Drought has happened in every part of the state in recent years. Some areas had very dry conditions. Others had mild drought conditions. Droughts can last for months or years. You can use easy water saving ways to keep water from being used up.
Current North Carolina drought conditions
These easy tips can help save water all the time.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
- Fix dripping faucets. One drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year.
- Check plumbing for leaks. Get a plumber to fix any leaks.
- Put in aerators with flow restrictors on all faucets.
- Choose appliances that are more energy and water efficient.
- Install a low-volume toilet that uses less than half the water of older models.
- Put a one-gallon plastic jug of water into the toilet tank to shift water. Do not use a brick; it may melt and cause problems inside the toilet. Be sure that putting the gallon jug in place does not get in the way of the working parts.
- Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version.
- Compost food scraps or throw them in the garbage. (Garbage disposals use a lot of water.)
- Wash dishes by hand to save water. Just do not leave the water running for rinsing. Use a second sink or tub filled with rinse water, and then use that water to flush toilets. You could spray cleaned dishes with short blasts of water. This will saves 200 to 500 gallons a month.
- Use the smallest amount of washing soap as you can. This lowers the amount of rinse water needed. Saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.
- Don't rinse dirty dishes before loading into dishwater. Scrape dirty dishes clean. Then, let the machine do the rest.
- Run the dishwasher only when it is full. Use the “water-saver” setting if there is one. Saves up to 1,000 gallons a month.
- Use only one glass for your drinking water each day. It will lower the use of the dishwasher.
- Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge, instead of running tap water until it is cold
- Drink water instead of soft drinks, tea, coffee or alcohol. Your body better uses water.
- Don't thaw frozen food under running water. Don't let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Rinse them in a filled sink or pan.
- Use water in which you boiled food (if not saving for soup) to water plants.
- Check for leaks – both indoors and out. Fix any leaks. Fixing a leak can save 500 gallons each month. A dripping faucet can waste 3,600 gallons a year.
- Take faster showers (5 minutes or less). Shower enough to get wet, turn off water and soap up, and then turn on the water to rinse.
- Collect tap water. While you wait for hot water to come down the pipes, catch the flow in a watering can to use later on house plants or your garden, or to flush your toilet. Saves 200 to 300 gallons a month.
- Turn off the water while shaving or brushing teeth. Fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of water to rinse your razor. Saves 3 gallons each day.
- Check for leaks by dropping a small amount of food coloring in the upper tank. If color appears in the bowl, you have a leak
- Put in faucet aerators and or water-saving showerheads. Faucet aerators increase spray velocity and lower splash.
- Don't use your toilet as a wastebasket.
- Use front-load washing machines. A front-load uses up to 60 percent less water and up to 68 percent less energy than top-loading machines. This means they save on power too!
- Run only full loads in the washing machine. Saves 300 to 800 gallons per month.
- Limit car washing. When you wash your car, use a bucket and hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle. You can use commercial car wash that recycles water too.
- Check for and fix leaky garden taps, hose connections and sprinkler valves.
- Collect natural water with a rain barrel for car washing or lawn and garden watering.
- Add compost and other organic matter to your soil to make it more able to hold water. Choose plants that do not need a lot of water.
- Water your lawn only when it needs it. Water in the early morning or late evening to stop water from evaporating. Watering your lawn in short cycles is better than one long cycle.
- Put sprinklers so that they do not water pavement. Change your sprinklers, so that water lands on your lawn or garden—not the sidewalk. Saves 500 gallons per month.
- Do not water on windy days. There's too much evaporation. Can waste up to 300 gallons in one watering
- Water slowly, carefully, and as rarely as you can to have deep roots and healthy plants.
- Hold your garden hose close to the roots of plants so that there's little waste and evaporative loss.
- Mulch all plant beds to reduce water evaporation, weeds and soil temperature.
- Use rinse water from the house to water plants in or near the house.
- Use a broom, not a hose to clean driveways, sidewalks, deck or patio.
- Put rain gutters in. Collect water from downspouts also helps lower water use. Add a drip irrigation system for shrubs, vegetable gardens, flower beds or pots. This saves us to 50 percent in outside water use. It's easy, cheap and a good way to save water.
- Trickle irrigation and drip irrigation systems help lower water use. This way to water meets the needs of plants. These ways mean very small amounts of water are given to the base of the plants. Since the water is applied directly to the soil, rather than onto the plant, evaporation from leaf surfaces is lowered.
- Don't mow too low. Keep lawns two to three inches high to stop them from drying out too fast. Taller grass means less water evaporation. Saves 500 to 1,500 gallons each month.
- Cover your swimming pool to stop evaporative loss. Delay any pool repairs that are not needed if they mean you need to drain and refill your pool.
You can find more facts about how to plan and get ready for a drought or learn about help in your area by going to the websites below.
- North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council
- Save Water NC
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- American Red Cross
- National Integrated Drought Information System
- US Drought Monitor Current U.S. drought conditions
- US Economic Costs of Drought NOAA Economics
- National Drought Mitigation Center
- US Environmental Protection Agency