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Tips & Resources

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What You Can Do to Stay Healthy, Conserve Water, and Thrive When It's Dry: A Tip a Day for 100 Days - Check this site daily for tips to stay healthy and conserve water during the drought.

Drought Tip of the Day #100:

Congratulations!

Now that you have reduced your water usage with our 100 Tips to Thrive When Itís Dry, check in with how much you have saved by using National Geographicís Water Footprint Calculator on the worldwide web.

Drought Tip of the Day #99:

Check your water meter! A simple way to know if your water system has any leaks is to look at the water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak. Drip systems, sprinkler systems and indoor plumbing fixtures are the most likely suspects to investigate if the meter shows any changes in the reading.

Drought Tip of the Day #98:

Shut the water off! We can conserve hundreds of gallons of water per month if we remember to shut the water off while we brush our teeth, wash our hands, shave our faces, rinse our fruits and vegetables and wash our dishes. By taking shorter showers and running only full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine, we can save even more water. We will be helping our community and environment by conserving our most precious resource.

Drought Tip of the Day #97:

Measure your sprinkler systemís water output! A very simple way to measure how much water your sprinkler system is emitting is to place an empty tuna can in your yard to catch some of the water. If you have 3/4 to 1 inch of water, the system is supplying enough water each time you irrigate. If you have more than an inch, you can reduce your irrigation run time and perform the test again.

Drought Tip of the Day #96:

Remember to drink water! Donít skimp on your own hydration.  This is not the place to conserve water. Carry a bottle of water with you when traveling outdoors. Good hygiene is also extremely important; wash your hands often. Saving water by not washing hands would be penny wise and pound foolish as the single most effective way to stay healthy is to wash hands frequently.

Drought Tip of the Day #95:

Hire a green plumber! Do you know a plumber or are you one? Become a certified green plumber to show your customers fixtures, fittings and accessories that really work using less water because they are designed to work well and conserve at the same time. For training and certification, see www.greenplumberstraining.org.

Drought Tip of the Day #94:

Beware of ants! Ants invade kitchens and bathrooms to escape searing heat and to find food. Consistent cleaning will discourage these unwanted house guests. Wipe up spills and standing water on counters and in sinks, seal containers and plug any holes in walls where ants might enter. Use a household cleaner or tea tree oil to wipe up ant trails.

Drought Tip of the Day #93:

Reuse your gray water! Certain types of wastewater are clean enough for outdoor subsurface irrigation. Thatís why many Californians use their laundry and shower water to keep their landscapes green, even during times of drought. You can find out how to do it from the Mendocino County Environmental Health website. www.co.mendocino.ca.us/hhsa/chs/eh/landuse.htm.

Drought Tip of the Day #92:

Reduce your irrigation! By irrigating your lawn in 2 or 3 short cycles rather than one long period of time, you can reduce your irrigation time by 2 minutes or eliminate one irrigation cycle per week, to save up to 100 gallons of water a day. Cycling gives the water time to soak into the ground and reduces wasteful run-off for a better looking lawn and water savings.

Drought Tip of the Day #91:

Today's tip is a "Water Conservation Basics" check in:

1. Wash only full loads of clothes
2. Run the dishwasher only when it is full
3. Cut 5 minutes off your shower time
4. Fix leaky faucets immediately
5. Fix running toilets immediately
6. Shut the water off when you brush your teeth

You will be amazed at the amount of water you will save!! Thank you for conserving, everyone will benefit in the long run!!

Drought Tip of the Day #90:

Water early or late! If your yard needs to be watered either with an irrigation system or manually, do so before 6 am or after 8 pm to reduce evaporation. Without  direct sunlight, the water is able to stay in the ground longer. This can save 20 gallons of water a day or more depending on the size of your garden or yard.

Drought Tip of the Day #89:

Do not use toilets as trash cans. For septic systems, excess solids can clog the house sewer lines or the drain field requiring more frequent pumping or a system back up or break down. Using your toilet as a waste basket also increases the number of flushes. You could potentially save 400 to 600 gallons of water per month.

