Tempe, along with other Valley cities, is asking residents to voluntarily reduce water usage in the face of the ongoing drought on the Colorado River.
The city has implemented Stage 0 of the Drought Preparedness Plan, outlining what it’s doing to help conserve water, and local businesses are giving tips on how people can do their part.
Stage 0, also called Watch, includes increasing education and awareness of current and future drought conditions, as well as encouraging additional voluntary conservation by all water users.
Although water reduction is voluntary at this stage, residents can pitch in to make sure they’re not wasting water. Donley AC & Plumbing, which services Tempe and the Valley, tells homeowners to turn off the water to their house and make sure the irrigation system is not scheduled to turn on. Then, check the water meter (typically located in front of house near sidewalk) for movement. The meter should not move. If it does, there’s a leak.
High water bills are also a sign there’s a leak somewhere. Irrigation systems and pool filters are two common sneaky culprits, so check all sprinkler heads and lines and looking for water under and around pool filters.
Inside the home, signs of a leak include mold or mildew, wet spots or discoloration on flooring (especially around washing machines), damaged walls or bubbles in paint.
Donley suggests checking for leaks inside the home using these methods:
- Toilet leaks: Place a few drops of food color into the bowl. Wait 10 minutes. If color is still present, there’s a leak. A worn-out flapper is the most common culprit. The inexpensive rubber parts can be quickly and easily replaced.
- Faucet leaks: Listen for drips. Worn washers and gaskets frequently cause leaks. Tightening aerators or replacing fixture may also help. One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day.
- Shower heads: Turn on and off and look for drips. Old and worn faucet washers and gaskets often cause leaks. The EPA says a shower head leaking at 10 drops per minute wastes more than 500 gallons a year.
- Under the sink: Check for pooling water under pipes and rust around joints and edges.
Replacing older toilets, shower heads and faucet aerators with WaterSense products can greatly improve water efficiency as well. For more tips on conserving, visit Water Use It Wisely.