Wise Water Use
Indoor & Outdoor Wise Water Use Tips
First and foremost, MWA customers are encouraged to find and fix household leaks. Additionally, we encourage customers to employ the following habits:
- Turn off the tap while shaving or brushing teeth.
- Remember that showers use considerably less water than baths, if you keep them within a reasonable length.
- DO NOT use the toilet as a wastebasket; only place biodegradable tissue paper (NO dental floss, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, cotton balls, etc.) down the toilet.
- Plug up the sinks for washing and rinsing dishes, rather than let the water run continuously.
- Only use the dishwasher to wash a full load, and remember to scrape dishes clean before placing them in the dishwasher to prevent grease from entering your drain.
- Keep a pitcher of drinking water cool in the refrigerator for refreshment. (After all, the MWA has the best tasting drinking water in North America, as judged in 2009 by the American Water Works Association.)
- Wash only full loads of laundry (like full loads in the dishwasher), or at least ensure the water level matches the size of the load you are washing.
- Create a water-smart landscape (research “xeriscape” for more information) and know when to water and how much water that landscape needs.
- Check your irrigation system to make sure it’s working properly and efficiently. Also, consider WaterSense labeled sprinkler controls and other fixtures for the outdoors.
- Sweep or blow off driveways, sidewalks, and walkways, rather than using the hose to clean them off.
- Wash the car with a bucket and an on-off nozzle on your hose, rather than letting the water run continuously.
- If you have a pool, cover it when not in use to prevent extensive evaporation.
Wise water use can be aided by proper landscaping. Xeriscaping is a term used to describe a particular landscaping method of design with water conservation in mind.
The Macon Water Authority encourages wise water use through xeriscaping and related landscaping practices. The following are some general landscaping guidelines and suggestions:
- Consider water use before the design of your outdoor areas.
- Enhance soil by creating a landscape that drains quickly and stores water.
- Use native and drought-tolerant plants.
- Minimize the use of grass and ground cover when possible.
- Group plants according to watering needs, a practice referred to as hydro-zoning.
- Use mulch in plant beds and concentrate it around plants to hold in moisture.
- Consider alternative or supplemental sources of irrigation, such as rain barrels.
- Avoid cutting grass too short and the overuse of fertilizers.
WaterSmart is a statewide educational program that teaches Georgians how to conserve water both indoors and outdoors, especially during the hot summer months. Because the MWA continuously encourages customers to practice wise water use, we were one of six pilot communities to participate in the statewide WaterSmart campaign, beginning in the spring of 2007.
One of the important guidelines of WaterSmart is to water landscapes overnight or in the morning between the hours of 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. to garner the most effective results and reduce evaporation.
Find & Fix Household Leaks
Did you know your family can waste an average of 11,000 gallons of water every year due to sources you may not even notice, such as running toilets, dripping faucets, leaking sprinkler systems, or other sources of household leaks?
To save valuable drinking water and money on your monthly water bill, consider the following tips for finding and fixing leaks at your home or business.
Check your latest water bill to determine your water usage (volume). If a family of four uses more than 12,000 gallons, there may be significant leaks that need to be located. To diagnose potential leaks, check your water meter during a two-hour period when no water is being used in the house. You can also turn your water off at the main valve. Take a reading before and after that two-hour period of no use. If your meter has changed at all, you probably have a leak.
Identify toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the toilet bowl after about 15 minutes, you have a leak. Be sure to flush the tank afterward to prevent your toilet from being stained by the food coloring.
A common reason for toilet leaks is due to an old or worn-out toilet flapper, which can be replaced cheaply and easily. If that doesn’t do the trick, consult your local home improvement retailer for some free diagnostics. Also, remember that WaterSense or similar energy-smart fixtures and appliances can save water and more than pay for themselves in the long run.
Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings for any water on the outside of the pipe to check for surface leaks. Replace gaskets and pipe fittings as needed.
Leaky showerheads can be fixed easily by making sure there is a tight connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem. Use pipe tape if needed. You may also want to check the “O” ring inside the showerhead and replace it if needed.
Remember those MWA winterization tips that mentioned the need to drain your sprinkler systems and garden hoses prior to winter freezes? Well, the results of not doing so can show up in the spring when you want to put that sprinkler system and garden hose back into use.
Before using your sprinkler system for the first time during warmer weather, check to make sure nothing was damaged from a freeze during the winter. You should be able to see if sprinkler heads are operating properly. If they are not, seek repairs of damaged parts before continuing use. Also, check garden hoses for leaks at the connections to the spigot and use pipe tape if needed to solve the problem of a loose connection.
Water Efficiency and Possible Leak Checklist
Please note that this list does not include all possible locations for leaks and is provided as a guide to help customers quickly identify possible plumbing issues on their property.
- Running constantly or filling up unexpectedly
Shower Heads/Bathtub/Sink Fixtures
- Drips or loose water seals
Faucets (Indoor & Outdoor)
- Drips or loose water seals
Crawl Space/Damp Walls
- Unexplained dampness or visible running water
- Refrigerator water line
- Ice makers
- Washing machine
- Hot water heater
- Drip Hoses
- Automatic/ manual
- Noticeable breaks or wet ground
- Pool/ pool house/ spa
- Mother-in-law Suite
- Water fountain
- Automatic watering bowl
- Water filtration system
Georgia Water Stewardship Act
As a result of the Georgia Water Stewardship Act becoming effective on June 2, 2010, MWA customers have been able to enjoy daily watering of their landscapes. For customers of the Macon Water Authority, their outdoor water use also benefits from proper long-term planning by the MWA Board Members and Staff, who continue to work to make sure the Authority and its customers have a safe and plentiful drinking water supply.
The Macon Water Authority benefits from a 589-acre drinking water reservoir – Javors Lucas Lake – which has approximately 5.8 billion gallons of raw water storage for producing clean, safe drinking water in the Authority’s award-winning Frank C. Amerson, Jr. Water Treatment Facility.