Celebrate Earth Day by Conserving and Protecting our Drinking Water
Here are some helpful tips to help you succeed today – and every day!
- If it rains at least ½ inch on or just before your watering day, skip your day. This is especially important during the spring dry season.
- Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when full.
- Conduct a visual inspection of your irrigation system by turning the system on to each zone for less than 5 minutes and visually looking for broken or misdirected heads. Correct these problems and water your landscape only.
- Take shorter showers.
- Use Florida-friendly landscaping whenever possible.
- Properly dispose of toxic substances such as pharmaceutical medication and automotive waste materials.
- Make sure your landscape beds have at least 3 inches of organic mulch around each plant but not touching the plant trunk. Mulch cools the plant roots and helps retain moisture.
- When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants, rather than just throwing it down the drain.
- Use a hose nozzle when hand watering, it saves water by keeping the water from running constantly.
- When giving your pet fresh water, don’t pour the old water down the drain, use it to water plants indoors or out.
- Do not use fertilizer during heavy rains.
- Mow your grass on the highest setting possible (3 to 4 inches) and never mow more than 1/3 of the grass height. This helps to increase plant root depth and make it more tolerant to dry conditions.
- Consider buying an EPA WaterSense labeled shower head.
- Make a soup with water used to cook or steam foods. It will add extra flavor and save water!
- Hold off on installing or requiring new sod, trees or plants until the summer rainy season.
- Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
- Contact your local water supply agency to find out types of programs offered that will help you increase your efficiency of use.
- Decline free water at restaurants if you do not plan to drink it.
- Re-use towels rather than using a new one each time you shower. This will save water used for laundry.
- Make sure your irrigation contractor is a certified member of the Florida Irrigation Society. Go to www.fisstate.org for more information.
- Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
- Instead of washing your car at home, use a commercial car wash that recycles water. Commercial car washes also help protect water quality because soap and other chemicals are properly disposed of and not left to run into the storm drain system.
- When waiting for water to heat up from your tap, whether the shower or a sink, collect it to use around the house.
- Use a broom or leaf blower to clean debris off driveways, pathways and sidewalks instead of using a hose.
- Skip a watering week during the spring dry season.
- Clean up pet waste.
- Don’t let the water run when brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face. Run the tap only when necessary to rinse.
- Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
- Choose to shower over taking a bath. Baths generally use up to 70 gallons of water per use.
- Purchase an EPA WaterSense labeled toilet.
- Recycle household waste whenever possible.
- Replace or adjust your toilet handle if it frequently sticks in the flush position, letting water run constantly.
- Instead of running the tap for a cool drink of water, fill a pitcher with water and keep it in the fridge for a cold drink any time.
- Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover household leaks.
- Don’t flush needless debris down the toilet to avoid unnecessary flushing and water use. Dispose of tissues, insects, medicines and other small wastes in the trash.
- Don’t bathe your pets if they aren’t dirty, unless required to maintain health. For big dogs, bathe with a hose on a dry area of the lawn to water it at the same time. For smaller dogs and animals, wash them in the water your children just bathed in.
- Check all faucets and pipes indoors and out for leaks and fix them if necessary. Fixing leaks can save you more than 10 percent on your water bill.
- If possible, replace toilets, washers and faucets with new, EPA WaterSense labeled products to save water and money.
- Visit a source of your drinking water this year (Hillsborough River, Alafia River, wellfields).
- Spread awareness within your community about the importance of water sources protection.
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