Summer water wasters

    Published: August 5, 2015

    Summer Water Wasters

    In most households, water usage increases during the summer. Washing the car, water-based kids’ games, lawn care, and social activities all place demands on the nation’s water resources. Below are several of the most water-consuming activities of summer, with suggestions for alternatives.

    Lawn Care

    Summer water wastersThe average water sprinkler consumes 265 gallons of water an hour — about the same amount a household of four uses in one day. And if watering during the intense heat of the day, most of that water is lost to evaporation.

    If you must water your lawn, do so at dusk and dawn, when less water is lost to evaporation. For flower beds and vegetable plots, use water gathered in rain barrels whenever possible. Leftover water from cooking can also be used (let it cool first), which often contains added nutrients for your plants. And, of course, you always have the option of replacing water-hungry grass with drought-resistant ground cover.

    Washing the Car

    Washing the car is a time-honored summer activity, but it comes at a steep price. A home car wash uses 80 to 140 gallons of water, with soapy water running into storm drains and seeping into the soil.

    In comparison, a commercial car wash only uses 30 to 45 gallons per car, and the water is redirected to treatment plants. If you do wash your car on the driveway, use a hose with a nozzle that turns off when not in use.

    Swimming Pools

    A backyard swimming pool loses 1,000 gallons a month due to evaporation, with more water wasted through leaks in pool walls. Because most pools automatically refill, you might not notice how much water you’re using until the water bill arrives.

    Regularly check your pool walls for leaks,, and use a pool cover to prevent evaporation. Public swimming pools, lakes, and the ocean offer equally refreshing dips without high water bills and high water usage.

    Kids’ Water Games

    Water fights, water slides, water balloons — kids love water-based activities. Instead of restricting access to water games, set limits to conserve water. Have kids put a bucket in the shower while the water heats up — they can use that water for water games. Instead of setting up the sprinkler or spraying kids with the hose, take them to a water park that recycles or redirects water to treatment plants.

    With a little work, you can reduce your summer water bill and consumption. It’s better for your pocketbook and better for the environment.