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Five tips to conserve water

I hear Hornbrook, California, is running low on water. What is the current water situation in the Rogue Valley, and what can I do to save water?

Claire O.

On July 14, Hornbrook set a limit of 200 gallons a day per household and prohibited outdoor watering due to the demand for water outpacing the supply.

Moreover, the town recommends that tap water be boiled before consumption because of potential contaminants caused by low water pressure from the water shortages.

Although the Rogue Valley is in the middle of a drought, the region is not suffering as much as Hornbrook.

Talent Irrigation District shut off irrigation water July 19, and the Rogue River Irrigation District followed Aug. 2, due to extremely low reservoir levels and a depleted water supply.

In Medford, voluntary water usage reductions have been in place since June 17. They were first put in place because of a national shortage of chlorine, but have remained in effect because of the rise in demand and the drought.

Water demand was reduced by 10% to 15% during the first two weeks, despite record temperatures, but in the week subsequent demand increased.

Below are five tips to conserve water beyond the ordinary common-sense solutions like flushing and bathing less, taking shorter showers, and watering lawns only when needed and during the morning and evening.

1. Put a plastic bottle in the toilet tank.

In a typical home, this can save five gallons of water a day without harming the efficiency of the toilet. This can be done by placing a one-liter bottle filled with an inch of sand or pebbles and water for weight in the toilet tank safely away from the operating mechanisms.

2. Fix leaks

A leaky faucet that drips one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Most leaks can be easily fixed by replacing old washers.

3. Drink water from the fridge

Drinking water from the fridge cuts out the water waste from running the faucet until the water is cold enough.

4. Reuse water whenever possible

For example, water from steaming vegetables or from cooking pasta can be used to water plants, leftover ice can be scattered on the lawn and catching warm-up shower water can be used to clean dishes.

5. Invest in water-efficient appliances

EPA-certified WaterSense faucets, toilets, showerheads and sprinkler systems use 20% less water than standard models without sacrificing the effectiveness of conventional products.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com.