Surviving the Water Bill

by Janean Nusz

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How do you reduce the amount of your water bill each month? It's simple! You can do it by reducing the amount of water you use! Most water conservation methods are simple to implement in the average home. For instance, suggest that family members not allow the faucet to run while brushing their teeth, but instead have a glass of water handy for quick rinsing.

If you're tired of high water bills, then it may be time to try a few of the tried and true water saving methods below:

  1. To reduce the amount of water used with each flush of the toilet, place one or two clean liter bottles filled with water inside the toilet tank. The amount of water used with each flush will be dramatically reduced because the tank does not fill to its maximum capacity!
  2. Switch from baths to showers. A shower uses less than 1/3 of the water needed for a bath.
  3. Invest in a low-flow showerhead attachment that allows you to turn off the water periodically during your shower or has a special "water-saver" spray that uses less water while keeping adequate pressure. This device, depending on use, can reduce the amount of water used for showering by nearly 50%!
  4. Install low-flow faucet attachments such as aerators.
  5. Fix all leaky faucets or pipes. A leak that produces one drip per second can cost you $1 per month, or more.
  6. Instead of running water for shaving or dishwashing, fill the sink instead.
  7. Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the faucet to "cool" the water.

Most water that is used in your house is safe for reuse in other applications. This water is called "gray" water. Gray water is the water that has been used in your washing machine, bathtub, laundry and kitchen sinks and showers.

  1. Reuse water as often as you can. When you find a half-filled water glass, don't dump it down the drain, instead water a houseplant with it. Used bath water and water drained from the washing machine can be used to hydrate outdoor plants, lawns, trees and shrubs, provided you will not be using a soap that is toxic to plants or environmentally unfriendly. It is important to remember that it is not recommended that gray water be used on any plants that will bear or produce edible material.
  2. Try reusing bath water to bathe your pets.
  3. Always remember that gray water should not be used as drinking water.

By learning to use the least amount of water possible in your home each day, not only will you reduce your water bill, but you'll be saving one of the world's most valuable resources in the process.

Important - "Black" water should not be confused with "gray" water. Black water comes from toilets, kitchen sinks and dishwashers. Black water contains a high concentration of bacteria, and may be contaminated with viruses or other pathogens.

Always check in your area to make sure that you are using your gray water correctly according to the ordinances and laws in your city/state. In some areas of the country, it is only permissible to use gray water under certain conditions.

Janean Nusz is a freelance writer, instructor and copywriter. Visit her website, Author's Art, at for budget tips, freebies and other information.

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