A Resource Too Precious to Waste!
The Hanover County Public Utilities Department has compiled these
tips to help you conserve water and save money at the same time.
To do your part
to conserve water,
follow these tips:
Saving Water Indoors
- Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. If your faucet
is dripping at the rate of one drop per second, you can expect
to waste 2,700 gallons per year which will add to the cost of
water and sewer utilities, or strain your septic system.
- Retrofit all wasteful household faucets by installing aerators
with flow restrictors.
- Verify that your home is leak-free, because 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.
- Wash clothes only when you have enough for a full load.
- Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank.
If the toilet is leaking, color will appear 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
- Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues,
insects and other such waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
- Letting the water run to get a cold drink sends a lot of good
water down the drain. Instead, put a bottle of water in the refrigerator.
- Never put water down the drain when there may be another use
for it such as watering a plant or garden, or cleaning.
- Take shorter showers.
- Consider installing a low flow shower head. They reduce flow
to approximately 3 gallons a minute.
- Replace you showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version. Some
units are available that allow you to cut off the flow without
adjusting the water temperature knobs.
- Use the minimum amount of water needed for a bath by closing
the drain first and filling the tub only 1/3 full. Stopper tub
before turning water. The initial burst of cold water can be warmed
by adding hot water later.
- Don't let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush
your teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash
or shave after filling the basin.
- Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when
they are fully loaded or properly set the water level for the
size of load you are using.
- When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy
water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet.
- Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting
the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water.
- Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods.
Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or by using the defrost
setting on your microwave.
- Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly.
Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food
waste instead of using a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals also
can add 50% to the volume of solids in a septic tank which can
lead to malfunctions and maintenance problems.
- 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 heating costs for your household.
- Insulate your water pipes. You'll get hot water faster plus
avoid wasting water while it heats up.
- Never install a water-to-air heat pump or air-conditioning system.
Air-to-air models are just as efficient and do not waste water.
- 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.
- Check your water pump. If you have a well at your home, listen
to see if the pump kicks on and off while the water is not in
use. If it does, you have a leak.
- When adjusting water temperatures, instead of turning water
flow up, try turning it down. If the water is too hot or cold,
turn the offender down rather than increasing water flow to balance
If the toilet flush handle frequently sticks in the flush position,
letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.
Saving Water Outdoors
overwater your lawn. As a general rule, lawns only need watering
every 5 to 7 days in the summer and every 10 to 14 days in the
winter. A hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for as
long as two weeks.
- Avoid watering too soon! Not watering in the spring will promote
deep root growth and better drought tolerance in the summer.
- Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures
and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation.
- Don't water your street, driveway or sidewalk. Position your
sprinklers so that your water lands on the lawn and shrubs ...
not the paved areas.
- Instead of watering several times a week for short periods,
it is better to put down one inch at once only once a week.
- Do not hose down your driveway or sidewalk. Use a broom to
clean leaves and other debris from these areas. Using a hose to
clean a driveway can waste hundreds of gallons of water.
- Outfit your hose with a shut-off nozzle which can be adjusted
down to 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.
- Use hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate
- Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. Your garden hoses
can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours, so don't
leave the sprinkler running all day. Use a kitchen timer to remind
yourself to turn it off.
- Check all hoses, connectors and spigots regularly.
- Plant it smart, Xeriscape. Xeriscape (water-wise) landscaping is a great
way to design, install and maintain both your plantings and irrigation
system that will save you time, money and water. For your free
copy of "Plant it Smart," an easy-to-use guide to Xeriscape
landscaping, contact your Water Management District.
- Install sprinklers that are the most water-efficient for each
use. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are examples of
water-efficient methods of irrigation.
- Regularly check sprinkler systems and timing devices to be sure
they are operating properly. It is now the law that "anyone
who purchases and installs an automatic lawn sprinkler system
MUST install a rain sensor device or switch which will override
the irrigation cycle of the sprinkler system when adequate rainfall
has occurred." To retrofit your existing system, contact
an irrigation professional for more information.
- Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches. A lawn
cut higher encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root
system and holds soil moisture better than a closely-clipped lawn.
- Avoid overfertilizing your lawn. The application of fertilizers
increases the need for water. Apply fertilizers which contain
slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
- Mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulching also helps to
control weeds that compete with plants for water.
- Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers,
shrubs and trees. Once established, they do not need to be watered
as frequently and they usually will survive a dry period without
any watering. Group plants together based on similar water needs.
Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water. If you
wash your own car, park on the grass to do so.
- Avoid the installation of ornamental water features (such as
fountains) unless the water is recycled. Locate where there are
minimal losses due to evaporation and wind drift.
- If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving pool
filter. A single backflushing with a traditional filter uses from
180 to 250 gallons or more of water.
Just the Facts!
A slow drip from a leaking faucet can waste
15 to 20 gallons a day - thatís 600 gallons a month!
75% of the water used inside the home is used in one room: the bathroom.
Water conservation is something we all
should practice. Except for the air we breathe, water is the
single most important element in our lives. This page offers some
simple suggestions that will help you to conserve water.