Drought Tip of the Day #88:

Respect your septic system! Do not divert storm drains or basement pumps into septic systems. Avoid using the garbage disposal, as it will contribute unnecessary solids to your septic system and can also increase the frequency your tank needs to be pumped. Do get your septic system pumped out on a regular basis.

Drought Tip of the Day #87:

Septic additives do not replace the pump! There is no scientific evidence that biological and chemical additives aid or accelerate decomposition in septic tanks. Some additives can in fact be detrimental to the septic system or contaminate ground water. Pump out your septic system every 3 to 5 years to keep ground and drinking water pure.

Drought Tip of the Day #86:

Check your septic system! Improperly maintained septic systems can contaminate ground water and surface water with nutrients and pathogens. Inspect your septic system annually. Pump out your septic system regularly. Pumping out every 3 to 5 years is recommended for a three-bedroom house with a 1,000-gallon tank; smaller tanks should be pumped more often.

Drought Tip of the Day #85:

Test the Ph of your soil! Over-fertilization is a common problem, and the excess nutrients can leach into ground water or contaminate streams. Avoid using fertilizers near surface waters. Use slow-release fertilizers on areas where the potential for water contamination is high, such as sandy soils, steep slopes, compacted soils and near bodies of water.

Drought Tip of the Day #84:

Be timely with your fertilizers! Select the proper season to apply fertilizers. Applying fertilizers too early could encourage weeds or stress grasses. Do not apply pesticides or fertilizers before or during rain because of the strong likelihood of runoff.

Drought Tip of the Day #83:

Rethink your concrete! Installing wood decking, bricks or interlocking stones, instead of impervious concrete walkways or driveways, allows water to filter into the ground. Install gravel trenches and french drains along driveways or patios to collect water that will seep water deeper into the soil. This is also very helpful in keeping moisture away from the foundation of your house.

Drought Tip of the Day #82:

Build a swale! A swale is a landscaping technique that increases water infiltration and decreases runoff when it rains. A swale is a ditch or depression filled in with rocks or mulch which collects water allowing it to seep into the ground under the soilís surface. Deep rooted plants will thrive on either side of this rain water collector.

Drought Tip of the Day #81:

Help prevent soil erosion! The roots of plants, especially trees and shrubs, help to prevent soil erosion and promote infiltration of water into the soil. Planting new starts will help preserve existing plants by increasing soil retention of water with deeper roots and providing more shade which helps hold the water in the soil longer. New trees and shrubs even help provide cleaner air!

Drought Tip of the Day #80:

Build a smart garden! Smart gardeners cultivate native landscapes with indigenous plants that discourage pests. Native plants greatly reduce the amount of pesticides leaching into waterways. Native plants can, also, help you to minimize grass areas, which require high maintenance, lots of water and chemical fertilizers or weed killers
that can run off and contaminate fresh water.

Drought Tip of the Day #79:

Choose drought tolerant, native plants for your garden this year! When landscaping your yard, select plants that not only have low requirements for water, but also are resistant to pests to reduce pesticides that can run off and contaminate fresh water. Many native plants have a natural ability to Thrive When It Is Dry.

Drought Tip of the Day #78:

Rethink your detergents! Help keep precious fresh water clean by using low-phosphate or phosphate-free detergents. Use water-based products whenever possible. Effective nontoxic cleaning ingredients include white vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. Add a few drops of essential oil for a fresh scent without the chemicals.

Drought Tip of the Day #77:

Dispose your auto fluids responsibly! Never pour motor oil or antifreeze on the ground. The soil will retain these chemicals, and they could eventually contaminate ground water, runoff and waterways. Even leaving oil or antifreeze on concrete or the asphalt will eventually seep into the soil. Most auto parts stores accept used fluids and will dispose of them for you.

Drought Tip of the Day #76:

Be careful where you spray! Do not spray pesticides indiscriminately, either indoors or outdoors, where a pest problem has not been identified. Chemicals leach into ground water and build up over time. Limited spraying will help to keep surrounding water pure. Remember to dispose of excess pesticides at hazardous-waste collection centers.

