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Rejoicing Over a Water Bill
September 2008 | by Mary Friestedt


How many of you have opened your water bill and started screaming with joy? It may be hard to believe, but this is what happened to me the other day when I opened my water bill and learned that I had reduced my year-over-year water consumption for the month by 98 gallons per day. 

Yes, 98 gallons! 

Here is how it all happened. I went to the San Diego County Water Authority’s website www.20gallonchallenge.com. After reading about ways to save our precious resource, I got excited, pledged to save 20 gallons a day, and even received a certificate to document that I was serious about this. These are the major steps I took:

1.     I dug up any roses that were not performing. Roses are truly exquisite, but they are water hogs, and I replaced mine with long-blooming Tecoma stans ( a tree/shrub from Mexico that has yellow blooms most of the year and needs little water) and succulents.

2.     My sprinklers now run at 4am only twice a week, and each station runs two minutes fewer.  Some pots need extra water, but I do that sparingly.

3.     I have no lawn and I am mulching with pebbles or mulch to keep my drought-tolerant plants moist for as long as possible.

4.     We strive never to let water run on the patio or driveway, which is a huge waste.

5.     We never run our garbage disposal; instead, all vegetable scraps go into our compost pile. 

6.     When my husband and I shower, we put a large plastic bucket in the shower to collect water while we wait for the water to get hot. This water is then put in the garden.

7.     Our showers are shorter, and we turn off the water when shampooing.

8.     I run the faucets at a trickle when washing hands, and we always turn off the faucet when brushing teeth.

9.     I now flush my toilet only one or two times a day.  Believe it or not, this is saving about 30 gallons a day. Keep your toilet lid down and this will not be a problem. If applicable, replace old “water hog” toilets with low-flush or, better yet, dual-flush models. For more ways to save water, log onto the website mentioned above. Believe me, it’s fun! Take the Challenge.



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