In some places the city water bill can take a bite out of your monthly expenses, and it won’t get any cheaper as city leaders desperately slash budgets and look for revenue to keep from drowning in red ink.
Leigh Jerrard, owner of Los Angeles–based Greywater Corps, says conserving water can translate to big savings, and there are a lot of ways to cut back in the home. Low-flow showerheads can pay for themselves in a matter of months and can save hundreds over their lifetime. Dual-flush toilets, which use different amounts of water depending on what sort of waste you are flushing, and low-flow models, which save over 2 gallons per flush, can help, too. Modern front-loading washing machines use only 10 to 25 gallons of water, compared with water-hogging 50-gallon top-loaders. But for most homeowners, the biggest consumer of water is the yard. So consider getting rid of your lawn and replacing it with hardscaping, wildflowers, or native plantings.
Many states are now encouraging the use of graywater systems, which recapture lightly used water from bathing or laundry and use it a second time for landscape irrigation. The plants don’t mind, and these systems can save a single-family home a whopping 40,000 gallons per year! Jerrard’s company installed a graywater system for a woman who ran a dog-sitting business. After installing a graywater irrigation system to maintain her dog-friendly lawn, her yearly water bills have gone from $800 to $400.