TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Since the mid-90s, Tucson Water users have managed to cut their home water use by 32.2%, bringing the average daily water used by Tucson residents lower than the national average.
That’s a positive thing for Tucson as water supplies dwindle in the west. The City of Tucson has shared that it’s “the most water resilient city in the desert southwest,” as a result of a diversified water supply and incentives that encourage residents to conserve, among other things.
You may already be actively engaged in water-saving techniques in your home, but if you’re looking for some tips to getting started on a water conservation journey, here are five ideas that can help you use less of this precious resource and save money on your water bill.
Xeriscaping is the practice of landscaping around a home using native drought-tolerant plants that use less water. This landscaping technique has the added benefit of encouraging pollinators like butterflies, and helping sustain the unique biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert region.
As part of the city’s conservation efforts, xeriscaping is actually written into city code: Since February 1991, the City of Tucson requires new multifamily, commercial and industrial developments to use approved drought-tolerant plants and landscape in a way that takes advantage of storm runoff.
If you’re interested in getting started with xeriscaping on your property, there are number of resources to help you plan.
Get a free water conservation kit
Steps to conserve water at home can be as simple as reducing shower time to five minutes or installing hardware to prevent you from wasting water.
Tucson Water is offering customers these materials for free:
- Low-flow showerhead, which mixes air into the water stream, reducing consumption
- 5-minute shower timer, which can help children, teens and adults keep showers short
- Toilet tank bag, which displaces water in the tank. This helps the toilet use less water with every flush
- Toilet leak detection dye tablets, which can help you figure out if your tank flapper needs replacing
- Bathroom faucet aerator, which will conserve water in a similar way to a low-flow showerhead
Sign up for your free kit at this website. The website also contains videos to help install the kit components.
Install a grey water system
According to the City of Tucson’s website, 31% of wastewater homes—generated by clothes washers, faucets and showers—can be re-used as grey water for watering landscape plants.
Tucson Water offers a program that will reimburse 50% of qualifying costs, up to $1000, for permanent in-home grey water installation systems. Applicants must attend a Grey Water Rebate Workshop and contact the City of Tucson Planning Department to find out if a permit is necessary.
Visit the Tucson Water website for application materials. Call (520) 791-4331, or email [email protected] for more information.
“Rainwater is such an amazing resource, and so why let it run away down the street? Capture it and use it for the plants you want,” says Tucson Water Harvesters Member Sara Birtalan.
Those interested in getting started may be eligible for rebates from Tucson Water if they:
- are Tucson Water customers with active service
- attend an approved Rainwater Harvesting Incentives Program Workshop
Information about the rebate program are available at the Tucson Water website.
Low Income residents could also qualify for an additional harvesting grant/loan program.
The City of Tucson, Pima County and the University of Arizona offer a number of workshops and demonstration sites to get started.
Calculate your water use!
Can’t commit right now to making big changes to your home? Even making a small effort to track your home water use can make an impact when it comes to water conservation.
You can find your water footprint using this online calculator. The site also contains tips and teaching tools that help you better understand how use of tap water is only one measure of your water use. Monitoring activities such as the food you eat to the products you buy can also help conserve water.
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Tucsonans use less water at home than the daily national average
Anne Simmons is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. Anne got her start in television while still a student at the University of Arizona. Before joining KGUN, she managed multiple public access television stations in the Bay Area and has worked as a video producer in the non-profit sector. Share your story ideas and important issues with Anne by emailing [email protected] or by connecting on Instagram or LinkedIn.