Drought Tip of the Day #75:

Rethink your cleaning products! Many chemicals we use in and around our homes are toxic. Select less toxic alternatives and choose non-toxic substitutes whenever possible to reduce the amount of toxins entering our ground water. Buy the chemicals only in the amount you expect to use, to reduce chemical waste in landfills, and apply them only as directed.

Drought Tip of the Day #74:

Pull those weeds! Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light and water. If your weeds are difficult to remove, use a screw driver to loosen the soil by inserting it into the ground near the base of the weed. Regularly weeding will make sure the plants you enjoy will get the water we all need to conserve.

Drought Tip of the Day #73:

Donít over water your plants! Use a trowel, shovel, soil probe or even your finger to examine the soil moisture depth. If the top 2 or 3 inches of the soil are dry, it is time to water. If the soil is still wet, wait before watering. You can purchase a soil probe or a soil moisture meter for less than $10 at your local hardware store.

Drought Tip of the Day #72:

Start a compost pile! Using compost in your garden or flowerbed adds water-holding organic matter in the soil. Vegetable scraps, dryer lint, coffee grounds and yard waste can be piled up or put into a compost bin. Just remember to turn frequently and add a little water to make a water wise addition to your garden!

Drought Tip of the Day #71:

Make a suggestion box! One way to remind those in your school, business or organization that water conservation is important is to get them involved. Create a suggestion and incentive system or program to recognize water-saving ideas and reward those who put forth effort to save water in this time of drought.

Drought Tip of the Day #70:

Get involved in your community! Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults. Bring your ideas for schools, businesses and communities forward to help everyone think about and practice water conservation in this time of drought.

Drought Tip of the Day #69:

Use a WaterSense shower head! WaterSense is a label created by the Environmental Protection Agency which indicates a stamp of approval for products that conserve water. Shower heads are inexpensive and easy to install. You can save from 500 to 800 gallons of water per month. To save even more water, cut your shower time down by just one minute, and you will save hundreds of gallons per year.

Drought Tip of the Day #68:

Reduce your fertilizer! While fertilizer promotes plant growth, it increases water consumption. Using too much fertilizer causes the nutrients to be lost through runoff into surface water or even emissions into the air. Also, it will burn the roots of your plants causing yellowing and scorching of the plantís leaves. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed to save on your water usage.

Drought Tip of the Day #67:

Rethink your water slides! Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water. Water slides, pool sprinklers and water play sprinklers use a tremendous amount of water. Consider substituting these toys with a swimming day at the local pool or lake or inflatable pool toys and pool games.

Drought Tip of the Day #66:

Monitor your water bills! Look at your water bills for unusually high usage rates. You can use your bill and your water meter as tools to discover leaks in your plumbing or your irrigation system. You can, also, begin to compare your monthly usage rates to last yearís rate and keep track of your own conservation efforts!

Drought Tip of the Day #65:

Running a hose? Set a timer! It isnít very hard to forget to turn the water off when you are deeply watering trees and shrubs with a hose. Setting a timer can help remind you to shut off the water or move it to another plant. Running a hose can release up to 10 gallons per minute so forgetting to turn the water off can drown your plant even in times of drought.

Drought Tip of the Day #64:

Adjust your lawn mower! Adjust your lawn mower to the height of 1 and a half to 2 inches to let your grass grow a little taller this year. You could even let it grow up to four inches. Taller grass shades roots and retains the moisture in the soil. Check out the drought tolerant varieties of grass like buffalo grass for a native, low maintenance, good looking lawn.

Drought Tip of the Day #63:

Know your watering system! Knowing how to shut off your automatic watering system can be very helpful in case of malfunction or rain. Become familiar with your systemís controls so you can take control of the situation if something goes wrong or if nature decides to send us rains that are out of season as it did last year. A little intervention can go a long way.

