Water conservation: customers encouraged to stop outdoor water use during the upcoming winter season

November 6, 2018

Turning off sprinklers can save customers money and help find leaks

Cold nights and cooler days will allow customers to save water – and money – this fall and winter. Customers are encouraged to stop their outdoor watering now.

“Fall brings much color and also more precipitation to the region, from morning dew and rainfall to snow at higher elevations,” said Greg Jones, assistant general manager of NID. “But every drop truly counts year-round. Customers who avoid outdoor watering are definitely doing their part to conserve water and help the environment – and their neighbors in the region.”

Yards need much less water with the cooler weather and during the rainy season. If you must water outdoors, please don’t turn on the sprinklers during or within 48 hours after a rainstorm.

About 30- to 60 percent of residential water use is for the yard in California, according to Save Our Water. NID residential customers could save 55 to more than 100 gallons per day by stopping outdoor watering in the winter.

Winter is also the best time to check for leaks, said Kaycee Strong, water efficiency technician for NID.

Customers can check their water meters and look for either the spinning red dial or the number moving on the right side that indicates water is flowing through the meter. Write down all of the numbers and don’t use water – from the ice-cube maker to the sprinklers or swimming pool – for 30 to 60 minutes. Then, check the numbers on the meter. If they are different, you have a leak.

Homeowners should turn off the water at the shut off valve. If water continues to flow through the water meter, the leak is located between the meter and the shut-off valve. If the water meter is not moving, the leak is beyond the shut-off valve.

Another excellent way to conserve water is to wrap – also known as “winterizing” – bare outdoor pipes, which are more likely to freeze in cold weather and later burst as they thaw. Wrapping pipes is a low-cost project, especially compared to the price of fixing damaged pipes. Plus, burst or cracked pipes will lose a lot of water and are bad for the environment and your wallet.

Several other ways to be more water-wise in the winter include having a rain barrel or large bucket to catch rainfall, and then use the water for indoor and outdoor plants. A bucket that catches cold water in the shower before the hot water arrives is another smart move.

Some other water-saving tips for this winter – and year-round:

  • Five-minute showers can save about 12 gallons per shower
  • Turn off the faucet when you are brushing your teeth or shaving. The practice saves about 10 gallons per person daily
  • Only wash clothes when you have a full load, saving 15 to 45 gallons per load, depending on the washer. The same goes for the dishwasher, which can save up to 15 gallons per load
  • Customers should also check for and fix leaks in faucets, pipes and toilets. NID has an easy-to-use tablet that can check for leaky toilets. The free tablets are available in the main lobby at NID, 1036 W. Main Street in Grass Valley.