In the ’60s, there was this bumper sticker: “Save Water: Shower With a Friend.”
There are lots of ways to conserve water. Staying off our list is just one of them. You could think of yourself as a decent human being. Here are some simple steps you can take to hog less water, courtesy of JEA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection:
• If you have a home irrigation system, set it to run no more than twice a week during the spring and summer and once a week in the fall and winter. Check local laws for restrictions.
• Install a monitor head to turn off your irrigation system if it’s raining.
• Check for toilet leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If you have a leak, the color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes. If necessary, replace the rubber flapper seals.
• High-efficiency showerheads use 50 percent less water.
• Letting the water run when you wash your car can waste up to 150 gallons. Use a shut-off hose nozzle.
• Kitchen sink disposers require lots of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile instead.
• Don’t waste water waiting for it to get hot. Capture it for other uses, like watering plants, or heat it on the stove or in the microwave.
• Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil. It also helps control weeds that compete with landscape plants for water.
• Water your lawn during the early morning hours, when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest, to reduce evaporation and waste. Again, check local restrictions.
• Instead of pouring water down the drain, use it to water your indoor plants or garden.
• Don’t use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator, or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
• When hand-washing dishes, save water by filling two containers — one with soapy water, one with rinse water that has a small amount of chlorine bleach.
• Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year.
• Sign up for the JEA Water Tracker, which allows you to keep tabs on your water use and get alerts if it spikes. In the past year, 47,501 customers have registered their account with jea.com and used the tracker, says spokeswoman Gerri Boyce. And customers can call 665-6000 to talk with a customer service agent about Lawn Smart, which checks irrigation systems for leaks.