Drought Tip of the Day #62:

Water deeply and less frequently! Seeds and very young plants require water on the soilís surface, but established plants need to develop roots deeper in the soil to survive a drought. Keeping soil moist, but not damp, 6 inches below the surface of the soil encourages roots to go deeper; watering deeply once a week will encourage this growth.

Drought Tip of the Day #61:

Improve your garden! Use this time of drought and conserve water by building retaining walls, improving decks or installing walkways. You can use porous material for walkways and patios to prevent wasteful runoff and keep water in your yard. Use this time to strategically plan and improve your garden to make it water wise.

Drought Tip of the Day #60:

Water your lawn more efficiently! If you notice dry spots in your lawn or landscaping, water by hand instead of running the whole irrigation system longer. Watering with a soaker hose, drip irrigation or by hand can reduce water usage significantly versus using your sprinkler system. It may be a little more work, but it is well worth the effort to save a lot of water.

Drought Tip of the Day #59:

Think about drought resistant plants! Reduce the amount of water-thirsty lawn in your yard by planting drought resistant shrubs, ornamental grasses, perennials and ground covers appropriate to your site and our region. Avoid planting grass in areas that are hard to water, such as steep inclines and narrow strips along sidewalks and driveways.

Drought Tip of the Day #58:

Donít over-water plants! Signs of over-watering include wilting leaves that are light green in color and signs of growing algae or fungi. An over-watered plant is a drowning plant. Outdoor plants should be watered less deeply and potted plants need to be gently replanted in clean, dry soil. Conserve water and save your plantís life at the same time.

Drought Tip of the Day #57:

Upgrade your evaporative cooler! By installing a water circulation pump in your evaporative cooler, you can keep the water from bleeding off with one pass. You can also install a thermostat and timer on your evaporative cooler to operate the machine only when necessary to save you energy, as well as, water.

Drought Tip of the Day #56:

Check your irrigation system! Watch out for overspray and sprinkler heads that are spaced too closely together which over waters parts of your yard. Make sure your yard is getting the water it needs, but look for waste in water hitting fences, running onto sidewalks or trickling down the streets. Also, make sure to water at dawn or dusk to reduce water evaporation.

Drought Tip of the Day #55:

Aerate your yard! Your irrigation system will work more efficiently if the water reaches the roots of the grass in your yard. Thatch is a mat of root growth found under the grass which blocks water from the soil and causes run off. Aerating your yard twice a year, in early spring and late fall, resolves the problem of thatch over time.

Drought Tip of the Day #54:

Use your garden to shade and mulch itself! By leaving the lower branches on trees and shrubs, you will allow these plants to provide more shade for their own water absorption and for the smaller plants around them. Allowing the leaf litter to accumulate on the soil provides natural mulch which keeps the soil cooler and reduces water evaporation.

Drought Tip of the Day #53:

Check your sprinklers for leaks! It is always wise to periodically check your sprinkler system valves for leaks and to keep sprinkler heads in good working order. The most effective way to save water is to use a drip system which delivers water right to the roots of the plant without any evaporation.

Drought Tip of the Day #52:

Avoid overfilling pools and spas! Overfilling your pool or spa can lead to water loss from splashing. Consider using a water metering device to maintain the right level. Evaporation takes about a quarter inch of water each day. If you are refilling your pool or spa with a large amount of water, you might have a leak.

Drought Tip of the Day #51:

Cover your pool or spa! By covering your pool or spa, you can reduce water evaporation. Wind, a lack of humidity and intense sunlight combine to accelerate the evaporation process. Consult a qualified pool and spa professional to choose the safest cover. If you are losing more water than a quarter of an inch a day, you might check for leaks.

Drought Tip of the Day #50:

Mulch! Using 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch around plants will reduce water evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year. Mulch allows you to water your outdoor plants less often by keeping the soil hydrated. Common types of mulch include straw, bark and shredded wood.

