket in your shower to capture the water that runs while you’re waiting for it to get hot. Use the water to water plants.
  • Turn off the water while you wash your hair to save up to 150 gallons a month.
  • If you do take a bath, plug the tub before turning the water on, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.
  • Drop your tissue in the trash instead of flushing it and save water every time.

Landscape Conservation

  • Planting

o   Raise your lawnmower blade to at least three inches; taller grass holds soil moisture better.
o   Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
o   Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful.
o   Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money.
o   Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region.
o   Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
o   Let your lawn go dormant during the summer. Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three weeks or less if it rains.
  • Watering

o   Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
o   Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
o   If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
o   Check the root zone of your lawn or garden for moisture before watering using a spade or trowel. If it's still moist two inches under the soil surface, you still have enough water.
o   Use sprinklers for large areas of grass. Water small patches by hand to avoid waste
o   Walkways and patios provide space that doesn't ever need to be watered. These useful "rooms" can also add value to your property.
o   Don't water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
o   Collect water from your roof to water your garden.
o   Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
o   To decrease water from being wasted on sloping lawns, apply water for five minutes and then repeat two to three times.
o   Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden to remind you when to stop. A running hose can discharge up to 10 gallons a minute.
o   When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
o   Wash your car on the lawn, and you'll water your lawn at the same time.
o   Direct water from rain gutters and HVAC systems toward water-loving plants in the landscape for automatic water savings.
o   Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
o   Wash your pets outdoors in an area of your lawn that needs water.
o   Aerate your lawn at least once a year so water can reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
o   When you give your pet fresh water, don't throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
o   If you accidentally drop ice cubes when filling your glass from the freezer, don't throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.

Outdoor Cleaning Conservation

  • Clean the driveway and sidewalk with a broom instead of a hose to save hundreds of gallons of water.
  • Go to the carwash. Water in most car washes is reclaimed (re-used) so the total amount of freshwater used is reduced.

Pool Conservation

  • Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
  • If you have an automatic refilling device, check your pool periodically for leaks.
    • Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of your pool at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later to see if you have a leak.

Appliance Conservation

  • Watch for WaterSense. When you shop for plumbing fixtures, look for the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense label, which means they meet strict criteria for efficiency and performance. http://www.epa.gov/watersense/products/index.html
    • When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They're more water and energy efficient.
  • Install a slow-flow faucet to reduce water consumption up to 50 percent.
  • Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It's simple, inexpensive, and you can save 140 gallons a week.
  • Test Your Tank. Add 12 drops of food coloring to your toilet tank and wait an hour. Look to see if any color seeped through the tank, a fitting or into the toilet bowl. If so, you may have a leak.
  •  Some refrigerators, air conditioners and ice-makers are cooled with wasted flows of water. Consider upgrading with air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.
  • If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model.
  • If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
  • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Washing dark clothes in cold water saves both on water and energy while it helps your clothes to keep their colors.

Bedford Regional Water Authority
1723 Falling Creek Road • Bedford • VA 24523

Water Conservation