How do you save 25 percent of your water use? One drop at a time. That includes in the kitchen, where water is crucial but room for saving is abundant.
With Californians facing mandatory 25 percent water use reductions, here are 10 ways to squeeze gallons out of daily use:
▪ Install an efficient low-flow faucet: According to water providers, the kitchen accounts for about 20 percent of our indoor water use – almost all from the kitchen faucet. Older faucets flow at 5 gallons per minute; new efficient faucets cut that to 1.5 gallons. You save 3.5 gallons every minute you normally run the kitchen faucet.
▪ Stop leaks: A drippy faucet can add up to many gallons down the drain. It takes 15,000 drips to make one gallon, but a faucet leaking at five drips a minute adds up to 173 wasted gallons a year.
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▪ Rinse, don’t run: Instead of running water while washing or peeling vegetables and fruit, use a large bowl or plastic tub. Put the produce in the container, add just enough water to cover. Use a vegetable brush to scrub the produce clean.
▪ Rinse again: If hand washing in a double sink, plug one side and use that basin for rinse water instead of running the tap.
▪ Use the dishwasher: Hand-washing dishes takes on average 20 gallons; water-efficient dishwashers use 4.5 gallons – or less. Make sure the dishwasher is full and save even more.
▪ Repurpose water: Unsalted cooking water (from pasta, potatoes, vegetables, etc.) can be reused to water plants outdoors. Let it cool to room temperature before transferring to plants.
▪ Steam, don’t boil: Vegetables prepared in a steamer need a fraction of the water to cook.
▪ Zap it: Stop using running water to defrost frozen food. Instead, use defrost settings for your microwave or plan ahead and let the food thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
▪ Drink tap water, not bottled: It takes 1.5 gallons to manufacturer one plastic water bottle (not including its contents). Get a water filter for your drinking water and save water – and money.
▪ Chill it: Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator, so it’s chilled and ready to drink – and you’re not tempted to run the tap until it gets cold.
For more tips on ways to save, click on www.BeWaterSmart.info.
Call The Bee’s Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.