Woman loading dishwasher

When drought strikes

You've probably noticed that it's hot. Real hot. This summer the United States is facing the worst drought in decades and more than 60 percent of the country is affected. Whether your area is looking like the dust bowl or not, we can all take steps to conserve water in our homes, starting with the kitchen.

Depending on where you live, you may already have been forced to take action. Some localities, like Decatur, Illinois, are imposing water-use restrictions on their residents, limiting things like how often they can water their lawns. The governor of Missouri, meanwhile, has declared a state of emergency in response to the drought and heat. Don't wait for it to get to this point — think about where you can cut back on your water usage to help conserve what we've got.

Dishes

If you use a dishwasher, don't bother prerinsing the dishes, only run it when it's fully loaded and use the lightest setting possible. If you wash dishes by hand, don't let the water run continuously while you do it. Instead, allow them to soak in a basin of water, wash them using that water and just quickly rinse.

Leaks

Do you hear a dripping sound even when you've turned off your kitchen faucet? That means you have a leak! It can be a small fix like tightening the faucet or might require the help of a professional. Either way, look into it.

Watch a video on how to save water doing the dishes >>

Defrosting

A quick method of defrosting frozen items is to run them under water until thawed. Instead, plan ahead and allow frozen foods to defrost overnight in the refrigerator. It won't be as quick, but it will save a lot of water.

More tips for conserving in the kitchen >>

Cooking

Use as little water as possible when cooking. Instead of pasta, which uses quite a bit of water to cook, make mashed potatoes or roasted vegetables. Make rice with chicken broth instead of water. If steaming, just use about an inch of water in the pan. And if you want to poach your food, try using a different liquid, like stock or fruit juice.

Drink

When it's hot, we often reach for a cold glass of water. Instead of running the faucet until the water is cold, keep a pitcher of water in the fridge (or use bottled water) at all times.

Tags: water

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Comments

Comments on "In a pickle: How to conserve water in the kitchen"

Saul August 03, 2012 | 8:50 AM

If you are going to use bottled water, please recycle!

Katie August 02, 2012 | 2:47 PM

This is helpful advice, especially for those of us living in regions which aren’t affected by draughts as often as other parts of the country. I already follow the last tip about keeping a pitcher of water in the fridge, but I could do a little bit better when it comes to conserving water. I like how the suggestions on saving water in this article are simple and easy and don’t require making huge changes or sacrifices to our normal daily routines, so anybody can do them.

Jessa August 02, 2012 | 2:33 PM

These are all great little simple solutions to save water. I will definitely pass this along to all of my friends. These are almost too simple that they didn't even cross my mind, thanks!

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