Below are home maintenance strategies and everyday household practices to help you conserve water. By making just a few small changes, you can save a significant amount of water, which will help you save money and preserve water supplies for current and future generations.
Inside the House
- Fix Leaks – You can significantly reduce water use by simply repairing leaks in fixtures (faucets and showerheads), pipes, and toilets. A leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons per day. That would be like flushing your toilet more than 50 times for no reason!
- If your water heater tank leaks, you may need a new water heater.
Lawn, Garden, and Outdoors
Lawn and Garden
- Avoid over-watering your lawn or garden. Using moisture sensors to determine watering needs is a better strategy than using a fixed schedule or estimating watering needs based on rainfall. In addition to wasting water, over-watering can increase leaching of fertilizers into groundwater, and can harm your lawn and plants.
- Water new trees and shrubs longer and less frequently than shallow-rooted plants, which require smaller amounts of water more often. Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems for trees and shrubs.
- Position automatic sprinklers to water the lawn and garden only-not the street or sidewalk.
- Water your lawn or garden during the coolest part of the day (early morning is best). Watering when it’s hot and sunny is wasteful because most of the water evaporates before the plants have time to absorb it. Also avoid watering on windy days.
- When using a hose, control the flow with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
- Minimize or eliminate chemical fertilizing, which artificially promotes new growth that will need additional watering.
- Raise your lawn mower cutting height – longer grass blades help shade each other, reduce evaporation, and inhibit weed growth.
- When outdoor use of city or well water is restricted during a drought, use the leftover water from the bath or sink on plants or the garden. Don’t use water that contains bleach, automatic-dishwashing detergent, fabric softener, or other chemicals.
- Incorporate compost into the soil to help improve water absorption and retention.
- Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants to reduce evaporation from the soil surface and to cut down on weed growth.
Other Outdoor Uses
- Wash your bike or car with a bucket and sponge instead of a hose to save water. A hose can waste 6 gallons per minute if you leave it running, but using a bucket and sponge only uses a few gallons. Alternatively, consider using a commercial car wash that recycles its water, rather than letting it run off into sewer drains.
- Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation when a pool is not being used. Consider purchasing a new water-saving swimming pool filter.
- Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and steps rather than hosing them off.
- Do not let water run unnecessarily. Letting your faucet run for five minutes while shaving or brushing teeth uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours, and uses up to 8 gallons of water a day!
- Take short showers instead of tub baths. A shower only uses 10 to 25 gallons, while a bath takes up to 70 gallons! If you do take a bath, be sure to plug the drain right away and adjust the temperature as you fill the tub.
Kitchen and Laundry
- Wash only full loads of laundry or dishes, and select the appropriate water level or load size option on the washing machine or dishwasher.
- Do not use water to defrost frozen foods; thaw foods in the refrigerator overnight.
- Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
- Compost food waste instead of using the garbage disposal or throwing it in the trash.
- Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.