INSIDE THE HOME
• Repair dripping faucets.
• Retrofit all faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors to slow the flow of water.
• When brushing teeth, turn the water off until it is time to rinse.
• Do not let the water run while washing hands or face. Turn the water off while soaping and turn it on again to rinse.
• When shaving, fill the lavatory with hot water instead of letting the water run continuously.
Showers & Baths
• Take short showers.
• Install a low-flow showerhead that restricts the flow of water from the shower to 2.5 gallons per minute.
• Install a showerhead with a cutoff valve or turn the water off while soaping and turn it back on again to rinse.
• In the shower, turn water on to get wet; turn off to lather up; then turn back on to rinse off. Repeat when washing your hair.
• Use the minimum amount of water needed for a bath by closing the drain first and filling the bath only 1/3 full. Stopper bath before turning water. The initial burst of cold water can be warmed by adding hot water later.
• Test toilets for leaks. Add a few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet to the water in the toilet tank, but do not flush the toilet. Wait a few minutes to see if the coloring appears in the bowl. If so, the toilet has a silent leak that needs to be repaired. (Flush as soon as test is done, since food coloring may stain tank.)
• For new construction or remodeling, install a low-flow toilet that uses only 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
• For older toilet tanks, use a water displacement device, such as a toilet dam. Also, a plastic bottle can be filled with stones or with water, recapped, and placed in the toilet tank. (Bricks are not recommended as they eventually crumble and can damage the flushing mechanism.)
• Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily.
Dishwashers, Sinks, and Disposals
• Operate automatic dishwashers only when they are fully loaded. Set the water level for the size of load you are using.
• Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing of food waste, instead of using a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals also can add 50 percent to the volume of solids in the sewer system or they can lead to problems with a septic tank.
• Installing a low-flow aerators in your kitchen faucet. A running faucet can use up to 5 gallons of water a minute.
• Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Don't let the tap run while you are waiting for cool water to flow.
• Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
• Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or for cleaning around your home.
• When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet.
• Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don't have to let the water run while it heats up. This will reduce water heating costs for your household.
Around the House
Washer, Pipes and Pumps
• Operate clothes washers only when they are fully loaded. Set the water level for the size of load you are using.
• Verify that your home is leak free. Many homes have hidden water leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
• If you have a well at home, check your pump periodically. Listen to hear if the pump kicks on and off while water is not being used. If it does, you have a leak.
• Insulate your water pipes. You'll get hot water faster and avoid wasting water while it heats up.
• Install water softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on vacation.
• Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or cleaning.
OUTSIDE THE HOME
Sprinklers, Landscaping, and Mowing
• Adjust sprinklers so only the lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
• Do not water on windy days (greater than 15 mph).
• Check and maintain your sprinkler system regularly.
• Use a sprinkler that throws large drops of water rather than a fine mist. This will reduce water losses from wind drift and evaporation.
• Install an automatic timer.
• Minimize grass areas in your yard because less grass means less water demand. Replace with low-water use landscaping.
• Consider use of drip irrigation for bedded plants, trees, or shrubs.
• Use hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate leaks.
• Using a layer of mulch around plants reduces evaporation and promotes plant growth. Water retaining basins also allow water to be concentrated around the plants.
• When mowing, raise the blade on your lawn mower to at least three (3) inches high, or to its highest level. Closely-cut grass makes the roots work harder, requiring more water.
• For landscaping, Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees. Check with your local nursery for the best native or low-water use trees, shrubs and plants.
• Avoid over-fertilizing your lawn. The application of fertilizers increases the need for water. Apply fertilizers that contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
Other Exterior Uses
• Evaporative coolers require a seasonal maintenance check-up. For more water efficient cooling, check your evaporative coolers annually.
• Use a broom when cleaning your driveway. Do not "sweep" the driveway or sidewalk with water from the hose.
• Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water. If you wash your own car, park on the grass to do so and use water from a bucket.
• Avoid the installation of ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless the water is recycled. Locate where there are mineral losses due to evaporation and wind drift.
• If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter. A single back flushing with a traditional filter uses from 180 to 250 gallons or more of water.
INTERNET WATER LINKS
Additional water conservation tips can be found at:
An on-line fauscet drip calculator can help you figure out how much water you are wasting:
For on-line brochures on water conservation and concepts for planting, the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer has an extensive web site:
or call the toll-free number for more conservation information: 1-800-waternm (1-800-928-3766)