How high are your water bills? My bills are almost always the minimum. For over ten years, I’ve used less than 1,000 gallons of water almost every month. There are about two months (summer) per year when I sometimes use more. The picture is a screen shot of my account history. The city’s minimum has increased 9% in the last 3 years. My water bill does include trash and recycling (currently $17.66). There are several ways I keep my water bill low, and I’ll explain.
Shower: I take showers, not baths. Not only do showers use less water, but I feel like they’re cleaner. I take quick showers instead of lingering. I wash my face in the sink, not the shower.
Bathroom sink: While brushing my teeth, I turn off the water. I also turn it off when washing my face. Because of the type of faucet, I do keep the water on when washing my hands. However, I turn the water off when washing my hands in the kitchen sink.
Dishes: I only run my dishwasher when it’s a full load. This is also energy efficient. When I have an item that needs to be hand-washed, I wait until I have a several items. That way, I’m wasting less water while waiting for it to become hot.
Vehicle: I use a hose attachment when I wash my vehicle so water is not running the whole time.
Laundry: I only wash full loads. Sometimes, they’re at the “super” water level, but I set the water level lower, then I adjust as necessary before closing the lid. Make sure you’re using the correct water level for your load. If I’m washing more loads than normal, I can usually space them out between billing cycles so I still pay the monthly minimum.
Toilet: I installed low-flow toilet parts. Even though I use toilet paper to blow my nose, I put it in the trash can instead of wasting gallons of water to flush the tissue. I know someone who flushes bugs! Please don’t use several gallons of water just to flush a bug; the trash can works just fine. One of the biggest ways I save water in this area is something I learned from family in the Caribbean. Many homes there use cisterns for water, and they must be extra conservative. So, “if it’s yellow, let it mellow.” I only recommend this if you have a private restroom. I don’t dare do this with a shared restroom; that’s gross. For women, it’s also important not to skip flushing too many times; otherwise, you might run into issues.
Lawn: When I used my sprinkler system, I would only use it 2-3 days per week (not consecutive). I also set it for 4 o’clock in the morning. Watering in the daytime wastes some of the water because it evaporates. I winterized my sprinkler system in 2016, and I haven’t turned it back on. I keep a bucket in my shower to use for the lawn, and it’s in a particular spot to avoid soapy water. Of course, most of the water is from waiting for the shower to be the right temperature. Occasionally, I also put the bucket in my kitchen sink. When we’re having a really bad drought, I’ll occasionally supplement with the hose and an attachment. After all, replacing my grass would be more expensive than extra water.
Is there something you’re willing to change to lower your water bills?