AMU Water FAQs
Water Conservation Tips
The average American uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day. Cutting back on your water consumption can save you money and help the environment.
In-home Water Conservation
In the Bath room...
- Turn off the running water while you brush your teeth. (Save 1 to 5 gallons of water per minute.)
- Turn off the water while shaving. Fill the sink with a little water and rinse your razor in that. (Save 1 to 5 gallons of water per minute.
- Install low-flow shower heads and toilets. (Save 1 to 5 gallons of water per minute.)
- Take shorter showers. You can save 2 to 10 gallons for every minute you cut back. Or take a shallow bath instead. (Short showers with a low-flow head uses less water than a bath!)
- In the shower, turn off the water in-between soaping and rinsing.
- Fix leaky faucets. Save up to 2,700 gallons of water per year.
- Allow small children to bathe together. Use only 2 to 3 inches of water in the tub.
- Fill your bathtub only half full for an adult-size bath. Save up to 12 gallons in a 24-gallon bathtub.
- While waiting for the shower or bath water to warm up, save that water and use it on your house plants, flower beds, trees, for pet drinking water or elsewhere.
- Get running toilets fixed. A running toilet can use as much as 30 to 500 gallons of water per day. If the toilet handle frequently sticks in the flush position letting water run, replace it or get it fixed.
- Install a toilet dam or displacement device to cut down on the amount of water needed for each flush. Put an inch or two of sand or pebbles in the bottom of a quart or larger container and fill the rest of the container with water. Put the cap on and place the bottle in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanism. The container will save on each flush without impairing the efficiency of the toilet.
- Put bathroom trash in the wastebasket instead of flushing it down the toilet.
- Only flush when necessary. Try limiting family members to four flushes per day. This will likely mean that the toilet isn't flushed every time it's used. (Save 1 to 5 gallons of water per flush).
- Check your toilets for leaks. Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the coloring begins to appear in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Even a small leak can waste thousands of gallons a month
In the Kitchen...
- Don't use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food in the fridge or use the defrost setting on your microwave.
- Rinse vegetables and fruits with a sink full of clean water rather than running the water the whole time.
- Don't run the tap to get cold or hot water. Keep a bottle or pitcher of drinking water in the fridge instead of running the water to cool it. Heat water in the microwave.
- When washing dishes by hand, don't keep water running. Use sinks full of water to wash and then rinse.
- Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run over them while you scrape.
- Saving food scraps to run through the garbage disposal once a day or less often reduces water use. Or don't use the disposal at all. Save the food scraps for a compost pile.
- Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don't have to let water run while it heats up. This will reduce water heating costs and conserve water.
- Water softening systems use a lot of water. Only install one if it's necessary. Save money and salt by running the minimum amount of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on vacation.
- Reuse the water left over from cooking foods like pasta and vegetables to water house plant.
- Run only full loads of dishes in your dish-washing machine. (Save up to 15 gallons of water per load).
- Use one glass per person per day to cut down on dirty dishes.
In the Rest of the House...
- Run only full loads of clothes in your washing machine. (Save up to 23 gallons of water for every load you don't run).
- If your clothes are still clean, don't wash them.
- Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or cleaning around the house.
- Don't use or install ornamental water features unless they recycle water.
- Use high-efficiency appliances if possible.
- If your water bill is unusually high, call Algona Municipal Utilities to determine if there is a leak on your property.
- Get leaky faucets and pipes fixed. A small drip can waste up to 2,700 gallons per year.
Conserve Water in Your Business
- Have your system checked for leaks and get them repaired.
- Teach water awareness to employees.
- Use one glass per employee per day to cut down on dirty dishes.
- Install toilet dams or displacement devices to cut down on the amount of water needed for each flush. Put an inch or two of sand or pebbles in the bottom of a quart or larger container and fill the rest of the container with water. Put the cap on and place the bottle in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanism. The container will save on each flush without impairing the efficiency of the toilet.
- Check your toilets for leaks. Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the coloring begins to appear in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Even a small leak can waste thousands of gallons.
- Install low-flow shower heads in shower facilities.
- Use high-efficiency equipment and appliances.
- Don't use or install ornamental water features unless they recycle water.
- Place someone in charge of your conservation program, making it part of their regular duties.
- Know where your water gets used. It is important to know how much water is being used for each of your firm's industrial processes and/or domestic needs.
Outdoor Conservation Tips
- Water your lawn every three days. Your lawn doesn't need more than this.
- Water after 6 p.m. or before 10 a.m. to avoid evaporation.
- Keep sprinklers from watering pavement. Position them so that water lands on the lawn and shrubs.
- The idea is to cycle you watering so most of the water gets into the soil. High clay-content soils absorb water very slowly, so it is necessary to apply no more water than the ground can absorb. Over watering does not help your lawn.
- Don't water if it's raining - even if it is your day/time to water. The point is to conserve our water!
- Reset your automatic sprinkler system as the season changes to eliminate unnecessary watering. Homes with automatic sprinklers use up to 50 percent more water than manually operated systems.
- Treat brown spots in the lawn with the hose instead of running the entire sprinkler system.
- Use drip or soaker-type irrigation for all plantings except turf.
- It's a good idea to review the way you use all the areas of your yard and prioritize your landscaping into high-care zones, moderate-care zones and low-care zones. Then water accordingly. If you have some high priority areas that you want to keep green, you may need to let other areas go brown.
Outdoor Water Saving Lawn Care Methods
- Shovel snow from the sidewalk and driveway onto your trees, bushes and lawn.
- When possible, place plants with similar watering needs in the same areas.
- Border all lawn areas with low-water ground covers to reduce water runoff and buffer the grass from hot pavement.
- Use an auto-shutoff nozzle on your garden hose.
- Aerate your lawn. This increases water infiltration into the soil, allowing more water to get to the root zone. Aerating also adds air to the soil, which aids plant growth.
- Avoid over-fertilizing. Fertilizer increases the need for water. Fertilize appropriately.
- Set lawnmower blades to cut grass at about 2 to 3 inches long. Mowing grass shorter dries out the soil faster and increases water use.
- Leave grass clippings on your lawn. This will reduce evaporation and add organic matter to the soil, allowing it to retain more water.
- Compost your yard and food waste in your back yard. Compost is a valuable tool for reducing your landscape's water needs.
- Spread mulch or compost around plants to reduce water loss and weed growth.
You can make a difference!
INTERESTING WATER FACTS
You probably use more water each day than you suspect.
Flushing the toilet
1 to 5 gallons
Running the faucet
1 to 5 gallons/minute
Taking a shower
2 to 10 gallons/minute
Filling the bathtub half full
20 to 50 gallons
Running the dishwasher
At least 15 gallons
Running the washing machine (clothes)
Up to 50 gallons
A leaky faucet