The Southwest Florida Water Management District — more commonly known as Swiftmud — continues its campaign to encourage water conservation year-round, and is offering tips that can help achieve those goals.
April is Water Conservation Month, and it also is traditionally one of the driest months of the year in Florida, Swiftmud officials said.
• Only run washing machines and dishwashers when they are full.
• Use the shortest clothes washing cycle for lightly soiled loads, since normal and permanent press wash cycles use more water.
• Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave, not under running water.
• Scrape, don’t rinse, dishes before loading in the dishwasher.
• Install high-efficiency showerheads, faucets and toilets.
• Check a home’s irrigation system for leaks to save up to 6,300 gallons of water per month.
• Turn off a home’s irrigation system, and only water as needed. This could save up to 2,000 gallons each time a watering day is skipped.
• Don’t leave sprinklers unattended. Use a kitchen timer to remind when to turn them off.
• Use a hose with a shutoff nozzle when washing the car to save around 40 gallons of water per wash.
• Consider installing a rain barrel with a drip irrigation system for watering landscapes. Rainwater is free and better for plants, because it doesn’t contain hard minerals.
Leaks are the biggest water waster, Swiftmud officials said, both inside and outside of a home. A water meter can be used to check for leaks.
To do that, turn off all faucets and water-using appliances, and make sure no one is using water during the testing period. Make sure the hot water heater is refilled, and ice cube makers are done, as well as water softeners regenerated.
Then go to the water meter and record the current reading. Wait 30 minutes, without using any water, and then read the meter again.
If the reading has changed, there is a leak.
For information about water conservation, visit WaterMatters.org/Conservation.