Thursday, May 14, 2015

Water - a precious resource

Our society is becoming more and more aware that water is a precious resource. Currently, at least 24 of Washington’s river basins are in a declared drought emergency. For the most updated drought information for Washington, visit “Washington Drought 2015.” Thurston County is not in a declared drought emergency. However, conserving water can help protect this precious resource, human health, and the environment. 

There are many choices we can make to conserve water. Here are some tips from

Conserve water in the kitchen.
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap until it is cold. This way, every drop is a drink instead of going down the drain.
  • Cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps your food retain more nutrients.
  • When washing dishes by hand, make an effort to reduce the amount of time you run the faucet. Soak dishes and scrub them clean before running water to rinse them off.
  • When shopping for a new dishwasher or any new appliance, look for energy efficient models and compare water usage.

Conserve water in the bathroom.
  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth to save up to four gallons a minute.
  • Try to keep showers to five minutes.
  • Turn off the water while washing your hair and save up to 150 gallons a month!
  • Test your toilet for leaks at least once a year. Test for leaks with dye tablets. These may be available through your local water provider.
  • Place tissues in the trash instead of flushing them down the toilet.
  • If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a WaterSense® labeled showerhead.
  • One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day. Check faucets and showerheads for leaks.

Conserve water in the yard.
  • Mow grass to two inches and leave clippings on the lawn. This helps the soil hold moisture.
  • Use an empty tuna can to measure how much water your sprinkler puts out. ¾-1 inch of water is enough to water your lawn.
  • When installing a lawn or re-seeding, use a grass seed mixed for the Pacific Northwest.
  • Plant native plants. Once they are established, they need less water than non-native plants. Use our Plant List to find plants that have low water use.
  • Make sure your sprinkler or watering system is set up to water plants and not sidewalks or driveways.
  • Apply mulch around plants to help hold moisture. You can mulch with bark, woodchips, straw, or leaves.

Keep in mind that water goes into making many of the everyday items we use and the food we eat. You can help conserve water by being a smart consumer, saving energy, and doing your best to reduce, re-use, and recycle. There are many ways we can conserve water. What do you do to conserve water?

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