With the East Bay Municipal Utility District board’s recent decision to raise water rates by 19 percent over the coming two years, there’s never been a better time to concentrate on minimizing your water consumption.

Let’s look at a few methods to help you turn down the tap while at the same time continuing to maintain your property in top shape. Yes, it can be done.

  • Water-pipe insulation. You likely have uninsulated pipes right now, which causes water to go through unheated areas and use more energy to heat up, but that’s an easy fix. By taking advantage of pre-slit foam pipe insulation, you’ll enjoy faster access to hot water while slashing waste during the heating-up process. Materials are available at most hardware stores, and it’s easy to snap the insulation over the pipe and then tape the ends closed over the split.
  • Leak elimination. Did you know that a tiny drip from a worn-out faucet washer can result in wasting 20 gallons of water daily? Expand that out and you’ll find that larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons each day. A simple yet thorough check of faucets and pipes for leaks can minimize or eliminate this amount of waste. Also, checking your water meter for hidden leaks can be very revealing.
  • Planting drought-resistant yards. Whether you’re creating a lawn from scratch or overhauling an existing one, drought-resistant grasses such as Zoysia or common Bermuda grass are the way to go. If you replace herbaceous perennial borders with native flora, you’ll not only use even less water, but enjoy better protection against local plant diseases. Slopes will benefit from water-retaining plants that help slash runoff, while grouping plants according to watering needs simplifies matters. What’s more, you’ll add curb appeal to your property, which in turn increases value.
  • Installing water-sensitive shower heads and faucets. Choose cost-effective low-flow shower heads or restrictors to reduce water consumption and limit your showers to the time it takes to scrub up and rinse off. Moreover, fit all household faucets with aerators, which are not only a major tool in the conservation arsenal but are also very affordable.
  • Harnessing the trusty toilet. Here is the place where you can save an impressive amount of water if you follow a few simple guidelines. First, don’t dispose of waste by flushing it down – this wastes gallons upon gallons. Additionally, you can cut down on water waste by weighing down a pair of plastic bottles – an inch or two of sand or pebbles should do the job – and then filling the bottles with water, screwing on the lids, and placing them in your toilet tank away from any operating mechanisms. Simple, affordable, and effective.

Remember: conservation isn’t simply about saving money. It’s about saving precious resources. We can and should all do our part.

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