It’s the end of the month and you received your rent and utilities bill. On a closer look, you see that your water and sewer bill has skyrocketed. How can this be? I need to call maintenance! Your mind is flooded with questions about your actual water usage. “Is the meter broken? Is there a leak somewhere? My toilet does sound like it’s been running—maybe it’s broken.” Or maybe your water consumption really has increased.
Often, we receive materials on ways to conserve water as homeowners but rarely as a renter. The fact is that the water use of a renter has just as much of an impact on your bill and the environment as a homeowner’s usage, especially in a city as dense as the District. So how can you improve your impact? Here are 5 efficient ways to use water and save a few coins:
1). Do not let the water run before or during brushing and shaving. Don’t let water run long before showering. Imagine coins going down the drain for every 3 seconds of water running.
2) Reduce shower time to 6 minutes. This may be your most difficult challenge, especially after a hard day of work. Just remember, reduced water means a reduced bill and a reduced bill means more money for other self-care activities.
3) Reuse cooled water from boiling vegetables or pasta for indoor plants rather than disposing it down the drain. This saves an extra cup or two of water and coins.
4) Only run the dishwasher when it is full and allow dishes to soak in sink rather than let the faucet run while cleaning. Though many of today’s appliance efficiently use energy and water, water can still be wasted by their continual use.
5) Set one day a month for laundry, if possible. Let’s face it, you probably have plenty of clothes stashed in the closet that you never wear. Give them a run and extend your wash day rather than running half cycles of the same clothes. Make sure to adjust the settings according to the appropriate load size.
Christie Holland is an urban planner from St. Louis, MO interested in community development, transportation planning, infrastructure, and urban design challenges.