The US Drought Monitor (USDM) showed the majority of the Hill Country and a large portion of South Central Texas in abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions. It seems as though periods of drought have gotten longer and closer together in Central Texas. Water conservation and collection make more of a difference now than ever.
Simple water conservation tips include the following:
1. Fix Leaking Fixtures -A faucet that drips can waste 20 gallons of water each day. A leaking toilet can use 90,000 gallons of water in a month.
2. Install Low-Flow fixtures – Low Flow Faucets use aerators to “fluff” the water, using less water volume. Dual flush toilet fixtures have two options for flushing one uses less water when you don’t need it and one uses more when you do, rather than using high volumes all the time.
3. Use drip irrigation whenever possible and water in the early mornings to avoid water loss through evaporation.
4. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth or shaving.
5. Plant native species or Xeriscape your yard. Xeriscaping is a design method that utilizes only native species and other non-water using elements in creating your landscape design. Native species, by definition survive in the climate where you are planting them with little to no intervention by the user. This lowers your maintenance costs, uses less water and provides a more natural habitat for the birds and other animal species in your area.
Water collection can be done several ways such as:
1. Collect water from your Air Conditioner condensation line. Typically this is routed right down the drain but in a hot climate like Austin, you could collect as much as 8-10 gallons a day. This water can be used to water your plants, the hotter it is the more condensation will be collected and the more water your plants will need – works well.
2. Collect water from your roof. This is the method most commonly used because it is so straight forward. All that is needed are gutters and a collection container. If you buy a commercially made container they typically have a hose connection at the bottom. Make sure the container is located higher than the vegetation you will want to water, this will ensure maximum pressure without a pump. These containers aren’t what they used to be either – beautiful designs have emerged on the market, some of them even allowing for plant growth on the cistern itself.
3. Re-Use brown water in your house. Basically, you can use water from your sinks as the water used to flush your toilet or water exterior landscapes. While you can have your home plumbed to do this well, it doesn’t need to be that complicated – you could do simple things like, use your fish tank water to water your garden, just try to use the water in your house more than once when possible.