Drought Tip of the Day #49:

Report water waste! If you are out for a walk, on your bicycle or in your car and you see broken pipes, leaky hydrants or errant sprinklers, report the problem. Home owners, local water providers and city governments are interested in hearing from you. Your information can save them from the costly waste of water. It will help your community as well.

Drought Tip of the Day #48:

Know where your water valve is located! Familiarizing yourself with the location and operation of the master water valve is important if a water pipe were to burst in your home or yard. Not only could you save hundreds of gallons of water, but you could save the cost of the wasted water and the damage to your house. A little education is well worth the effort.

Drought Tip of the Day #47:

Reuse hotel towels! While staying in a hotel, hang your towel up to dry and reuse it before tossing the damp towel on the floor to be washed. By changing this one small habit, travelers can reduce the amount of water used in the daily room service. This helps the environment in three ways by conserving water, saving energy and reducing the use of detergents.

Drought Tip of the Day #46:

Make conserving water fun! Hold a contest within your family, in your business or among your coworkers and give a prize to the person who makes the most water-conserving changes. This will remind and inspire everyone to join in the effort. Why not have a little fun while you are helping the entire community use water wisely during this drought season?

Drought Tip of the Day #45:

Use a professional car wash! Washing a car at home uses between 80 and 140 gallons of water and releases contaminants directly into the environment or into storm drains causing pollution in rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. A commercial wash uses between 15 and 40 gallons of water. Many car wash businesses now recycle their water Ė be sure to ask before you wash your car.

Drought Tip of the Day #44:

Reuse the water in your fish tank! The dirty water from your fish bowl or tank is rich with nutrients that your non-edible plants will thrive on. As long as the water is free of salt and chemicals or any medications, the water is safe and very healthy for your plants. Seeds, new plants, transplants, as well as, established plants can all benefit from this aquatic compost.

Drought Tip of the Day #43:

Wash your pets outdoors! Use your dogís bath strategically in your yard to give trees or shrubs a long drink of water. If you are worried about the effects of the soap on your plants, use baby shampoo as this is a common ingredient in many home remedies for insect and disease control for plants, and it does a great job cleaning the dog as well!

Drought Tip of the Day #42:

Reuse you petís drinking water! Giving all of your animals fresh water to drink is important to their health. Instead of tossing the water in the sink, use the water for your plants. Watering outdoor plants and shrubs with a water dish is an easy and effective way to make the most out of the precious resource of water in this time of drought.

Drought Tip of the Day #41:

Donít let the recent rains fool you! It is very likely that we will experience a water shortage in the coming months. Even though the recent rains have provided some relief, the summer months will likely prove to be difficult. And, as the old saying goes, ďAn ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.Ē Now is a great time to develop water-saving habits and install water conservation technologies that will help us ďThrive When Itís Dry!Ē

Drought Tip of the Day #40:

Calculate your water savings! Search for the ďNational Geographicís Water Footprint CalculatorĒ and hit the go button. The series of questions are easy to answer, and you can find out how much water the average American household uses. The site may give you helpful ideas on where your household can save even more water. Donít forget to celebrate your success in what you have done so far!

Drought Tip of the Day #39:

Get a nozzle for your garden hose! When washing your car or watering your garden, you can still conserve our precious resource. The easiest way to do this is with a self-closing nozzle for your garden hose. This simple addition can save from 8 to 18 gallons of water with each use. And remember to look for and fix any leaky taps outside your home. Fixing those little drips can save a lot of water.

Drought Tip of the Day #38:

Reuse your cooking water! When cooking or steaming vegetables, the vegetableís nutrients leach into the water. You can reuse this water to start nutritious soups. You can, also, give plants added nutrients by sharing the reused water with them. Add the cooled water to your petís drinking water, and you have a new type of infused water treat!

Drought Tip of the Day #37:

Install a tankless hot water heater! It is not uncommon to turn on the hot water tap and wait a while for the water to heat up. This is due to the cold water in the pipes: the farther the distance, the more water in the pipes and the longer the wait. Installing an instant or tankless hot water heater near the tap can reduce wasted water and time.

