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Monitor water usage

We are experiencing record high temperatures and rainfall deficits for this time of the year—as much as 12 inches below average. U.S. Geological Survey gauges on the Flint River indicate record low water depths.

This is a weather pattern predicted to continue, which will result in forcing farmers and homeowners to use more water for irrigation purposes, thus depleting the water levels even further.

Therefore, it is imperative to conserve water around our homes by following a few saving tips.

• Check for any leaks in plumbing, water-using appliances and irrigation systems and make necessary repairs.

• Consider replacing old toilets (those built prior to 1992) for more efficient, low-flush ones, as this is the biggest water user inside the home. It has been said if each person in the United States flushed one less time a day a lake of water one mile long, one mile wide and four feet deep would be saved each day.

• Replace your old clothes washer, (second largest water user in the home) for an Energy Star rated washer. It will save money as well as water.

• Only run the dishwasher when it is full. It uses the same amount of water for a full load as a light one.

• Be more efficient with outdoor watering. Water only what is needed. It is best to water early in the morning between 6 and 10 a.m. when water will not evaporate as quickly. Use mulch around plants to retain moisture.

• Adjust automatic sprinkler system to the weather. Shut it off after a good rain.

• Do not mow the grass too short. Set mowers at a higher setting to help hold the moisture in the ground.

• If you have a swimming pool, get a cover for it—and cut the evaporation loss as much as 90 percent. Average sized pools can lose up to 1,000 gallons of water per month through evaporation.

• Don’t let the water run while brushing teeth or shaving. Lather up, shut off the water and rinse when done.

By practicing these and other tips we can conserve water while reducing our water and energy costs.