Try The 40 Gallon Challenge and these other water-saving actions!

Milk Jug your toilet
Fill a half-gallon plastic milk jug with water and affix the cap.  Flush the toilet and place the jug in the tank, away from the moving parts.  This will save a half gallon per flush.  Use pebbles or sand in the bottom of the jug if it doesn’t stay put.  Toilets use more water than anything else in a house, accounting for nearly 30% of indoor water use, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Think ‘on and off’
Continuous flow uses more water than intermittent use.  Turn the faucet on and off while brushing teeth, shaving, scrubbing kitchen pans and soaping the car.

Use less
It’s obvious, but shorter showers and running the dishwasher and clothes washer only when they’re full helps.

Let your grass grow
Use a higher wheel setting on your lawn mower – 3 inches or more.  Taller grass retains moisture better, requiring less watering.  And it inhibits weed growth, saving money on weed-killer.

Fix leaks
It’s a no-brainer to fix leaky faucets, but your toilet might be leaking without you knowing and wasting 200 gallons a day, or about 50 flushes’ worth.  Place a drop of dark food coloring in the tank.  If it reaches the bowl within 15 minutes, you have a leak worth fixing.

Get WaterSense
The EPA has a relatively new program called WaterSense for labeling plumbing fixtures certified to save water, about 20% on average.  It’s similar to the EnergyStar label for products that use electricity efficiently.  The label goes on water-efficient models of such fixtures as toilets, sink faucets, and showerheads.  Learn more at www.epa.gov/watersense .

Don’t rinse the dishes
You don’t need to rinse dishes before loading them in the dishwasher.  Not rinsing could save 6,500 gallons of water per year.

Use sink disposal sparingly
Using the garbage disposal requires a lot of water.  Instead, put food waste in a compost pile, which reduces the need for fertilizer.

Water smart outdoors
Water in the cool morning hours to reduce evaporation and aim sprinklers at plants.  Use drip hoses where appropriate.

GregoryKarp,                                                                                          

The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call