Water Conservation Tips
Water is a precious and limited resource in the Eastern Sierras, so it's important to take steps to conserve it. To support conservation, watering between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. is prohibited.
Saving Water Starts at Home
We rely on water for a wide variety of uses around the house every day. So there are many ways in which we can save water on a daily basis.
- One of the most effective ways to cut your water footprint is by repairing leaky faucets, indoors and out.
- Check the parts inside your toilet tank to make sure they are in good shape and up to date. Also, find and repair leaky toilets.
- Turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth, then turn on again when you’re ready to clean off the toothbrush.
- Consider getting a low-flow showerhead in your bathroom, you can save approximately 15 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower.
- If you use a handheld shower, you also save a ton of water. You direct the water so there is very little overspray.
- It takes about 60 gallons of water to fill a bathtub, so showers are the more water-efficient way to bathe. But if you still want to use your bathtub, fill it halfway instead of all the way to the top. Once you get in the bath, the water should rise to a comfortable level.
- Takes short showers whenever possible
- When cooking, clean vegetables in a bowl of water instead of under running water
- Try to use dishwashers instead of hand washing and only run the dishwasher when it’s full.
- Consider buying a dishwasher with a “light-wash” option
- Only use the garbage disposal when necessary (composting) is a great alternative)
- Consider upgrade your washing machine to more energy – and water – efficient models
- Adjusting the settings on your machine to the proper load size
- Wash with cold water when possible and only run full loads in the washing machine
- Reuse your old towels as much as you can before laundering them
One great resource for conservation is the Truckee Meadows Water Authority website. With similar shortages of water and terrain, much of their information can be used in Crowley.
- Know when to water. Water early in the morning (before 10a.m.) or later in the evening (after 6 p.m.) when temperatures are cooler and evaporation is minimized.
- Know how much to water. The amount of water needed each week changes with the weather. Sign up to receive the Weekly Watering Number for information on how much to water every week between April and September. Different plants have different water needs, as well. Learn about plants that require less water and start incorporating them into your landscape.
- Water thoroughly, and less frequently to develop a more robust root system. Plants that have larger root systems are more effective at accessing water and need to be watered less frequently. Many established landscapes and lawns need to be watered one or two times per week. Newer plantings, vegetables, and potted plants may need more frequent watering. Creating a watering schedule will help ensure that your plants get the right amount of water each week.
- Prevent runoff by applying only the amount of water your soil can absorb. Much of the soil in our area is clay which means it holds onto moisture, but takes longer to absorb. If puddling occurs when you water, try breaking one long watering session into several shorter ones. For example, instead of watering for 20 consecutive minutes, run sprinklers in four 5-minute sessions. This will allow water to soak into the soil and minimizes runoff.
- Add compost or mulch to your soil to help it absorb and store water. Organic mulches (e.g. aged manure, bark chips, wood chips) cover and cool the soil, minimizing evaporation, soil erosion, and weed growth. Composted food scraps and plant debris from your garden (e.g. grass clippings, fall leaves) provide nutrients for your plants and increase the water-holding capabilities of your soil. Both are important for the health and well-being of your plants and can also reduce your water usage.
Helpful tips can be found regarding conservation on the following pages:
Conservation Through Metering
In addition to engineering practices, system operators can use several other practices to conserve water or improve water use efficiency.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, information and education promoting conservation do not appear to be effective by themselves in achieving a conservation goal without at the same time imposing significant price increases to provide a financial incentive to conserve water.1 Customers use less water when they have to pay more for it and use more when they know they can afford it. However, most people consider water to be a "free good" and are not willing to pay higher prices that reflect the true costs associated with the water delivered to their homes. Rate structures have the advantage of avoiding the costs of overt regulation, restrictions, and policing while retaining a greater degree of individual freedom of choice for water customers.2
The measurement of water use with a meter provides essential data for charging fees based on actual customer use. Billing customers based on their actual water use has been found to contribute directly to water conservation.
Reading Your Meter: Do You Have a Leak?
The following instructions are for reading your meter to determine if you have a leak:
- Find your meter. It is most often located in front of your house near the street and your property line.
- Remove the meter box lid. Note: some meter box lids have a "flip lid" in the center. If so, open this instead of removing the entire lid. Be careful when lifting the box lid to prevent injury to yourself or damage to the meter or meter lid.
- Verify that you're looking at the correct meter for your residence. There may be two meters in a meter pit.
- Lift the meter cap lid to reveal the dial on the meter face (see diagram below). This dial monitors water use. The MMMWC reads your meter in thousands of gallons, which is generally indicated by the white dials. If the triangle (flow indicator) or needle moves while all water devices inside and outside the home are shut off, water is flowing through the meter and you have a leak.
- When you are finished looking at the meter, close the meter cap to prevent damage to the lens and re-install the insulation to prevent freezing.
- Replace the meter box lid, taking care not to damage the meter or lid.
^ 1 Martin, W.E., and S. Kulakowski. 1991. "Water Price as a Policy Variable in Managing Urban Water Uses: Tucson, Arizona," Water Resources Research, 27(2), pp. 157-166.