Your Place: Saving water is simple, and light on your wallet

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

I spent $88 to come up with this information ó my quarterly bill for regional sewer service contained a brochure that got me thinking.

The expense was well-worth advice on this topic: water-saving tips for a family of four.

Updating your shower with a low-flow showerhead can save 7,665 gallons of water and up to $50 a year.

Cutting the time you spend in the shower to five minutes can save 76,650 gallons of water and up to $498 a year.

Replacing that old water-guzzling toilet with a WaterSense low-flow version can save 10,986 gallons of water and up to $70 a year.

Getting your family to turn the water off while brushing their teeth twice a day can save 11,680 gallons and up to $75 a year.

Updating your faucet or attaching an inexpensive aerator can save 15,622 gallons of water and up to $100 a year.

And thatís just the savings that can be achieved in the bathroom. In the kitchen, and for the same family:

Washing dishes when the dishwasher is full can save 2,920 gallons of water and up to $19 a year.

Replacing an old dishwasher with a new high-efficiency model can save 1,314 gallons of water and up to $80 a year.

Laundry, same family:

Upgrading to a high-efficiency clothes washer can save 14,585 gallons of water and up to $94 a year.

Washing only full loads of laundry can save 10,534 gallons of water and up to $68 a year.

Lowering the water setting to correspond with the size of the wash load. Savings may vary.

Outside the house, consider these steps:

Watering flowers with rain collected from your roof with a rain barrel connected to your downspout. Donít water the driveway or sidewalks.

Choosing drought-tolerant grass varieties such as tall fescues.

Mulching around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and water-consuming weeds.

See www.njwatersavers.rutgers.edu for more details, even if you donít live in New Jersey.