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Conservation Tips

Indoor Water Conservation Tips

Look for a breakdown of water use in the home at the end of these pages.

Bathroom

A lot of the water gets used in the bathroom. Learn more about the water you use and how to save water in the bathroom.


Toilets
The largest water users inside the home are toilets which is about 26.7% of water that is used in your home.
  • Toilet leaks: Toilets are notorious for their silent leaks and can steal thousands of gallons of water. Put a few drops of food coloring to the tank. Do not flush. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within about 10 minutes. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded, or bent parts, especially the flapper valve. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed. (Flush immediately after completing test, since food coloring may stain the tank.)
  • Ultra Low-Flow Toilets: When purchasing new or replacement toilets, consider low-volume units which use less than half the water to older models. Toilets made before 1993 use anywhere from 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) up to 8 gpf. The 1.6 Gallon Ultra Low-Flow Toilet, saves 3.5 to 4.5 gallons per flush!
  • Improve efficiency of older toilets: If your toilet was made before 1993, you can make it more water efficient. Fill a plastic quart bottle with water and a few pebbles and place in toilet tank. Keep it away from moving parts. Displacement of water does not affect the efficiency of most toilets and can save water. (Don't use bricks because they can leave debris in the tank.)
  • Unnecessary flushing: Dispose of tissues, insects and other such waste in the trash rather than the toilet.

Showers, Baths & Faucets
  • Shorter showers: A typical shower lasts about 8 minutes and uses about 17 gallons. An efficient shower lasts 3 or 4 minutes and uses 7.5 gallons. Create a "shortest shower" contest for your family. (Wet down, soap up, rinse off; this will result in 50 percent less water usage for these activities)
  • Replace showerhead: Install an ultra-low-flow version. Switching from a high-flow showerhead to a high-efficiency showerhead can save thousands of gallons of water a year. All showerheads manufactured in the U.S. must restrict flow to 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) or less. Some models use even less water.
  • Minimum amount of bath water: Only fill the bathtub about 1/3 full for an adult and much less for bathing babies, small children and pets. Close the drain before running water. The initial burst of cold water will be warmed by adding hot water later. Check for and repair leaks in the tub diverter valve.
  • Sink water use: Save water when you turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving and washing.
  • Repair faucets: Small drips add up to 100-300 gallons a day. Consider the additional waste if you have more than one dripping faucet in your house. Repair dripping and leaking faucets immediately.
  • Aerators save water: The most effective and inexpensive way to reduce your faucet use is by retrofitting a low-flow faucet aerator on all your household faucets. Some aerators can restrict flow to less than 1.0 gpm.
  • Plug the sink!: Don't run the water without plugging the sink drain. Water running down the drain is wasted water. Turn faucets off when not in use.
  • Insulate your water pipes: You will get hot water faster and use less water if your water pipes are insulated plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.

KITCHEN


Dishwashers
It is usually more efficient to use your dishwasher to wash a full load of dishes than if would be to wash all those dishes by hand. Take advantage of the conserving benefits of your dishwasher.
  • Run dishwasher when it's full: Don't waste water using the dishwater for small loads. Load the dishwasher fully before operating. Many newer dishwashers require little or no advance rinsing of dishes. Read the instruction manual for your machine to determine if you can minimize rinse water usage.
  • Washing dishes by hand: When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Fill another sink or basin for rinsing. Use the least amount of detergent possible. This minimizes rinse water needed.
  • Water softening systems: Water-softening systems are usually unnecessary, but if you do have one, save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regeneration necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on vacation.
Faucets
  • Refrigerate drinking water: Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water. Water running in the sink until it is cold is wasteful.
  • Food thawing and cleaning methods: Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator or in the microwave instead of running water over it. Don't let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Rinse them in a filled sink or pan.
  • Garbage disposal water use: Kitchen sink disposals require a high level of water to operate properly. Whenever possible, compost food scraps or put them in the garbage rather than using the disposal.
  • Repair faucets: Small drips add up to 100-300 gallons a day. Consider the additional waste if you have more than one dripping faucet in your house. Repair dripping and leaking faucets immediately.
  • Aerators save water: The most effective and inexpensive way to reduce your faucet use is by retrofitting your faucet with a low-flow faucet aerator on all your household faucets. Some aerators can restrict flow to less than 1.0 gpm.
  • Plug the sink!: Don't run the water without plugging the sink drain. Water running down the drain is wasted water. Turn faucets off when not in use.
  • Insulate your water pipes: You will get hot water faster if your water pipes are insulated plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.

