Handy Steps for Easy Water Conservation

By: Corinna Underwood

Georgia is going through one of the worst droughts in history. Reservoirs and lakes stand at all time lows.  There are lots of simple ways we can all help to conserve Georgia’s water.  Handyman Malcolm, a trusted Cumming home improvement engineer, has been working with local residents to help them conserve and recycle water.
One of Malcolm’s hot tips for water conservation is an instant or tankless hot water unit. “Basically, you set a timer and it circulates hot water out to a faucet right next to your shower. If you want a shower at 7am you set the timer to start circulating at 6.30am, and by 7 o’clock the water is at your shower,” says Malcolm. This is a great way to avoid losing water down the drain while you are waiting for it to warm and are available at local do-it-yourself stores.
Alternatively you can collect your grey water in a holding tank so that when you water outside, you are using recycled water from your shower. This can be piped from the basement and stored in a tote. The tote is a large plastic tank on a palette, measuring 4’x4’x5’, used for shipping liquids in. A tote can hold up to one ton of water.
You can make the most of your rainwater by collecting runoff from your downspout in a rain barrel so you can use it in the summer time when there is least rain. If an old style rain barrel doesn’t quite meet your gardening needs you can also capture runoff in a tote.
“One of the other things you can use is a low water use flush toilet. When you flush your toilet it uses six gallons of water, where the old ones use eight gallons,” says Malcolm.  You can also buy toilets that have an adjustable flush of between 1 and 1.5 gallons to suit individual needs.  “If your piping is not very well built, you will need the higher volume. If your piping is well done then the lower volume will be fine,” Malcolm explains.
You can save thousands of gallons a month by remembering to turnoff your taps instead of letting the water run when you are doing dishes, instead full the sink or a bowl. Similarly, turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth. This can save you up to four gallons each minute. If you can hold off doing the laundry until you have a full load then you can save up to 600 gallons each month.
You don’t have to be an engineer to help conserve water.  It is something each of us can do easily if we make a concerted effort to do so.  Each gallon of water we can conserve helps bring us back to normal levels.  For more information and ideas about how you can help conserve water, visit www.nothgeorgiawater.org.
Take Note:
Water Conservation May 08
  • A simple trick to detect if you have a leaky tank “Add two drops of green food coloring to your tank. Wait a few minutes. If the green water shows up in your bowl then you have a leak.
  •  Older plumbing require more water to operate. Retrofit older fixtures with lower capacity tanks and fixtures.
  •  Run only full loads for dishwasher and laundry cycles.
  •  Wash produce in water-filled bowls or sinks instead of under running water.
  •  Have short shower races. See who can take a shower in under 5 (minutes) flat!
  •  Turn off the water while shaving, brushing your teeth, or lathering your hands while washing. 


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