Drought Tip of the Day #36:

Cut back on the pre-rinse cycle! If your dishwasher is new, you can reduce water waste by not using the pre-rinse option. Newer models clean dishes more thoroughly than older dishwashers. If you are in the market for a new water-efficient dishwasher, look for the ďWater SenseĒ label. You may be eligible for a rebate from your electric company.

Drought Tip of the Day #35:

Plant a drought resistant garden! Planting drought resistant flowering plants, shrubs and trees can save 30 to 60 gallons of water for each 1,000 square feet of landscaping. Some of these plants are fire resistant, and, if done correctly, they can create a firebreak around your home. For more information, visit your local garden shop or research fire resistant plants online. This is a message of the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency.

Drought Tip of the Day #34:

Take shorter showers! Taking a shower instead of taking a bath can save a lot of water. A bathtub can use up to 70 gallons of water. The shower, generally, uses about 20 gallons. Spending less time in the shower can reduce the overall water consumption to about 10 gallons. While the weather is still cool, you might even consider skipping a day and showering every other day.

Drought Tip of the Day #33:

Turn the water off while you wash your hands! While you lather up, turn off the water and scrub for about 20 seconds to get your hands clean. Need a timer? Hum or sing the happy birthday song to yourself twice, and you will have germ free hands. You will, also, have saved a lot of water!

Drought Tip of the Day #32:

Rethink your ice cubes! When you accidentally drop ice cubes or fill your glass too full with them, rethink throwing the frozen resource of water in the sink. You can use the cubes for your house plants for a slow-release watering. You can, also, drop the clean cubes in your pet's water bowl for a little treat.

Drought Tip of the Day #31:

Get a faucet aerator! An aerator can be simply screwed onto your bathroom faucet head. This little addition reduces water waste by preventing splashing and controlling the water's flow. Installing a faucet aerator can save 1.2 gallons per person. They can even help increase the water pressure if your pressure is too low. At about $5 each, this is an easy and cost-effective way to save water.

Drought Tip of the Day #30:

Soak your dishes! The easiest way to clean up after a meal is to clean your pots and pans immediately after you use them. While preparing your meals, rinse off utensils before the food residue has a chance to dry and become difficult to remove. Soaking dirty pots and pans, instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean, saves water, as well as, a lot of time and effort.

Drought Tip of the Day #29:

Get a faucet aerator! An aerator can be simply screwed onto your kitchen faucet head. This little addition reduces water waste by preventing splashing and controlling the water's flow. Installing a faucet aerator can save 1 gallon per minute. They can even help increase the water pressure if your pressure is too low. At about $5 each, this is an easy and cost-effective way to save water!

Drought Tip of the Day #28:

Rethink your lawn and garden! Grass can be a huge source of outdoor water waste. Consider cutting back or eliminating the amount of turf you have at your home. If your family enjoys a large grassy yard, make sure your irrigation system is efficient. Water at dusk and allow your grass to grow a bit taller. This all helps keep the water in the soil and aids conservation efforts.

Drought Tip of the Day #27:

Rethink your lawn and garden! The recent rains are not enough to end the drought, but they are enough to eliminate the need to water lawns and landscaping for the next several weeks at least. Water sprinklers and irrigation systems can be shut off until the soil is dry. Consider installing a drip system in your garden. A drip system waters roots directly and reduces water evaporation.

Drought Tip of the Day #26:

Install water-efficient clothes washers! Products that have earned the Energy Star rating may be eligible for rebates from PG&E and the City of Ukiah. They can also save up to 7 gallons of water per load of laundry. For more information, go to www.energystar.gov and look for clothes washers under their Certified Products.

Drought Tip of the Day #25:

Protect your gardens! Using mulch prevents water loss and keeps the soil cool. Adding a fungal inoculant when you plant creates an underground network that extends roots so plants can absorb more water. Watering gardens in the evening, just before dusk, allows the soil to absorb the water before it can evaporate. Installing a shade cloth reduces moisture from evaporating or being lost in the breeze.

