Water conservation begins at home, and we must all do our part. We need to develop an attitude of conserving water so we will be conscious of using less water in all aspects of our lives.

Stop leaks. The first step is to make sure your home is leak-free. Check indoor water-using appliances and devices for leaks. Many silent leaks allow water and your money to go down the drain.

Dripping faucets that are leaking at a rate of one drop per second can waste 2,700 gallons of water per year. Not only is this a waste of water, it adds to the size of your water and sewer bill, or it puts a strain on your septic system.

Change behaviors. Examples of possible behavior changes that could save water in the bathroom include: taking 4 minute showers; turning the water off while shampooing your hair in the shower; turning water off while shaving or brushing teeth; and never using the toilet as a waste basket.

Other simple behavior changes can save a lot of water in the kitchen and laundry areas.

In the kitchen: keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool; thaw food in the refrigerator overnight rather than running hot water over it; scrape rather than rinsing dishes when loading the dishwasher; and add food waste to a compost pile instead of using the garbage disposal. In the laundry area, wash only full loads of laundry, or use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine.

Outside your home, consider sweeping sidewalks and driveways rather than hosing them off; use soaker hoses rather than sprinkler to avoid evaporation; and wash the car with water from a bucket, or consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water.

Replace your equipment with water-efficient equipment. Homes with high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and appliances save about 30 percent of indoor water use and yield substantial savings on water, sewer, and energy bills.

Reduce water use in the landscape. From 50 to 75 percent of a home’s total water use during the growing season may be for outdoor purposes. It is important that you develop a plan or convert your current landscape to include plants and design that are appropriate for your climate conditions.

Remember: What you do affects the quality and quantity of water you have available. By keeping that in mind, you are helping protect water resources now and in the future. Help save Texas’ water, and make every drop count!

Rita Hodges is the Ellis County Extension Agent-Family & Consumer Sciences Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Contact Rita at 972-825-5175 or rmhodges@ag.tamu.edu. Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin. The Texas A & M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.