The ongoing drought in the United States has ties to La Nina, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologists say. La Nina is a weather pattern that consists of an abnormal cooling of the Pacific Ocean that brings dry conditions to the southwestern United States and Mexico. La Nina has been linked to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the dry spells in the Southwest of the 1950s and the drought from 1998-2002. See 5 ways to conserve water in your home.
According to Popular Mechanics, studies Have shown that in households with two or more people, a dishwasher uses less water than washing by hand. National Geographic reports that you'll use up to 35 percent less water by doing a full load of dishes which haven't been pre-rinsed than by washing by hand. You can also save about 15 percent on total dishwasher energy use if you use the air-dry setting or open the dishwasher door.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that depending on the region, homeowners use between 30 and 70 percent of their water outdoors. Experts suggest that 50 percent of the water we use outdoors goes to waste from evaporation, wind or runoff. The Huffington Post suggests that homeowners should identify how much water particular plants need, and time watering so take place in the early morning or late evening in order to prevent evaporation.
The average bath uses between 30 and 50 gallons of water, according to Popular Mechanics, and that's only if you fill the tub once instead of putting more hot water in as the water cools. The EPA suggests that baths can take up to 70 gallons of water. In contrast, showers generally use 10 to 25 gallons of water.
Slow drips may not seem like a big deal, TLC reports, but leaks can add up to 10,000 gallons of water wasted per year. The EPA suggests that if your toilet has a leak, you could be wasting about 200 gallons - translating into more than 50 flushes - per day. Check kitchen and bathroom faucets, toilets and pipes, and keep an eye on your water meter readings.
The EPA suggests turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, saying that it can save up to 8 gallons in one brushing, which may add up to 200 gallons a month. When washing a bike or a car, use a bucket and a sponge instead of a hose. Some car washes may also recycle water, which can help to conserve.