Drought Tip of the Day #24:

Fix your leaks! March 17-23, 2014 is "Fix a Leak Week". It is a great time to check your irrigation system to make sure parts were not damaged by the freezing temperatures that we had in winter. By checking your plumbing and your irrigation systems for leaks, you can save valuable water and money!

Drought Tip of the Day #23:

Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage bin more! You can save not only water, but the wear on your garbage disposal as well. You might even think about composting food scraps for your garden. This keeps nutrients out of land fills and puts them into your soil! Substituting a bin for your garbage disposal can save from 50 to 150 gallons of water a month.

Drought Tip of the Day #22:

Plan ahead when defrosting! You can save yourself some time and water by not defrosting frozen food under a running tap of water. Place your frozen items in the refrigerator the night before you plan to cook or defrost your food in the microwave. This simple tip can save from 50 to 150 gallons of water a month.

Drought Tip of the Day #21:

Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. Instead of running tap water and waiting for the water's temperature to cool for drinking, save a bottle of water in the refrigerator. This can save up to 200 to 300 gallons of water a month.

Drought Tip of the Day #20:

When washing your dishes by hand,use the least amount of detergent possible. By using less dish soap, you can reduce the amount of time and water needed to rinse your dishes. This can save from 50 to 150 gallons of water per month.

Drought Tip of the Day #19:

When washing your dishes by hand, don't leave the water running! If you have two sinks, fill one with rinse water. If you only have one sink, use a spray device or short blasts from the faucet instead of letting the water run. This can save from 200 to 500 gallons of water a month.

Drought Tip of the Day #18:

Turn off the water while shaving! Filling the bottom of the sink with a few inches of water will let you rinse your razor and save about 3 gallons of water each day. Turning the water off while washing your face can conserve even more water!

Drought Tip of the Day #17:

Turn off the water while you brush your teeth! Keeping the water on while brushing your teeth uses up to four gallons of water per minute. Just by using this simple tip, a family of four can save up to two hundred gallons of water a week. That is over eight hundred gallons a month!

Drought Tip of the Day #16:

Make sure your toilet is an ultra-low flush model! Toilets account for a third of the water used in most homes; an older toilet can use from 3 to 5 gallons per flush. An ultra-low flush toilet uses only one and a half gallons per flush. You can save up to 11,000 gallons of water a year. If you can't replace your toilet right now, trying putting a half gallon jug of water or two in the tank to displace some water and use less, or get a Toilet Tummy, an extremely inexpensive, prefabricated bag which hangs inside the tank. A single Toilet Tummy saves 80 ounces of water per flush.

Drought Tip of the Day #15:

Consider your wastebasket! When we use our toilets as an ashtray or a wastebasket, we are wasting the precious resource of water. By simply substituting a wastebasket for the flush, you could potentially save from 400 to 600 gallons of water per month.

Drought Tip of the Day #14:

Use a broom! When cleaning driveways and sidewalks, you might consider using a broom to remove debris. This saves over 150 gallons with each cleaning. If one person sweeps instead of rinses once a week, the water conservation is more than 600 gallons a month. Think of the water savings one neighborhood could make!

Drought Tip of the Day #13:

Save time in the shower! The average 4 minute shower uses up to 20 gallons of water. Replacing your showerhead with a low-flow showerhead can cut that down to 10 gallons. Look for the "Water Sense" label from the Environmental Protection Agency on your water efficient products, and you can potentially, save even more water. Reducing your shower by one or two minutes can save up to 700 gallons a month.

Drought Tip of the Day #12:

Save water while washing dishes and clothes! Fill up your machines to capacity and run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher. Washing only full loads will reduce the amount of water used for multiple loads. This simple tip can save 300 to 800 gallons of water per month. And don't forget to check for leaks.

Drought Tip of the Day #11:

Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors. This saves 500 to 800 gallons per month.

