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Water Conservation Tips

Water consumption in the average American home on summer days can spike to 1,000 gallons per day, compared to 260 gallons per day during "off peak" season.
VOORHEES, NNEW JERSEY - For many Americans, Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start to a summer season of backyard barbeques, beach going and weekend road trips. It's also the start of peak season for water consumption in many states. According to the U.S. EPA's WaterSense program, water consumption in the average American home on summer days can spike to 1,000 gallons per day, compared to 260 gallons per day during "off peak" season.

Because increased water consumption can put a strain on local supply and a dent in home budgets, American Water (NYSE: AWK), the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company, has released a "Top Ten" list of consumer tips for conserving water and identifying and preventing leaks.

1.Water your lawn only when it needs it. An easy test to tell if your lawn needs water is to simply walk across the grass. If the lawn springs back you don't need to water, but if you leave footprints, water may be needed. An added benefit of watering less often is that fewer, deep-soaking waterings encourage deep root growth and stronger turf.

2.Water in the early morning. As much as 30 percent of water can be lost to evaporation by watering during midday.

3.Set your lawn mower one notch higher to make your lawn more drought-tolerant.

4.Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your sidewalk, driveway or patio.

5.Forego the hose and wash your car with a bucket and sponge instead. According to EPA WaterSense, a hose left running can waste as much as six gallons per minute while a bucket and sponge uses only a few gallons to do the job.

6.Run dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are full and adjust the water level of your washing machine to match the load size. If you have a water-saver cycle, use it.

7.Keep a bottle of cold tap water in the refrigerator. You'll avoid the cost and environmental impact of bottled water and you'll have cold water available in the summer without running the faucet.

8.A short shower is better than a bath! A full bathtub can require up to 70 gallons of water, while taking a 5-minute shower uses only 10 to 25 gallons.

9.Turning off the tap while you brush your teeth can save 8 gallons per day.

10.Regularly check your toilet, faucets and pipes for leaks and have them fixed promptly. An easy test for toilet leaks from EPA WaterSense: Place a drop of food coloring in the tank. If the color tints the water in the bowl without flushing, there's a leak. Another method is to check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak. Downloadable leak detection kits are also available on American Water's website (www.amwater.com) in the Learning Center.

In addition to regularly providing conservation education to customers, American Water recently created a PSA campaign in conjunction with the Student Conservation Association and the EPA, to educate consumers about wise water use. Currently airing on more than 80 stations across the country, the PSAs and links to useful water conservation resources can be viewed at www.savewatertoday.org.

Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in more than 30 states and parts of Canada.
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