August 15 , 2008
Governor, DNR continues to urge water conservation
Following his tour beginning the week of August 11 of Pickens County in the state's most severely drought-stricken region, Governor Mark Sanford again urged citizens to take water conservation measures upon themselves and voluntarily conserve water in advance of any state requirement.
"Whether or not you're being impacted right now with any restrictions, it's important for people to know that this drought situation is very real and that folks in the Upstate, particularly farmers, are hurting right now," Gov. Sanford said. "To that end, I'd again urge all South Carolinians - particularly those in the Upstate - to take individual initiative to conserve water. I can't emphasize enough the importance of doing so now if we want to avoid restrictions later on."
On August 13th, the governor asked that all but two of South Carolina's counties be declared federal disaster areas. Gov. Sanford noted in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer that more than 30 percent of this year's harvest of corn, hay and pasture crops have already been lost because of the drought.
The state Drought Response Committee has also asked residents in the 14-county extreme drought area to voluntarily conserve water, and some water systems imposed mandatory restrictions on certain water usage.
DNR offers these tips for water conservation in and around your home.
CONSERVE WATER IN THE HOUSE:
- Turn off water while brushing teeth and shaving.
- Take shorter showers.
- Install a water-efficient showerhead (2.5 gallons or less per minute).
- Use less water in the bathtub. Filling the tub uses about 50 gallons of water. Try bathing in about 10 gallons. Plug the tub when you shower to see how much water is just going down the drain.
- Wash only full loads of dishes in dishwasher. A dishwasher uses about 14 gallons of water per load.
- When you buy a new toilet, purchase a low flow model (1.6 gallons or less per flush).
- Check your toilet for "silent" leaks by placing a little food coloring in the tank and seeing if it leaks into the bowl.
- Avoid using the toilet as a trash basket for facial tissues and similar items. Each flush uses 5 to 7 gallons of water.
- Reduce the use of garbage disposals, which use as much as 2 gallons of water per minute, by peeling vegetables, eggs and other foods on newspapers. Wrap the food waste and dispose of it with the trash. Or, use food waste in a garden compost pile.
- Keep a gallon of drinking water in the refrigerator rather than running the tap for cold water.
- Run your washing machine with a full load of clothes. Match your washer’s load selector to each load size. Wash with warm water instead of hot, rinse with cold water instead of warm. Wash with cold water when you can. (When possible) hang your wash out to dry.
- Buy an energy-saving washing machine. Buy an Energy Star model and save water and electricity.
- Use a front-loading washing machine. The newest innovation in washers is the front-loading washing machine. These save even more water and electricity.
- Teach children to turn water faucets off tightly after use.
CONSERVE WATER OUTSIDE THE HOUSE:
- Water yards wisely. Remember that landscaping is most likely your number one user of water. Your lawn and plants benefit most from slow, thorough and infrequent watering. Minimize evaporation by watering in the early morning or evening.
- Use drought-tolerant plants and grasses for landscaping and reduce grass-covered areas.
- Cut your grass at least three inches high to shade the roots, making it more drought-tolerant; keep your mower sharp for the healthiest grass.
- Mulch to retain water. Spread leaves, lawn clippings, or landscaping tarps around plants. Mulching also controls weeds that compete with garden plants for water.
- Install a drip-irrigation water system (with a timer is even better) for valuable plants.
- Try to water only in the evening or very early morning to minimize evaporation.
- If you use porous pavement (gravel is a good example) instead of asphalt for driveways and walkways, the rain can recharge groundwater supplies instead of running off and contributing to erosion.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean off your driveway or sidewalk.
- Wash your car less often or wash it at a car wash where they clean and recycle the water. If you do wash your car at home, use a bucket of soapy water rather than running the hose. Keep a spring-loaded nozzle on the hose.
DNR protects and manages South Carolina's natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state's natural resources and its people.