Water Conservation

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Water Conservation in St. Cloud

St. Cloud’s drinking water comes from the Mississippi River which is a large reliable source, however residents should be mindful of the importance of water conservation.There are many easy ways to conserve water (and save money at the same time) in your daily life!

Water is necessary for all living organisms and fresh water is a limited resource.  Saving water means saving money by lowering your water bill.  Taking less water out of the environment helps to preserve our natural resources and protects against droughts.

Water conservation can be easy with these tips. Learn how to conserve water at the tap, with your appliances, and in your yard.

Water Conservation at the Tap

Turn off the Tap When Brushing Your Teeth

Turning off the tap while you brush your teeth in the morning and at night can save you up to 8 gallons of water a day. An average bathroom faucet uses around 2 gallons per minute; at 4 minutes of teeth brushing per day, the average person can save over 200 gallons of water a month, just by making one small update to your daily routine.

Use a Faucet Aerator or Water Flow Reducer

A faucet aerator and water-flow reducer attachment can reduce a faucet’s water flow by 30% or more, without impacting the water pressure in your sinks and faucets.The average aerator reduces faucet flow from just over 2 gallons per minute to around 1.5 gallons per minute. 

Repair Leaking Taps

Repairing a leaking tap could save around 5 gallons of water a day – that’s over 2,000 gallons of water a year! 

That may seem like a lot of water for one small drip, but the US Geological Survey says that water droplets average in size between 1/5 to 1/3 millilitre (mL). This means one gallon of water will contain 15,140 water droplets that are 1/4 millilitre (mL) in size. At his rate, it only takes 4.5 hours to lose one gallon of water.

Cut Your Shower Length to Save Money

Taking shorter showers is an easy way to save water every day. At an average flow-rate of 2 ½ gallons per minute, a ten minute shower uses 25 gallons of water!

How Much Water Could You Save in Your Home?

See how much water you could save using this calculator from the United States Geological Survey at https://water.usgs.gov/edu/activity-drip.html.

Conserve Water Outdoors

The University of Minnesota Extension Office's turf specialists have collected water-saving advice related to home lawns. Read the article, or see below for a summary of the advice.

  • Pay attention to the weather
  • Select lawn grasses that use less water or can tolerate drought
  • Adjust irrigation programs to conserve water
  • Use water saving technologies
  • Recycle water
  • Change expectations - allow for temporary discoloration during drought periods.  

Use a Rain Barrel

A rain barrel can collect and store rainwater from your roof. This water would otherwise be lost as runoff. Lawn and garden watering makes up around 1/3 of total household water use – using collected rain water provides this water in a more sustainable manner. Most rain barrels hold about 55 gallons of rain water, according to the US-EPA a rain barrel can save you about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months.

Add Rain Sensors to Your Sprinkler System

A rain sensor on your irrigation system works with a device or switch that shuts off the sprinkler system when rainfall is detected, and in turn stops your sprinkler system from running unnecessarily. Running a typical sprinkler from a standard garden hose for one hour uses around 1,020 gallons water – which can be saved if using rain water to replace lawn irrigation whenever possible.

Save Water With Your Appliances

Fix Toilet Leaks

A severe toilet leak could cost you up to a gallon of water a minute! Even less severe toilet leaks can cause water use to increase, as well as water bills.

Checking for an Overflow Leak on Your Toilet

The easiest way to check for a toilet leak is to start by removing the lid off your toilet tank. Add in a few drops of food coloring or Toilet Tank Leak Detection Tablets to the tank and stir. Tablets are available at City Hall Information Desk or Central Services Building Information Desk - pick up the tablets free of charge. Food coloring can also be used.

  • Wait 25-30 minutes - do NOT flush or use the toilet while waiting.
  • After 30 minutes, if color has seeped from the tank into the bowl, then there is a toilet leak present. 
    • If the float is not adjusted properly, water can continue to fill into the tank, and drain down the overflow tube. Pull up on the float. If the water stops running, you might need to adjust the float.
    • It is possible the fill valve/inlet valve is not set properly or has malfunctioned. This sometimes causes a hiss or a squeal when filling. Try adjusting the fill valve. You might need to replace it.
    • If the water stops running when the toilet handle is jiggled, you may need to to adjust the chain attached to the handle so that the flapper sits in the valve seat properly.

Use High Efficiency Washing Machines

High efficiency washing machines save approximately 15 gallons of water per load. 

Do Full Loads of Laundry

Using washing machines efficiently by doing full loads of laundry can also help conserve water. Doing full loads of laundry means fewer loads, and each skipped load of laundry can save 15-30 gallons of water for high efficiency washing machines and 29-45 gallons for older washing machines. 

Use High Efficiency Dishwashers

High efficiency dishwashers save around 2 gallons of water per load. 

Use Water Efficient Toilets

Replacing a standard 3.6 gallon per flush toilet with an efficient 1.8 or 1.28 gallon per flush toilet can cut water consumption by half or more. If a toilet is flushed 8 times a day, this could save between 15 to 18 gallons of water per day.

Water Conservation at the Meter

Water Meter Replacement Plan

The City is upgrading all water meters. The new metering system will provide near real time information for water use improving your ability to use water wisely. The new system will transmit readings multiple times each day and transmit error codes to identify leaks or other problems promptly. Learn more about the water meter replacement program here https://www.ci.stcloud.mn.us/1697/Water-Meter-Upgrade-Project

WaterSmart Program

The customer portal that comes with the new water meters being installed throughout the City will help residents better track and understand water usage. The system transmits near real time data and identifies potential leaks and usage that goes over a point set by the customer.

WaterSmart is also a great resource for additional water conservation tips.