Using less water feels good. With many parts of the country suffering from drought, being careful with water makes sense. It's part of an overall attitude of being conscientious and less wasteful. Plus, there's the bonus of a lower utilities bill. Who couldn't use that?

There are several easy ways to use less water in your household -most require little sacrifice on your part. Here are a few:

Embrace the darkness

Water your lawn in the early morning or evening when it's cooler. This lessens the chance of evaporation and makes watering more effective since the grass is better able to absorb moisture during those times.

Double dip

Use a two-sink method for hand washing dishes -one for washing, one for rinsing -instead of running a stream of hot water the entire time.

Fish food

When changing the water in fish tanks, use the water for your houseplants. It's full of nutrients, too.

Color conscious

Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If the color seeps into the bowl, there is a leak. Undiscovered leaks can waste gallons of water.

A full body clean

Save time and water by washing your face and brushing your teeth while in the shower.

Let Mother Nature help

Remember to shut off the automatic timer on your yard sprinklers when it rains.

Fast and furious

Reducing a shower by one minute saves over 100 gallons per month.

Fill 'er up!

 Only run full loads with dishwasher and washing machine.

Compost in the kitchen

Garbage disposals use a lot of water to run properly. Put items in the trash when it makes sense, and consider composting other food waste.

Water-friendly remodels

  • Install or replace shower heads with low-flow models, and put aerators on faucets.

  • Install or replace toilets with modern versions that use less water when flushing.

  • Be aware that automatic sprinkler systems are the biggest single water user for households -about 60 percent of total water use.

  • Look for water-saving models when replacing dishwashers and washing machines.

  • Consider landscaping that requires less water.

Kids can help save water, too. You'll be a lot more successful if the whole family is on board. Make it a game and offer a reward if the water bill shows a reduction in usage the next month. You'll feel good and so will the environment.

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