Summer is just around the corner, and with summer comes our warmest days here in the Silicon Valley. When temperature rises, so does our water use. As a result, many counties are asking their residents to voluntarily reduce their water usage. Here are a few very easy ways to help preserve our most precious resource in our environment.

Seek out leaks. Repair leaks in your faucets and toilets. A leaky faucet can waste 20 gallons or more per day. Leaky toilets can waste hundreds of gallons. To find out if your toilet has leaks, put a little food coloring in the tank. If, without flushing, color appears in the bowl, you have a leak that should be repaired. Leaks don’t always happen indoors. Check outside faucets and hoses too.

Install aerators. To save water every time you turn on the faucet, consider installing aerators. Faucet aerators are circular screened disks, usually made of metal, that screw onto the head of the faucet. They will reduce the water flow. You can get them at any home improvement store, and they generally don’t cost more than a few dollars.

Landscape wisely. Don’t cut your grass shorter than three inches. If you have taller grass, it will give some shade to the soil, and that will cut down on moisture loss. Spread wood chips or mulch around plants so the soil retains it moisture. Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on top of the coil. This will also keep the soil cooler.

Watch your watering. It’s best to water at night or very early in the morning, when temperatures are cooler and evaporation is low. And be careful not to overwater! You only need about an inch of water–and that’s about 20 minutes of sprinkler action for most. If you want to make sure you’ve watered your lawn the right amount, put a few empty tuna fish cans around your lawn when the sprinkler is on. When those tins gets full of water, turn off the sprinkler.

Remember, every drop counts!

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