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Here are some quick steps you can take to wrestle your water usage back into line:

If you are a gardener, plant a xeriscape garden, using drought-tolerant plantings, and irrigate your landscape using rainwater and snow melt collected in barrels.

Check for leaks or slow losses of water -- and fix them

Even a dripping faucet or leaky toilet valve can waste thousands of gallons of water over a short period.  So, if you become aware of a leak in your watering system, plumbing or service line, close your shut-off valves right away.  Then have the leak traced and repaired.  A list of licensed and bonded plumbers can be found online.

  • Check to make sure no faucets are "weeping."

  • Listen to the pipe where  your service line enters the house when no faucets, appliances or toilets are in use.  If you hear running water, there may be a leak.

  • Check your toilet by putting a few drops of blue food coloring in the tank, then checking back 20 minutes later to see whether there's any color in the bowl.  If there is, your tank is leaking.

  • Check your pipes by inspecting under sinks and in other locations where pipes emerge from the floor or wall.  Look for corrosion, crystals, or, on copper pipes, green coloration.

  • Inspect the floor around your boiler, water heater and other water-using appliances for crystalline deposits or other signs of water leakage.

  • Check your yard faucets by listening for leaks when they're supposed to be closed.

  • If you have an irrigation system, inspect your landscaping after a period of no watering to identify wet spots -- especially near standpipes and valves.

Install -- and use -- water-saving devices

  • Install low-flow showerheads and faucets.

  • Use a dishwasher:  it's generally more water efficient than  hand washing your dishes.

  • Install low-flush toilets.

  • Install a water-efficient front-loading washing machine.

  • If your house has a hot water circulation pump, install a tiimer that will re-circulate hot water only during times when you know  you will need it.

[from September, 2016 Water Notes]

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