Laundry

Washing Machine
  • High-efficiency washing machine: Your clothes washer is the second largest water user in your home. Energy Star rated washers also have a Water Factor at or lower than 9.5, use 35-50% less water and 50% less energy per load. Switch to a high efficiency washing machine and save money on both your water and energy bills.
  • Wash full loads: Only wash full loads of laundry to save both water and energy. Washing full loads can save up to 300 - 800 gallons of water a month.
  • Adjust water level: Adjust water level setting if your washer has one. Some loads take less water than others.


Outdoor Water Conservation Tips

On average, 50 to 70% of home water is used outdoors for watering lawns and gardens. This is where we can save the most water. Water that flows onto the sidewalks and into the gutters and streets is water wasted. Don't water concrete!

GARAGE

Car Wash & Driveways
A standard garden hose can use 10 gallons per minute or more. This means you can easily use 100 gallons of water with only a 10 minute car or pavement wash.
  • Washing your car: When you wash your car, use buckets and sponges instead of a hose. Use the hose only to rinse the soap off. Make sure you have an automatic shut off nozzle attached to the hose. Park the car on the lawn so that any water that runs off goes into your landscape, not the gutter.
  • Use a commercial car wash: Use commercial car washes because they capture the used water and recycle it and send it to the water treatment facility.
  • Sweep to clean driveway: Use a broom to clean your driveway and pavement. It is wasteful to hose your pavement to clean it off. Some people use a high powered hose to clean driveways, which also wastes many gallons of water! Wash down paved surfaces only to alleviate immediate fire or sanitation hazards. Direct any water runoff to water your landscape. Save water by sweeping instead of hosing
  • Keep evaporative coolers in good repair: Evaporative coolers require a seasonal maintenance checkup. For more water efficient cooling, check your evaporative coolers annually.

PATIO

Swimming pools, fountains and ponds.
Swimming pools are great for cooling off on a hot summer day, but don't let your pool become a tool for wasting water!
  • Good pool management practices: Properly managing your pool to avoid unnecessary draining and refilling can save thousands of gallons of water a year.
  • Pool covers help avoid evaporation: Consider a pool cover when not in use to avoid evaporation. You'll cut the loss of water by evaporation up to 90 percent. It also will keep your pool or spa cleaner and reduce the need to add chemicals.
  • Re-circulating pumps: Swimming pools, fountains and ponds should be equipped with re-circulating pumps. These water features should also be checked annually for hidden leaks or other problems. Avoid installation of ornamental water features (such as fountains) unless the water is recycled. Locate where there are minimal losses due to evaporation and wind drift.
  • Use Kiddie pool to water plants: If you have a shallow kiddie pool, make sure you use the water to feed plants and gardens when you're done with it!
  • Water recreation for children: Create an awareness of the need for water conservation among your children. Avoid purchasing recreational water toys that require a constant stream of water. If you do allow children to play in the sprinklers to cool off, make sure it's only during your water days and time so they can have fun and water the yard at the same time.

IRRIGATION & LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE

About half of the water used in a single-family home during the course of a year will be put onto the landscape.