Drought Tip of the Day #10:

Collect the water that runs in your shower or bathtub while waiting for the water to warm up. Get a 5-gallon bucket and put it under the faucet, and use the water for flushing the toilet. This saves 200 to 300 gallons a month. Remember to cover the bucket if you have small children in the home to prevent accidental drowning.

Drought Tip of the Day #9:

One way to find out if you have a toilet leak is to place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, you have a leak. Make sure to flush immediately after this experiment to avoid staining the tank. If your toilet is leaking, the cause is often an old, faulty toilet flapper. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays, or minerals build up on it. It's usually best to replace the whole rubber flapper, a relatively easy, inexpensive do-it-yourself project that pays for itself in no time.

Drought Tip of the Day #8:

Check for leaky faucets! Leaky faucets can be fixed by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear and replacing them if necessary. Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench. Checking for leaks can conserve more than 10,000 gallons of water per household a year. A little effort can go a long way when water is scarce.

Drought Tip of the Day #7:

The average household's leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year. This is equal to the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry. Common types of leaks found in the home include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets and other leaking valves. All are easily correctable. Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills. In most cases, fixture replacement parts don't require a major investment.

A good method to check for leaks is to examine your winter water usage. It is likely that a family of four has a serious leak problem if the winter water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month. Check you water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.

    Drought Tip of the Day #6:

    What You Can Do to Stay Healthy, Conserve Water, and Thrive When Itís Dry? Today's tip is ...Make sure wells are sealed in order to ensure that water remains clean and potable even at low levels. Be conscious of changes in color and taste of your well water. If you notice changes, get it tested. If you want to test your water supply for bacteria, sample vials and instructions can be picked up at the Environmental Health offices in both Ukiah and Fort Bragg for analysis by ALPHA laboratories for about $35. Contact Environmental Health at http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/hhsa/chs/eh/index.htm or Alpha Labs at 707-468-0401. This is a message of the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency.

    Drought Tip of the Day #5:

    What You Can Do to Stay Healthy, Conserve Water, and Thrive When Itís Dry? Today's tip is...Rainwater harvesting is an ancient practice of catching and holding rain for later use. In a rainwater harvesting system, rain is gathered from a building rooftop or other source and is held in large containers for future non-drinking use, such as watering gardens. To prevent mosquitoes from breeding in water containers and to eliminate a drowning hazard for small children, keep them covered with a lid or fine screen. Water storage should never create a hazardous situation. This is is a message of the Mendocino County Health & Human Services Agency.

    Drought Tip of the Day #4:

    Do not drink from streams or other sources of untreated, unfiltered water. Assume that all open bodies of water in Mendocino County may be contaminated with giardia, a harmful parasite. All drinking water needs to be safe and clean even when it is scarce or more expensive. Again, it is worth making an effort to obtain sufficient, clean drinking water even in a time of scarcity. This is not the place to cut back on water usage.

    Drought Tip of the Day #3:

    Today's tip is...Always wash fruits and vegetables before eating. Some produce growers may turn to recycled water to water crops in a drought, and itís always a good idea even in non-drought times to wash all produce with clean cold water before eating. No detergent is necessary. You can fill a bowl or tub with water, wash several different items by rubbing them by hand, and then use the water to mop the floor, flush the toilet or water non-food plants. Scrub Produce with Rinds, Grooves or Waxy Skin with a brush to remove pathogens. These include melons, cucumbers, winter squash, citrus, and potatoes.

    Drought Tip of the Day #2:

    Wash your hands often! Saving water by not washing hands would be penny wise and pound foolish; the single most effective way to stay healthy is to wash hands frequently. Use good old fashioned soap and water. You can turn off the tap while lathering up to conserve water or wash over a bucket that can then be used to flush toilets or water non-food plants. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

    Drought Tip of the Day #1:

    Drink water! Donít skimp on your own hydration, even if you have to buy water. This is NOT the place to conserve water. Men should drink about 13 glasses of water a day, and women about 9. Young children and older adults are more vulnerable to dehydration, especially when sick with fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Early symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth and eyes, dark urine, and feeling cranky, tired or dizzy.

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