How to save water both inside and — with summer coming — outside your house

It’s always a good idea to limit your water usage, but it is especially important now, amid a statewide drought.

  • Wednesday, May 15, 2024 1:30am
  • Life

By Snohomish County PUD

The Snohomish County PUD just wrapped up another Earth Day celebration with our second-annual Energy Block Party, and we were once again blown away by how many of you came out to celebrate and spend the day with us. Thank you!

For us at the PUD, Earth Day isn’t just a once-a-year celebration. Our commitment to conservation and protecting our environment is year-round. Our natural resources and environmental affairs teams, just to name a couple, spend significant time looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint and ensure our environmental impact is positive.

Another group that works tirelessly on conservation efforts is our PUD water utility. The PUD began as a water utility in 1946. Nearly 80 years later, our water team serves more than 23,000 customers, primarily in Lake Stevens, Granite Falls and other communities in Snohomish County. We take great pride in our water quality and testing to ensure we serve our customers clean water.

Last week, we celebrated National Drinking Water Week, which serves to highlight the importance of safe drinking water and recognize the tireless efforts of water professionals who keep it flowing around the clock despite numerous challenges.

The state of Washington recently declared a statewide drought emergency. A lower-than-normal snowpack — along with a warmer, drier spring — has led to less than 75% of our normal water supply. It’s always a good idea to conserve your water usage, but it is especially important during a drought.

Here are a few easy ways to shore up your water usage and help us conserve water as we get ready for summer:

Bathroom

Over half of the water use inside a home takes place in a bathroom. Be sure to use a leak-free, high-efficiency toilet — and a wastebasket, not a toilet, for trash. Turn off the water while shaving, brushing your teeth and lathering your hands with soap. Finally, take a short shower instead of a bath. Showers use less water and, if you keep your showers to under five minutes, you can save nearly 1,000 gallons a month.

Kitchen

You can cook up some real savings if you only run full loads in your dishwasher. Selecting the appropriate water level — and having an energy-efficient model — can also increase savings. You can also use a refrigerator to thaw foods overnight instead of defrosting them in water. Finally, you can keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water cools.

Outdoors

Of the estimated 29 billion gallons of water used daily by households in the United States, about 9 billion — or 30% — is used outdoors. That number can greatly increase — to as high as 70% — during the warm summer months. There are many steps you can take to reduce water usage outdoors, such as planting native and drought-tolerant plants that require less watering, collecting rainwater to reuse, using a broom to clean driveways and sidewalks instead of hosing them off, and turning off the water while soaping your vehicle during a wash.

Fix leaks immediately

Finally, make sure to repair leaks in fixtures and pipes as soon as possible. A leaky faucet can waste gallons of water per day. A leaky toilet can waste more than 200 gallons per day, which is equivalent to flushing your toilet more than 50 times.

Together, we can conserve water and ensure this precious resource remains abundant for the Pacific Northwest for generations to come.

Did you know?

The PUD’s Spada Lake Reservoir, in the foothills above Sultan, is the principal source of drinking water for 75% of Snohomish County’s population.

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