With California suffering from one of the most severe droughts on record, Gov. Jerry Brown implemented emergency water conservation regulations with a goal of reducing urban potable water usage by 25 percent. Water usage reduction measures include prohibiting the use of potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways, using hoses with no shutoff valves, using potable water in decorative water features that do not circulate the water, and irrigating outdoors during and within 48 hours of a measurable rainfall. California is not the only state in a crisis so this is the time to implement ways to save water.
Here are five ways to better conserve water and reduce water bills for your properties:
1) Audit the Property for Any Leaks
Have maintenance protocols in place to quickly fix leaks. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average U.S. family wastes 10,000 gallons of water or the equivalent of 270 plus loads of laundry from leaks each year. Addressing and fixing these quickly will help cut down on wasteful water consumption and save a significant amount of money. Check all faucets, bathtub/shower fixtures, plumbing under sinks, look for running toilets, and puddles of water around sprinkler systems.
2) Install Aerators on Faucets
Aerators are a mesh screen that goes on the end of a faucet to add air to the water stream. They are readily available and are a simple, fast and cost-effective solution for conserving water. As water hits the screen, the stream is separated using less water to feel the same amount of pressure. There are different types of aerators available depending on the usage of the faucet. For bathroom faucets, a low-pressure stream is all you need; unlike a kitchen sink where high-pressure can help when it comes to washing dishes. There are a variety of models and designs available to meet everybody’s needs as well as the style of your fixtures. However, if the sink is unique – an adapter may be required.
3) Offer Conservation Tips to Residents
The EPA offers an extensive list of tips for residents to improve their water conservation. Educate your residents on simple measures they can take to reduce water consumption. Monthly newsletters, email campaigns and bulletin board postings are great opportunities to share interesting and effective tips. The more informed your residents are the more money and water you can save. For example, share how waiting to use the dishwasher until it is full and washing one large load of clothes versus three smaller ones are great ways to save water and money.
4) Replace Outdated Faucets, Showerheads and Appliances
Outdated faucets, showerheads and appliances can waste a significant amount of water. Look for government sponsored programs such as WaterSense to help you find the most efficient replacements for your property. According to the EPA, products that carry this label are 20 percent more efficient than average products in their category and provide both financial and water savings. By replacing old faucets and aerators with WaterSense models, households can save an estimated 700 gallons of water each year.
5) Appropriate Landscaping for the Area
One way to conserve water better is by making sure the landscaping reflects the region’s natural climate. Planting flowers may add great curb appeal, but knowing which flowers and plants can thrive in your region without excessive watering is essential. Set the sprinkler timer for spring setting and what is ideal for your grass variety and location while considering local city water restrictions. Also, if you are located in regions prone to drought, a helpful water conservation solution may be transitioning to Xeriscape – landscaping with plants that use less water or investing in an artificial lawn. Request an audit of your property from your local authority before beginning landscape changes, as it may offer added discounts once your property has undergone the updates.
As the drought crisis continues, take the opportunity to educate yourself and your renters about the importance of saving water. Within the U.S. the need for water continues to rise, while the amount of available water declines. Should the trend continue, water conservation will continue to be more important than ever before.
By: Laura Mowry