Customers have a large influence on the integrity, quality & supply of water within a community water system. Most of us do not even think twice about running a water faucet continuously while brushing our teeth or washing our dishes. Most of us do not know that a leaky toilet or dripping faucet can waste HUGE amounts of water, deplete our water source and drastically increase the cost of our water bills.
While New Hampshire is thought of as a water-enriched state, we still need to think about conserving water, especially since none of the system sources owned by Lakes Region Water Company are “under the direct influence of surface water.”
Most of our systems derive water from aquifers deep inside bedrock and contrary to popular belief, they DO NOT come from our neighboring lakes.
So how can you help conserve water?
- Conservation Rules
Prior to getting approval for a new water source within a community water system, each water system owner must design a water conservation plan. The use of water meters is probably the BEST way to encourage water conservation since large water use = large water bill. However, not all of our water systems are metered which means we must implement the use of a leak detection & audit program. The conservation plan, once approved, must immediately be put into effect & reported to the NHDES.
- Saving Water Indoors
At some point, you may have received an education mailing or two with tips on different ways to save water at home. While these tips may seem pretty obvious, they really can conserve a lot of water, which means more water will be available to you later. The NHDES has online Fact Sheets on indoor water conservation.
The following is a brief list of indoor water conservation tips:
- Repair all leaky faucets: One leaky faucet can waste up to 4,000 gallons of water per month and increase energy costs. (equivalent to an extra $75 charges for meter usage on your quarterly water bill).
- Install faucet aerators: They are cheap & can reduce water use by 60%.
- Clean food items in a bowl instead of running your faucet.
- Refrain from using garbage disposals: Compost food instead.
- Wash dishes by hand in a basin & not under a running tap.
- Run full-load dishwashers to save 15 gallons per load and hot water costs, too. Use the “light-wash” setting if available.
- Run full-loads of laundry only.
- Take quick showers & avoid baths. Showers use 3X less water.
- Install a low-flow showerhead, reducing water use to 3 gallons per minute, while maintaining adequate flow.
- Repair leaky toilets and flush handles stuck in the “on” position.
- Avoid using automatic bowl cleaners in the toilet as their chemicals rapidly degrade flapper valves, causing toilets to leak.
- When buying a new toilet, select a low-flush model that uses less than 1-1/2 gallons of water to flush, saving over 7,000 gallons per year per person.
- Lastly….SHUT OFF THE WATER WHEN NOT IN USE, just as you would your electricity.
- Saving Water Outdoors
Saving water outdoors can be just as easy as saving water indoors. It may take a little bit of extra time & planning, but it is worth it.
View the NHDES’ online Fact Sheet on Outdoor water use.
Below are some quick tips for outdoor water conservation:
- Set mower blades on a high setting (2″ to 3″) to provide natural ground shade and promote natural water retention by soil.
- Water lawn and garden early in the morning when evaporation is lowest.
- Use a rain gauge and water no more than 1 inch per week.
- Collect rainwater for watering plants using a barrel covered with a screen.
- Use rain sensors on automatic sprinkler systems.
- Operate in-ground sprinkler systems manually. Only use when less than an inch of rainfall per week has fallen. Set the sprinkler heads to water only the grass and not paved areas.
- Use drip irrigation to water flower beds and non-lawn landscaped areas. Or hand water these areas.
- Plant native species suited to your area. Ask your local nursery for plant and grass species that require less water.
- Sweep down decks and driveways instead of hosing them down.
- If washing your car, turn off the hose between rinses, or wash with a bucket and sponge and only use the hose for rinsing. REFRAIN FROM RUNNING WATER TO WASTE!
- Water Use Restrictions
At times, a water system owner may make the decision to implement water restrictions, commonly referred to as a “water ban.” Droughts, shortage of supply or other system difficulties may make it necessary for a water ban to be put into effect. This is usually a last resort option that most owners do not wish to utilize as it is an inconvenience to most customers. Water restrictions preserve water when water is scare and is no longer readily available. They help conserve water but also aid in protecting public health.
If your water system is put on a water ban, you will be notified by mail, email, telephone or hand-delivery. We will also post a notice on our homepage. This notice will list water uses that are permitted and those that are prohibited by customers and will note an approximate length the ban will be in effect. The most stringent form of water ban would be to prohibit any and all use of outdoor water (excluding emergencies such as in the event of a fire). During these times, if a customer is found to be disregarding the restrictions, he or she could face disconnection of water service. Click to learn about the rules for implementing water use restrictions.