Summer tips for the water-savvy

Published On: May 17 2012 10:03:06 AM CDT   Updated On: May 30 2012 03:07:56 PM CDT

(NewsUSA) - If water prices were $4 a gallon, the typical American household would spend roughly $1,452 each day.

Water waste doesn't strain wallets quite like gasoline. People filling up their gas tanks these days wouldn't dream of wasting five gallons.

But a running faucet wastes five gallons of water every two minutes, and people let their faucets run while they shave, brush their teeth and wash their dishes.

Water is a vital resource. Many areas in North America face water shortages. Summer droughts only amplify an already existing water-supply problem.

But saving water doesn't have to cause migraines. Homeowners can easily reduce their daily water consumption by 100 to 150 gallons each day.

- Check for leaks. A dripping faucet can waste two gallons of water an hour.

- Review your toilets' water consumption. Don't use toilets like ashtrays or wastebaskets. Flushing a tissue or cigarette wastes gallons of water.

Toilets often leak. To find a toilet leak, drop food coloring into the tank. If colored water appears in the bowl after 15 minutes, the toilet's leaking and needs to be repaired.

- Install low-flow showerheads and bathroom faucets. High-flow showerheads use 6 to 10 gallons of water a minute. Flow restriction devices can cut flow in half without reducing water pressure.

- Don't waste water on the lawn. Water your lawn and plants early in the day to help reduce evaporation. During the summer, water plants slowly and infrequently. Consider using drip irrigation, which adds water only where needed, in garden areas.

- Wash the car without water waste. Use a pistol-grip nozzle on your hose, and shut off the water after each hosing. A wide-open hose can discharge more than 50 gallons of water in just 5 minutes.