Below are tips to help you reduce your water usage and be prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.
Outdoor Water Conservation:
- Use native plants and shrubs whenever possible in landscaping your yard. They generally require watering less frequently, and are often low-maintenance, too.
- Water grass separately from flower beds and landscaped areas, using sprinklers that broadcast large drops for grass and soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems for trees, shrubs and flower beds.
- During the Summer months in the Houston area, don't water more than what is necessary to maintain a healthy lawn. Applying .75 to 1 inch of water (subtracting any rainfall) every five days is recommended.
- Water during early morning or evening hours when evaporation losses will be less than during the heat of the day.
- Avoid watering in high winds that might send the droplets to places they are not needed
- Don’t cut the grass too short. Longer blades help reduce evaporation and shade the soil.
- Backwash pool filters only when necessary. If a timer controls the backwash, check and adjust the frequency of the cycle to ensure optimal efficiency.
- During the months where you may heat your pool, reduce the temperature when the pool is not in use, to reduce evaporation.
- Limit the frequency of pool refilling to only when required for water quality or for maintenance reasons.
- When a crowd will be swimming, lower the pool’s water level as much as practical to reduce the amount of water splashed out.
- Check the pool regularly for cracks and leaks and make repairs promptly. If the water level drops more than an inch in one day, investigate for problems.
- Use a pool vacuum that recycles the water when cleaning the pool.
Indoor Water Conservation:
- Check water line connections and faucets for leaks and repair immediately.
- Set the thermostat on the hot water heater at a reasonable level. Extremely hot settings waste water (because it takes some extra cold water to make it usable) and energy and can even cause minor burns.
- Make sure that the line from the water meter to your house is free of leaks. To check, turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and water-using appliances. The water meter should be read at 10 to 20 minute intervals. If it continues to run or turn, a leak probably exists and needs to be located.
- When building a new home or remodeling a bathroom, install a new low-volume flush toilet that uses only 1.6 gallons per flush.
- Test toilets for leaks. Add a few drops of food coloring to the water in the toilet tank, but do not flush the toilet. Watch to see if the coloring appears in the bowl within a few minutes. If it does, the toilet has a silent leak that needs to be repaired.
- Stop running the water while you brush your teeth, for example, just to rinse the toothbrush. The same method can be used for shaving and for washing hands.
- Consider installing a low-flow faucet aerator. This could actually help you save up to half the water you normally use at the sink.
- Insulate all hot water pipes to reduce the delays (and wasted water) experienced while waiting for the water to heat up.
- Install a low-flow showerhead to limit the amount of water to less than three gallons per minute.
- When purchasing new appliances, check the water requirements of various models and brands. Some use less water than others.
- Fill a pan of water, or put a stopper in the sink, for washing and rinsing pots, pans, dishes, and cooking implements rather than just letting the water run.
- Only run the dishwasher with a full load. This saves water, energy, detergent and money.
- Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running water from the tap until it is cool enough to drink is wasteful.
- Use a small pan of cold water when cleaning vegetables rather than letting the water run over them.
- Wash only full loads of clothes when using your washing machine.
- Use cold water whenever possible. This saves energy, too, and conserves the hot water for other uses. This is also better for most of today’s fabrics.
Hurricane season, for the Houston area, runs from June 1st through November 30th. Brazoria County MUD No. 6 works very hard to ensure the local water systems are prepared and will keep running to the best of their ability during times of emergency. Below are some tips to help you prepare your own home.
- Create or update an inventory of personal property and store it in a safe location away from home to help protect yourself and your financial future. Record the make, model, serial number, purchase price and date of purchase of any new items and keep copies of receipts for major purchases with your inventory.
- Store copies of your insurance policies with your inventory in a safe location away from your home.
- Keep a list of contact details for your insurance agent and/or company with your policies.
- Make sure you have windstorm insurance. If your property is located in one of Texas’ 14 coastal counties, or parts of southeastern Harris County, your homeowners policy may not provide windstorm coverage. In such cases, you may be able to obtain coverage through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association—visit www.twia.org for more information.
- Consider flood insurance. Homeowners and commercial property policies specifically exclude coverage for damage from flooding. To protect yourself from losses caused by rising water, you’ll need a separate flood insurance policy, typically from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
- Map out safe routes inland or to safer areas. If you live in a low-lying area, know where low-water crossings might make travel to safety more difficult and plan routes that avoid these areas.
- Find out the location of any nearby community shelters in case you must seek immediate shelter.
- When a hurricane watch is issued for your area, regularly check TV and radio for official weather bulletins.
- If you decide that it’s safe for you to stay, understand that you may be without electricity, fresh water, and phone service for some time and prepare accordingly. Stock up on canned goods and bottled water, check supplies of medicines and first-aid equipment, and check batteries in radios and flashlights.
- In case there is a disruption in local phone service, agree on a friend or relative who lives outside your immediate area who can serve as a point of contact for family members in an emergency.
- Protect windows, sliding glass doors, and skylights with shutters or plywood.
- Put your car in a garage or other shelter. Secure boats and trailers. Secure outdoor furniture and any other loose material outside.
- If possible, trim back any dead wood from trees. This will reduce the amount of wind stress on trees and eliminate potential damage from falling limbs.
- Move valuables away from windows and, if possible, to an upper floor.
- Bring pets indoors or make other arrangements for their safety. If you must seek shelter in a community shelter, understand that you may not be able to keep your pets with you. Contact your local humane society for information about animal shelters.
- If you are leaving your home, lock and secure the premises. Take small valuables and important documents with you.