Reasons to Save Water
Only 1% of the entire water supply in the world is available for human and animal use. Ninety-seven percent is salt water and the remaining two percent are in forms of ice caps or glaciers. People all over the world use this 1% for agriculture, manufacturing, community and personal household needs, and for sanitation operations.
The water we use does not magically appear. Water goes through a lengthy treatment process and travels through many miles of pipeline before it appears in our homes. We actually only drink around 1% of all treated water, the rest goes on lawns, in washing machines, down the toilet, and through drains. We pay for every drop, whether we use water wisely or waste it. Conserving water is the most effective and environmentally sound way to protect our water supply.
If dry conditions and water usage continues at the current rate, the City of Amarillo may be forced to implement a mandatory water conservation program. However, the City’s goal is for Amarillo residents to begin voluntary water conservation measures now, to avoid the City being forced to enact mandatory water use restrictions in the future.
Remember, you are the key to conserving water and you can make a difference by taking simple steps each day.
Tips to Save Water
- Cooking Tips: Don’t use running water to thaw food. Use only the necessary amount of water for cooking. Rinse produce in a pan of clear water, not under a running faucet
- Match the washing machine setting to the actual load size. Wash dishes only when the washer is full or hand wash small loads.
- Use the water meter to check for leaks. Turn off all taps, then observe the meter (about 10 minutes) for movement of the sweep hand or flow indicator.
- Group your landscape plants by water requirements. Set your sprinklers so they do not water the sidewalk, driveway, or street and use soaker hoses for shrubs and trees.
- Turn off the sprinkler system for several days after a good rainfall. Do not "scalp" your turf when mowing. Grass holds water better when it is 1.5" to 2.5" deep.
- Apply 1 to 3 inches of mulch in your flower and shrub gardens. This conserves water and helps with weed control.
- Irrigate in the early morning (before 10 AM) or in the evening to avoid excessive evaporation. Avoid irrigating in windy weather. Hot, windy air can evaporate up to 60% of the water being used.
- Take shorter showers – turn water off while shampooing or applying soap. Short showers consume about 1/2 the volume of a typical tub bath.
- Install low volume – 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf) – toilets. This can save up to 30% of indoor water use. Install a displacement bag in older toilet tanks. Use a dye tablet (or food coloring) to check toilets for leaks.
- Collect rainwater for inside and outside plants. Water plants with discarded aquarium water, or dropped/left over ice cubes. Catch cold water in a bucket while waiting for hot water and water plants with the cold water.
- Turn water off while shaving or brushing teeth then turn on to rinse. Do not leave water running while washing hands.
- Install water efficient shower heads and faucets. Install aerators on faucets – aim for 2 gallons per minute (gpm) flow rate. Check all faucets for leaks, and repair as necessary.
- The City of Amarillo Parks Department began a water conservation program in 2002. The program is saving an average of 112 million gallons of water each year.
- Computer-controlled irrigation systems have been installed for more efficient watering of the City parks facilities.
- Athletic fields and parks are being re-seeded with warm-season grasses that require less water.
- Water Wise Landscaping and native plants that require less water are also being planted in City parks.
- Where possible, the irrigation of City parks has been shifted from City of Amarillo drinking water to well water sources.
- Watering of over 1,000 acres of irrigated City parkland has been reduced by 30% resulting in a savings of more than three million gallons per day.
- Fire hydrant flushing and testing by the Amarillo Fire Department is suspended during high water demand periods.
- City Utilities Division continues an aggressive program of monitoring problematic water lines to avoid leaks.
- Over 15 million gallons per day of City wastewater effluent is being used by our local electric utility company in applications that previously used drinking water.