Landscape
Most water is wasted in your landscape by watering when your plants do not need water or by not maintaining the irrigation system. About 85% of all landscape problems are directly related to over watering. By combining water conservation practices with creative landscape design, you can create an attractive haven that's relatively hassle-free. A properly designed and operated irrigation system can reduce water. By using shade, rethinking traditional grass lawns, taking advantage of natural runoff, planting in low irrigation areas, and using mulch, your landscape can be transformed into a beautiful design that conserves water.
  • Proper landscape design & irrigation: Select plants that are appropriate for our local climate conditions. Having a yard with 100% lawn turf area in our dry climate uses significant amounts of water. Consider Valley friendly water efficient plants and grasses. XeriscapeTM is an increasing trend in landscape design. Adjust your watering to take advantage of the less-thirsty plants. Avoid planting turf in areas that are difficult to irrigate properly such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
  • Water only what landscape needs: Much water is wasted in your yard by watering when plants and grass are not thirsty. Does your grass spring back after you step on it? If so, don't water yet! If you leave footprints, it's time to water. Over watering promotes shallow root growth making your lawn less hardy.
  • Mulch!: Put a layer of mulch around trees, bushes and plants. Chunks of bark, peat moss or gravel slow evaporation, help the soil retain moisture, discourage the growth of weeds, and provide essential nutrients.
  • Set lawnmower blade higher: Set your lawnmower blade one notch higher allowing the grass to hold more water. Maintain a lawn height of 2 1/2 to 3 inches to help protect the roots from heat stress and reduce the loss of moisture to evaporation. Promote deep root growth through a combination of attention to lawn height, proper watering, aerating, appropriate fertilization, and thatch (grass clippings) control. A lawn with deep roots requires less water and is more resistant to drought and disease.
  • Group plants: Grouping plants according to their watering needs saves a substantial amount of water.
  • Practical Turf Areas: Grass should be grown only in areas where it provides functional benefit. Substitute less water-demanding materials, such as ground covers, water efficiency plants or mulches. Porous materials, rock, wood or concrete pathways and patio areas can be added to decrease water use while enhancing your yard, creating interest in the landscape.
  • Soil Improvements: Soils improved with organic matter allow for better water absorption and water-holding capacity. Properly enrich your soils with compost or peat moss. Aerate clay soils at least once a year to help the soil retain moisture. Then stand back to watch your plants thrive and grow!
  • Porous materials prevent runoff: Use porous materials for walkways and patios to keep water on your property and prevent wasteful runoff.
  • Over fertilizing landscape: The application of fertilizers increases the need for water and is a source of water pollution. Use fertilizers according to direction.
Garden Hose and Faucets
A standard garden hose can use 10 gallons per minute or more. This means you can easily use 100 gallons of water with only a 10 minute car or pavement wash.
  • Leaky hoses: Check all hoses, hose bib connector and spigots regularly. Replace your hose if it leaks or is split. Look for little sprays of water along the hose. A hose washer will usually take care of hose bib leaks.
  • Hose nozzles: Attach an automatic shut off spray nozzle to your hose, so that water doesn't run freely when you stop watering or set the hose down.
  • Leaving water run: Your garden hose and sprinklers can pour out hundreds of gallons of water a few hours. Never "forget" that you left them running.
  • Repair dripping and leaky faucets: Small drips add up to 100-300 gallons a day. Consider the additional waste if you have more than one dripping faucet in your yard. Repair dripping and leaking faucets immediately.
Sprinklers, Drip and Other Irrigation Systems
Homes with the average in-ground sprinkler systems can use up to 35% more water outdoors than those who do not have an in-ground system. One reason may be that system controllers are not adjusted according to seasonal irrigation needs.
  • Water early or late in the day: To prevent water loss from evaporation, don't water your lawn during the hottest part of the day or when it is windy. As much as 30% of water can be lost to evaporation by watering the lawn during midday. Avoid sprinklers that spray a fine mist, which increases evaporation.
  • Set Irrigation Timers appropriately!: Remember to set irrigation system timers to correspond with the appropriate City watering schedule. Be attentive if you are manually watering by setting your oven timer or some other reminder to move the water promptly. If you have an automatic irrigation controller, make sure it has a rain shutoff device. Adjust or deactivate automatic sprinklers in cooler weather.
  • Teach family to use timers: Teach your family or others how to shut off automatic systems so they can turn them off if they get stuck or there is an emergency situation. While you are at it, teach them how to set the timers also.
  • Repair system leaks: Tune up your irrigation system for efficiency. Inspect sprinkler systems regularly for breaks, leaks and correct timers. When was the last time you actually watched all the sprinklers in action? Are you sure there aren't any geysers coming out of your front yard? Check for water in the gutters or mud puddles. More than 50% of your water can be lost to leaks with older, out-of-repair systems.
  • Water in cycles: For the healthiest and most water-efficient lawn, try to water in several short watering cycles rather than one long one. Three 5 to 10 minute sessions spaced 30 minutes to an hour apart will allow your lawn to better absorb moisture than one straight longer session, and there is less water run off
  • Check the soil moisture: Although your grass may feel dry on the surface, the underlying soil may be sufficiently moist. When in doubt, stick a soil probe, screw driver or moisture meter into the grass to determine if additional watering is necessary.
  • Drip Irrigation: Install a drip irrigation system for watering gardens, trees and shrubs. Drip irrigation provides a slow, steady trickle of water to plants at their roots through a network of hidden pipes and hoses. The systems are regulated by a controller that can be adjusted for different levels of watering according to the needs of the plants. Drip irrigation systems reduce over-watering, inefficient watering, weed growth, and the time and labor involved in hand watering.


For more information or concerns about your utility bill, please contact:

Accounts Receivable
156 S. Broadway, Ste. 114
Turlock, CA 95380-5454
(209) 668-5570
finance@turlock.ca.us
Monday - Friday, 8AM - 5PM

For more information or concerns about your water or sewer service, please contact:

Municipal Services
156 S. Broadway, Ste 270
Turlock, CA 95380
(209) 668-5590
municipalservices@turlock.ca.us
Monday - Friday, 8AM - 5PM

For more information or concerns about your garbage service, please contact:

Turlock Scavenger
1200 S Walnut
Turlock, CA 95380
(209) 668-7274
(877) 942-7224
tscinfo@turlockscavenger.com





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