Water Conservation FAQs | Lake Havasu City
Q: What is winter water use averaging, how does that apply to me and what do I need to do?
A: Winter water use averaging is a period beginning in the late fall and ending in the early spring in which the three lowest months of water consumption is averaged together for residences that do not have an irrigation meter. This average is compared to a monthly sewer charge scale that determines that residence's monthly sewer bill for the rest of the year. If you want the lowest monthly sewer charge, your goal should be to use less than 562 cubic feet per month for three of the four months of the winter water averaging period. A key to this is to start conserving when the period actually begins (November-December, depending on where you live), not after you receive your first averaging bill in January. By that time you will be one to one and half months into the averaging period. For specific details of the 2012-2013 averaging period, please see that section on this website.
Q: How can I tell how much water I am using between receiving my water bills?
A: Every single family residence has a water service meter in their front yard - the black box in the ground near the street. This meter can be read anytime to know your consumption; however, you will need to know some past meter reading volume or number such as from your latest water bill. A PowerPoint presentation is included in this website to show how to read your meter.
Q: What can I do inside my home to help save water?
A: There are a lot of answers to this question and there are many tips given on this topic on this website. In short though, your toilet, if it is not a low-flow toilet (2.8 gallons per flush or lower), is one of the largest water uses in the home and should be replaced. Other large water using devices are conventional clothes washers, water softeners and water fixtures that do not have flow restriction components. The last is easily fixed as there are low-cost, ring-like restrictors sold at hardware stores that can fit inside a shower head and kitchen or bathroom faucet heads. Washing full loads in the washing machine saves on water and just make sure the water softener is operating properly as sometimes they can malfunction or spring leaks. Checking for leaks (and repairing those found) at all water related parts of the home is a big plus to water savings.
Q: What can I do outside the home to help save water?
A: Again there are many answers presented on this website. If you have a significant amount of landscaping to irrigate, which is the largest use of water at many homes, then investing in a good automatically controlled irrigation system is very important. Adjusting irrigation times throughout the year and not over watering at any time is key. If you have a swimming pool, minimizing the evaporation from the pool is very helpful. Also make sure the pool automatic fill valve (if you have one) is working properly (they can stick open adding more water than you need in the pool or they may not open causing pool water levels to lower, which can change the pool water chemistry in a negative way).
Q: I have an evaporative cooler. Can I use the drain water to water my plants?
A: Yes, however, it is better to use a dump pump in your evaporative cooler than let the water continuously drain. A dump pump empties the evaporative cooler water once every 12 hours and is not as salty, which is better for the plants.
Q: The City keeps asking us to conserve water. What is the City doing for water conservation?
A: The City has been and continues to implement various water conservation measures and strategies for both normal supply periods and during water shortages, if and when they occur. There is a summary of water conservation efforts the City has taken over the years on this website under the City column; Summary of Lake Havasu City's Water Conservation Measures
Q: How much water does Lake Havasu City use each year?
A: The amount varies and has been declining over the past nine years. In 2011, the 12,677 acre-feet of Colorado River water was diverted from wells next to Lake Havasu. This is equivalent to about 215 gallons/person/day. This amount would go up if the City did not reuse some of its treated wastewater for irrigation. See: Water Consumption discussion on this website for more information.
Q: I keep hearing that our region has been in a drought for more than a decade. Why doesn't the lake level in Lake Havasu change much from year to year? Lake Mead's level has certainly decreased over that time.
A: Lake Havasu's water level can vary from about 444 to 450 feet above sea level (asl) (though it briefly got down to 443.48 feet asl in February 1980). The reason the lake is not allowed to get lower is due to the elevation of the water intake pipelines for the Metropolitan Water District. If the water level is higher than 450 feet asl, then there are issues with the Parker Dam and boat docks in certain places.
Q: Draining my pool seems wasteful, what can I do besides emptying the water into the street or wash?
A: There are new pool service technologies, including reverse osmosis, that will clean calcium and other contaminants from the water and recycle the water back into the pool. If the pool must be drained, try discharging the water into your sewer cleanout. This water will be treated along with other wastewater and can be reused for irrigation. If you plan to discharge your pool water into your sewer cleanout, please first call the Wastewater Division at 855-3999 (7:00am - 4:00pm Monday through Friday) to let them know. If too many pools are drained at the same time, this can overwhelm a treatment plant.
Q: Since Lake Havasu City lies in one of the most extreme desert environments in the United States, does the City have permanent water restrictions?
A: No; Current City Code states water restrictions may only be imposed by the City Council in the event there is a declared Colorado River water shortage by the Secretary of the Interior. The restrictions are only one of several strategies that the City Council has at its disposal to react to shortages (for more information please see the 2010 Water Conservation Plan on this website.
