How to Deal with Drought: Tips and Tricks to Save Water

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Have you spoken with a local farmer recently? If so, you’ve probably discussed the drought. Whether they farm livestock or veggies, all farmers are feeling the effects of the ever-worsening drought. And farmers aren’t the only ones feeling these effects. Some homeowners–especially those of us with wells–are suffering. Because this drought isn’t forecast to end any time soon, here are our tips and tricks for conserving water.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, all but a small sliver of York County is in extreme drought. To the north, in areas south of Bangor, there are severe drought conditions. Only the northern third of Maine is not experiencing any form of drought.

The Portland Press Herald recently published a story about shallow wells drying up. According to the article, Warren Hood, who owns the Splash water company in Turner, said people started calling him to drill wells in June. His company handles eight to 10 calls a day from households without water.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” Hood said. “People are desperate.”

Maine isn’t the only place to be affected by drought. Undoubtedly, you’ve followed news of severe long term droughts in places like California and Texas.

As a land trust we are concerned with the on-going health of our environment, and severe drought conditions are a real and tangible challenge to that health.

The problem isn’t going away. So, what steps can you take to conserve water?

Here are tips from The Water Project:

  • Always turn taps off tightly so they do not drip.
  • Promptly repair any leaks in and around your taps. (One leak can waste several thousand litres of water per year.)
  • Use an aerator and/or a water flow-reducer attachment on your tap to reduce your water usage.
  • When hand-washing dishes, never run water continuously. Wash dishes in a partially filled sink and then rinse them using the spray attachment on your tap.
  • If you have an electric dishwasher, use it only to wash full loads, and use the shortest cycle possible. Many dishwashers have a conserver/water-miser cycle.
  • When brushing your teeth, turn the water off while you are actually brushing. Use short bursts of water for cleaning your brush. (This saves about 80% of the water normally used.)
  • When washing or shaving, partially fill the sink and use that water rather than running the tap continuously. (This saves about 60% of the water normally used.) Use short bursts of water to clean razors.
  • Use either low-flow shower heads or adjustable flow-reducer devices on your shower heads. (They reduce flow by at least 25%.)
  • You can reduce water usage by 40% to 50% by installing low-flush toilets.
  • Wash only full loads in your washing machine.
  • Use the shortest cycle possible for washing clothes, and use the “suds-saver” feature if your machine has one.
  • Use only cleaning products that will not harm the environment when they are washed away after use. Look for “environmentally friendly” products when shopping.
  • Lawns and gardens require only 5 millimetres of water per day during warm weather. Less is needed during spring, fall, or cool weather.
  • Water lawns every three to five days, rather than for a short period every day. In warm weather, apply 5 millimetres of water for each day since the last watering.
  • Water during the cool part of the day, in the morning or evening. Do not water on windy days.
  • Do not over-water in anticipation of a shortage. Soil cannot store extra water.
  • Use shut-off timers or on-off timers, if possible. Do not turn on sprinklers and leave for the day.

What are your tips for conserving water? Share them on our Facebook page.

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photo of water faucets via