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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
11:58 AM Wed, Sept. 19th

Editorial: Saving water is a year-round responsibility

A monsoon storm brings rain and lightning to Prescott Valley on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (Courtesy photo by Taylor Dalton)

A monsoon storm brings rain and lightning to Prescott Valley on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (Courtesy photo by Taylor Dalton)

We’re in a drought. Though the area is currently receiving precipitation from monsoons, the rainfall will not be enough to undo our water shortage.

Every drop of water is precious.

Yet, through the rainfall, we have spied multiple instances of homes, businesses and local government (parks, grassy areas in front of municipal buildings) sprinklers watering away on schedule — during pouring storms.

It is not all about what we do outside though. Our indoor habits should reflect responsible water use as well.

Following are seven things each of us can do to save water:

• Don’t run and waste. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth; wet the brush, rise when done. The same goes for shaving or washing the dishes. You can save as much as 8 gallons per day, according to multiple websites. As for showering, we’re not suggesting a bucket for that; however, while the shower is warming up catch cold water in a bucket for use elsewhere • in the toilet, watering plants, rinsing, etc. A simple bucket in the shower can catch more than 2 gallons of water in minutes. And, keep the shower time shorter rather than longer.

• Toilets are notorious for wasting water. Low-flow versions — even those with separate knobs for No. 1 and No. 2 — save gallons of water. This is not all about new construction needing to install them; current homeowners should consider switching out their old ones.

• Replace showerheads and aerators. The simple task of changing from a regular showerhead to a low-flow version can save more than 1,000 gallons of water a year.

• Turn off outdoor water timers during seasonal rainfall, or at least reduce the frequency you water plants. Just be sure to turn the system back on.

• When washing your vehicle, use a sprayer that shuts off on the end of the hose – or wash from a bucket. Do not leave the hose on and running.

• Check for leaks. An easy fix can help save water and money.

• Rainwater harvesting. These can be a barrel catching what comes from a home’s gutters, or more complex catchment systems. The water can be stored and used later for livestock or gardens.

Can you think of any other clever, unique or unusual water-saving measures?

The Prescott area is in a 25-year drought. Annual rainfall totals were in the high teens — 16, 17, 18 inches per year. But in recent years they have been coming in between 11 and 15 inches. Prior to this monsoon cycle, the Prescott area had received less than 2 inches of precipitation in 2018. Year-to-date, we’re catching up — now with 5.46 inches; normal is more than 6 inches.

The lost rainfall, especially at the right time of year, can mean a big difference — maybe even when fire restrictions are enacted or fire danger being extreme, instead of high.

This is a shared responsibility — every day of the year.

And, for those homeowners, businesses and governments watering during a rain storm — stop it. Do your part too.