As lead communications coordinator, Katherine Munson manages the district’s youth education program and assists in water conservation outreach efforts. Munson holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies concentrating in environmental education and communication from Green Mountain College and a master's degree in global sustainability concentrating on water sustainability from the University of South Florida.

By Katherine Munson, Lead Communications Coordinator

Southwest Florida experienced its driest summer rainy season in 26 years, so it’s a good time to remember that water conservation is more important than ever during the dry season. Leading into the holiday season, water plays a role in everything from food preparation to the cleanup process.

Q: How can I save water when preparing holiday meals?

A: Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator or the microwave instead of running hot water over them. Rinse vegetables and fruits in a sink or pan filled with water instead of under running water. This water can then be reused to water houseplants. A running faucet can use approximately 2 gallons of water per minute.

Q: What can I do to reduce water use when cleaning up from holiday gatherings?

A: When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water and fill the rinsing sink one-third to one-half full. Avoid letting the water run continuously in the rinsing sink. Run your dishwasher only when you have a full load. Standard dishwashers can use 5 gallons of water or more per load.

Q: How can I be water conscious while cooking?

A: Select the proper size pans for cooking. Large pans require more cooking water than may be necessary. Scrape food scraps into the garbage can or a composting bin, rather than rinsing them into the sink’s garbage disposal. A garbage disposal uses approximately 2 gallons of water per minute.

Q: How can I prepare my home to use water wisely if I’m away for the holidays?

A: Your home should be using little to no water while you’re traveling for the holidays. Check for indoor and outdoor leaks before you head out. If you have a permanent in-ground irrigation system, make sure your controller is set to follow local water restrictions or turned to the ‘off’ position if your lawn and landscape are not in need of additional water. Also, confirm that you have a functioning rain shut-off device for your irrigation system to account for natural rainfall that might occur while you’re away.

Q: How can I pass on water savings during the holidays?

A: Water-saving devices are the gifts that keep on giving. Look for WaterSense or ENERGY STAR-labeled products to help friends and family save water and money on utility bills long after the holidays are over. A WaterSense-labeled smart irrigation controller can save an average home up to 15,000 gallons of water a year.

Q: Where can I find more water conservation tips?

A: To find more water conservation tips, visit the district’s website at

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