Q: What is gray water and how could it be used in an existing home?
A: Graywater is wastewater that originates from residential clothes washers, bathtubs, showers, and sinks, but does not include wastewater from kitchen sinks, dishwashers and toilets. Gray water can be reused to water plants and may even fertilize the plants if nutrients such as phosphorus or nitrogen are present. Gray water systems can be fairly simple, involving hoses and a container to hold the water or they can be included in the construction of a new home or addition. The following website covers Arizona State law on gray water systems. Please click here.
Q: What is water harvesting and how could I apply that to my water use at home?
A: Water harvesting is the act of collecting rainfall runoff and either storing it or redirecting it for on-site beneficial use. At home, rain water is collected from the roof into containers. This water can then be reused to water plants sometime later. Larger properties (commercial/government) may develop a way (there are many variations on this) to keep the rainwater on the property by redirecting or capturing the water and allowing it to drain into the soil containing plants. More can be found on rainwater harvesting on this website.
Q: How can I save water when irrigating my landscape?
A: There are several steps to take to save when landscape irrigating. An automatic timer that can set the start time and duration of each irrigation valve station is a must. This timer can and should be adjusted throughout the year to reflect the landscape watering demand. Plants in the winter need far less water because they go dormant. A smart timer, one that can tell if it has just rained, will keep the system from turning on, saving water. Also check for pipeline and valve leaks and bubbler/drip condition. Make sure the system is not over watering by checking for runoff near the site of intended use. Trees need occasional deep watering (more time) and small scrubs and grass can be watered more frequently, but less time for each application.
Q: What types of plants are recommended for landscaping around homes in this area.
A: Obviously, in a hot and dry desert environment, lush tropical or temperate climate plants may not do well in the many days of 110+ heat of the summer and they require a lot of water. Drought tolerant plants (with native plants being the most ideal) that can stand the heat do well in this area.
Q: Why is my water cloudy?
A: Typically milky, cloudy, water is the result of air in the water distribution system. The cloudiness are millions of tiny air bubbles that disappear in a matter of 2 Ð 3 minutes. As the bubbles surface to the top, the water becomes clear.
Q: Why is the cold water coming out hot or warm?
A: This is a very common problem in the summer months, water pipes acclimate to the temperature around them so when our temperatures get so high in the summer, the water pipes will absorb heat and the temperature of the water also increases.
Q: What is my water pressure, and how do I check it?
A: Water pressure varies through out the City. Check pressure at the hose bib, after the Pressure Regulator, 50 lbs to 55 lbs is recommended. When water pressure is too high and the Pressure Regulator does not reduce the high pressure, the regulator needs to be replaced. High water pressure will increase water usage and could damage in-house plumbing and appliances.
Q: Does my Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) System waste water?
A: Reverse Osmosis water treatment systems can use up to 5 gallons for every gallon of purified water they produce.
Q: What is the best way to clean sidewalks, driveways and pavements?
A: Get out the broom and sweep. If you must hose down the driveway, or patio be sure to attach a shut off hose nozzle.
Q: How do I check my pool for a leak.
A: Place a bucket on the top step of the pool and fill it with water to the pool's water level. After a day, if the water level in the pool is lower than the bucket, there probably is a leak in the pool structure or plumbing system. To further detect whether the cause is the structure or the plumbing system, measure the water loss with the pump running for 24 hours and again with the pump off. If more water is lost when the pump is running, the plumbing is probably the cause.
Q: How do I check toilets for leaks?
A: Leaking toilets cause more water waste than any other fixture in the home. Most people will say their toilet does not leak. There is one sure way to find out. Put some food dye in the tank, and then leave for 15 minutes. When you return, look into your bowl to see if there is color present from the food dye, and check if you can hear or see water running in your bowl. If you observe this, it is time for a new flapper.
Q: What is the hardness of the water that is supplied to our house?
A: The typical water hardness in Lake Havasu City's water supply is 325 parts per million (ppm). This question is usually asked when someone has a new water softener and in reality, the total dissolved solid concentration is important. The total dissolved solid concentration ranges between 700 and 800 ppm. Water softeners in the city are usually set at 19-20 grains.
Q: I received a high water use bill from the City, but I know I did not intentionally use this much water. I must have a leak. Who do I call to adjust my water bill and does the City have a program to help citizens find leaks?
A: If you have an errant high water bill, call (453-4146) or go to Customer Service at City Hall to have them look into your situation. They will be able to determine whether you qualify for a one-time forgiveness of the excess water volume, that is water metered significantly higher than your averaged water use history. Lake Havasu City does provide a first time free home water audit service, which includes trying to locate any hidden leaks or faulty water fixtures. Call for the Water Conservation Officer at 855-2618.
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