SAVING WATER INDOORS:
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.
Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers.
If your faucet is dripping at a rate of one drop per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 gallons per year. This adds to the cost of water and sewer utilities, or can strain your septic system.
Check your toilet tank for leaks.
Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the toilet bowl within 30 minutes. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed. (Flush as soon as test is done, since food coloring may stain tank.)
Check your toilet handle.
If the toilet handle frequently sticks in the flush position letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.
Take shorter showers.
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.
Put plastic bottles or a float booster in your toilet tank.
Place a toilet dam or displacement device such as a bag or bottle to cut down on the amount of water needed for each flush. Be sure installation does not interfere with the operating parts.
Insulate your water pipes.
It’s fairly easy and inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You’ll get hot water faster and avoid wasting water while it heats up.
Keep a bottle or pitcher of water in the refrigerator.
Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful. Store drinking water in the refrigerator in a safe drinking bottle or water pitcher.
Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods.
Rather than use running water, defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
Start as compost pile.
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 a septic tank, which can lead to malfunctions and maintenance problems.
Cut back on water usage when dishes.
When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet.
Brush your teeth while waiting for water to get hot for shaving.
Don’t let water run while shaving or washing your face. Instead of wasting the water, brush your teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin.
Run the minimum regeneration setting if you have a water softener.
Save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness. Also, turn softeners off while on vacation.
Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily.
Dispose of tissues, insects and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
SAVING WATER OUTDOORS:
Don’t over water your lawn.
As a general rule, lawns only need watering every five to seven days in the summer and every 10 to 14 days in the winter. A hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for up to two weeks. Buy a rain gauge and use it to determine how much rain your yard has received. Most of the year, lawns only need one inch of water per week.
Plant it smart.
Drought efficient landscaping is a great way to design, install and maintain both your plants and irrigation system. More importantly, it will save time, money and water.
Water lawns during the early morning hours.
The morning is often when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation.
Don’t water your street, driveway or sidewalk.
Position sprinklers so that water lands on the lawn and shrubs…not the paved areas.
Keep tabs on your sprinkler system.
Check sprinkler systems and timing devices regularly to be sure they operate properly.
Raise the lawn mower blade.
Utilize the highest level available or at least three inches on your lawn mower blade. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely-clipped lawn.
Avoid over fertilizing your lawn.
Fertilizer applications increase the need for water. Apply fertilizers which contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil.
Mulch also helps control weeds that compete with landscape plants for water.
Plant native or drought-tolerant grasses, shrubs and trees.
Once established, they do not need water as frequently and usually will survive a dry period without watering. Group plants together based on similar water needs.
Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended.
A garden hose can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn sprinklers off.
Use a shut-off nozzle on your hose.
Use the nozzle to adjusted down to a fine spray so that water flows only as needed. When finished, turn it off at the faucet instead of at the nozzle to avoid leaks. Check hose connectors to make sure plastic or rubber washers are in place. Washers prevent leaks.
GENERAL WATER SAVING TIPS:
Get involved in water management issues.
Voice your questions and concerns at to the Dandridge Water Management Facility at 865-397-3696.
Report all significant water losses.
Tell the property owner or the local water agency if you see water loss such as broken pipes, open hydrants, errant sprinklers, abandoned free-flowing wells, etc.
Support water conservation efforts and programs.
Be supportive of programs that create a concern for water conservation even among tourists and visitors to our state.
Conserve water because it is the right thing to do.
Don’t waste water just because someone else is footing the bill, such as when you are staying at a hotel.