By SCOTT MAUNEY, County Extension Agent Palo Pinto County
Imagine what it would be like to turn on the tap and not get at least a drop of water. People in some parts of the country know this does happen. They are learning how to conserve water. They know that water is a limited resource. Water shortages are now a local and regional problem. With the current drought in Palo Pinto County, it is wise to learn how to conserve water.
By becoming more aware of your water use habits – both old and new – you can reduce water use, eliminate waste, and save energy and money.
Following is a list suggesting ways to conserve water.
As you read this list, check the steps you have already taken to conserve water. Note what you still need to do to become a better manager of water resources. Concentrate on the big water uses first.
• Inspect your household plumbing system. Repair all leaky faucets inside and out. Put food coloring in the toilet tank. If color leaks into the bowl, the toilet needs repair.
• Teach children to turn off faucets quickly and firmly.
• Replace old toilets with 1.6 gallon flush toilets or experiment with putting a 1 quart plastic bottle filled with water into the tank.
• Wash clothes only when really necessary, and always wash a full load.
• Urge family members to take 4-minute showers instead of tub baths. Turn off water while you soap up or apply shampoo.
• Turn off water while you shave, brush teeth, etc.
• Use a pan of water when peeling and cleaning vegetables and fruits rather than letting the sink tap run.
• Run the garbage disposal less often.
• Run only full loads in the dishwasher.
• When washing dishes by hand, have one sink full of soapy water and one full of clean for rinsing.
• Wash your car less often.
• Use a broom, not the hose, to “sweep” the garage, driveway and sidewalks.
• Plan landscaping and gardening to minimize water requirements.
• Mulch your plants to help retain moisture in the soil (and control weeds).
• Experiment with trickle or drip irrigation.
• If you are using a garden hose or sprinkler system, water deeply but less often. Less frequent but heavier lawn watering encourages deeper root systems that can endure long dry spells.
• Collect rain water and use it to water your garden, potted plants and house plants.
• Use porous materials for sidewalks and patios to keep water on your property and prevent wasteful runoff.
• Use conservative methods even if you draw water from a well, creek, river or lake for irrigation.
• Try to think globally instead of just for yourself. Water shortages affect everyone.
If you have questions about water conservation, call the Palo Pinto County Extension Office (940) 659-1228.