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Practical ways to save money on water

Laura Williams, M.S.Ed. is a personal trainer, freelance writer and entrepreneur who works with a wide variety of fitness clients. She's the founder of the popular website, - Girls Gone Sporty, and she's the host of the High Impact Blogg...

Save a drop in the bucket

Saving money on water isn't just a boon for you wallet; your personal savings can help reduce local and national energy costs, too. Consider these small, practical ways to reduce your water consumption.

Woman watering plants

Understanding water economics

Potable water from public water service plants is usually priced at less than a penny per gallon, according to Samantha Villegas, a PR representative for water utilities. That's pretty cheap, so depending on your current water usage, you may not see immediate savings on your water bill by changing your habits.

That doesn't mean that changes aren't worth making, though. In addition to modest water savings, cutting down on water usage can help control tax dollars. Award-winning environmental designer Pablo Soloman, says, "While you may not see immediate results in your bill, there's a bigger picture to consider. By saving water, you reduce the need for more wells, more reservoirs, more pump stations, more sewage disposal, etc. This can help lead to lower taxes."

Start oudoors

"More than 50 percent of water used in a home is used outside during the spring and summer months to water lawns and wash cars and driveways," says Villegas. She suggests the following ways to cut down on water usage outside the home, ultimately resulting in water savings:

  • Use an automatic spray nozzle on your gardening hose to prevent the hose from running freely while washing cars and watering plants.
  • If you use a permanent underground sprinkler system, make sure it's a weather-smart system that has a rain sensor or soil moisture sensor to help prevent unnecessary watering.
  • Cut back on the frequency with which you water your lawn: Start with one fewer watering each week to see how the grass responds, then continue to cut back based on the lawn's health.
  • Plan landscaping with your climate in mind so that extra watering beyond normal rainfall isn't needed.

Move inside

While the water usage changes you make inside your home may not provide the same level of immediate savings as your outdoor changes, they can make a difference. Consider the following tips:

  • Collect rainwater and dishwater in tubs and buckets to water your plants.
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth.
  • Flush only when you've gone number 2.
  • Run the washer and dishwasher only when they're completely full.
  • If you have some money to spend, consider replacing your water heater with a tankless variety. Heating water accounts for approximately 13 percent of your energy bill, so cutting down on water heating costs can help a lot.

Consider consumer habits

If you're still picking up disposable water bottles from the grocery or convenience store, it's time to turn back to the tap. If a single, 16-ounce bottle of water costs you $1.00 or more at the store, while 16 ounces from your tap costs less than a penny, you're throwing money down the drain, so to speak. Install a water filter on your tap and fill up your water bottles at home.

Rain barrel systems

How to install a rain barrel system

Fiskars rain barrels are easy to install and will help lower your environmental footprint.

More green home tips

5 Small green changes to make this month
4 Things you didn't know you could recycle
Quiz: Are you a green queen?

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