Karen Siddall
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Water Saving Tips for the Holidays

Over the holidays, with more time at home and more visitors in the house, our water bill can really take a hit. More cooking, more showering, (more flushing!) all require more water than what we normally use. Since the water bill in winter tends to be lower than other times of the year, because few of us are watering our lawns then, the increase in consumption around the holidays can be masked.

However, here are a couple of things that can be done around the holidays to save water and keep some of the jingle in our pocket rather than sending it out the door with a water bill.

Getting in the holiday spirit -

1)      Switch to a reusable artificial tree this year – no watering!

2)      We’re more likely to notice water leaks indoors, so while putting up the outdoor lights, don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, sprinklers, and hoses. And if really cold weather is anticipated, cover up and insulate that outdoor faucet.

3)      While you’re out there, find out where your master water shut off valve is located and how to turn it off in case of a leak. This could save water and prevent damage to your home.

4)      As that final touch for upping your Christmas curb appeal, use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk.

5)      Then before you put the big, red bow or antlers and red nose on the car, use a commercial car wash that recycles water.

Holiday feasting -

1)      Don’t use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.

2)      Wash fruit and vegetables in a pan of water rather than running water from the tap.

3)      Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons of water every time you would have used it.

4)      Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.

5)      Keep in mind that a dishwasher uses less water to clean a full load of dishes than doing them by hand. Energy Star™ dishwashers use between 4 and 6 gallons of water per load depending on the cycle selected. If washing dishes by hand is necessary, fill the sink and rinse the dishes when they have all been scraped and scrubbed.

Family at home –

1)      Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save around two gallons per minute. If you brush for the full two minutes that the dentist recommends, that’s a water savings of almost four gallons every time you brush. (That’s enough for a dishwasher session.)

2)      Adhere to using one glass for water per person per day. Each person reusing their glass cuts down on the number to wash.

3)      For cold drinks, keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap.

4)      When running a bath, plug the tub before turning the water on, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up. However, a short shower uses less water than a full bath.

5)      When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.

Small adjustments such as these will bring reductions in your daily water consumption. But more importantly, their daily practice can lead to them becoming long-term habits. Over time, these habits can add up to some significant savings on your water bill letting you keep those savings jingling in your pocket rather than flowing down the drain.

For more information about water conservation, visit the Prairielands Groundwater Conservation District website at

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