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Ten Bureaucrat-Approved Ways to Reduce Water Consumption

Ian Eck | January 28, 2014 | Lifestyle Story City Life

Even though there is a little rain in the forecast for later this week, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has announced it will ask city residents to conserve ten percent of their water use starting this Friday. If you haven't already started to conserve, here are their tips on how not to be a water hog:

1. Turn off the faucet when you're not using it. A radical idea that saves 2 gallons/minute.

2. Take 10% shorter showers. You'll be 100% as clean, albeit with a sharp dropoff in showerthoughts. Saves 2.5 gallons/minute.

3. Only do full loads of laundry, even if you don't really want to mix towels with that greasy roommate.

4. Clean your sidewalks and driveways with a broom instead of a hose.

5. Reduce outdoor watering by growing plants that are suited for the Bay's dry climate.

6. Water plants and lawns during the cool parts of the day to reduce evaporation. 12-3 am is the sweet spot here.

7. Identify those mysterious drips and leaks. You can contact the SFPUC for more information on how to do this. For instance, a dye-test exists for your toilet tank that can detect "silent" leaks and potentially rescue you from those mysteriously high water bills.

8. While we're on the topic of toilets (the most thirsty water consumer in your home), you should think about replacing your outdated model with a new, high-efficiency toilet. These babies do work at 1.3 gallons per flush, compared to older models which can waste up to 7 gallons per flush. Plus, Bay Area water agencies offer cash rebates for upgrading to select models of high-efficiency toilet.

9. Your second-highest user of water (not to mention electricity) is your washing machine. So if you're sitting on a clunker, you might want to exchange it for something more efficient (and potentially reduce water and energy use by 40%). Again, the Bay Area water agencies offer cash rebates for such a switch.

10. Install aerators on bathroom and kitchen sinks to reduce water use by 4%. These aerators, amongst other devices like low-flow showerheads and garden spray nozzles, can be picked up for free at the SFPUC. That's not a typo, folks. Free showerheads. Just pick them up in person with proof of address at 525 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco; Monday-Friday, 8-5.


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