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DCL

Water is a precious commodity, and Americans and Canadians use more water per capita than people in any other part of the world. A lot of the water we use is wasted, but you can save a lot of water between simple adjustments and water-saving fixtures and appliances.

Here are just some of the ways you can save water at home:

Kitchen

- Don't rinse dishes before loading them in the dishwasher--just scrape them and let your dishwasher do the work it was designed to do.

- Place a jug of water in the refrigerator for cold drinking water rather than letting the water run until it's cold.

- When washing dishes by hand, fill the basin rather than leaving the tap on and washing dishes under a steady flow of water.

Bathroom

- Install dual-flush toilets or the newer 1-gallon models. You'll recoup your costs in water savings more quickly than you think.

- Replace your old shower head with a low-flow fixture.

- Limit showers to 10 minutes. - Test your toilets to find out if they're leaking, and if they are, make any necessary repairs. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water daily. - Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth and shaving, and you'll save more than 200 gallons of water each month. - Likewise, if possible, turn the tap off while lathering when you're washing your hands, and you'll save nearly a gallon of water with each hand-washing. Laundry Room - Invest in a high-efficiency washing machine. They use less than half the water of many traditional models. - Presoak heavily soiled clothing in a basin rather than using the heavy-duty cycle. - Wash only full loads of laundry; the same amount of water is used whether the load is full or half full. Outdoors - Regularly check any irrigation systems and garden hoses for leaks. - Water your lawn less. Most lawns only need to be water twice a week in the summer. - Collect rainwater for watering your garden. Saving water is often about little changes you can make to your routine. Not only will those little changes conserve water, they'll save you money.