The recent rainfall has been welcome and much needed. But we all know that we will need several months of consistent rainfall to catch up from the drought conditions that exist.

Conserving water in the home is just one way to remind ourselves that water is a precious yet limited resource. Here are reminders of how each of us can save on water use in the home.

In the bathroom

• Install a low-flow showerhead that restricts the flow of water from the shower to 2.5 gallons per minute.

• Install a low-flow toilet that uses only 1.6 gallons of water per flush.

• Take short showers. Install a showerhead with a cutoff valve or turn the water off while soaping and turn it back on again to rinse.

• When brushing teeth, turn the water off until it is time to rinse.

• Do not let the water run while washing hands. 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.

• 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.

• Use a toilet tank water displacement device, such as a toilet dam or bag. Also, a plastic bottle can be filled with stones or with water, recapped and placed in the toilet tank. These devices will reduce the volume of water in the tank but will still provide enough for flushing. (Bricks are not recommended as they eventually crumble and can damage the flushing mechanism.) Displacement devices are not recommended for use with newer low-flow toilets.

• Never use the toilet as a trash can to dispose of bugs, cigarette butts or other items. Unnecessary flushing wastes water and places an unnecessary burden on sewage treatment plants and septic tanks.

In the kitchen

• Never run the dishwasher without having a full load.

• Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running water from the tap until it is cool.

• Keep conservation in mind when working in the kitchen. Small water savings, such as not making too much coffee or letting ice cubes melt in a sink, can add up over time.

In the laundry

• Wash only a full load when using the washing machine. It takes about 32 to 59 gallons of water per load!

Each of these simple methods of water conservation in the home will help you save on your water bill and will help our limited water supply last longer. Conservation is everyone’s responsibility. Remember: Do one thing each day to conserve water. Every drop counts!

The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Texas Cooperative Extension is implied. Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin. For more information, call your Rockwall County Extension Office — 972-882-0375.

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