Reduce Your Water Use

July 21, 2010 View all articles in General

Water is one of our most precious resources. It is used for nearly everything. And although water seems limitless, it is not. Fortunately, there are many simple ways you can cut down on your water use and save money in the process.



    Faucet and Clear 
  • Buy aerators for your faucets to reduce the amount of water they release by up to half.
  • Check to see how much water your toilet uses. Older toilets use up to 7 gallons per flush, while newer ones use 1.6 or .9 gallons per flush. You could also place a brick or other displacement device in the tank to reduce the water used each flush.
  • Get a low-flow showerhead if your current shower fills a 1-gallon bucket within 20 seconds.
  • Get an Energy Star rated washing machine to save on water and energy.
  • Put shut-off nozzles on your hose when you use it.
  • Make sure your freezer/refrigerator use air to cool the food, not water.



  • Pour food coloring into the toilet tank, if some goes into the toilet bowl within 30 minutes without flushing, there's a leak.
  • Look at your water meter and then go two hours without using any water. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there's a leak.
  • Water leaks can cost you up to 90 gallons a day.
  • Don't stop after you've searched the house, check the outside for leaks too.



  • Reuse 
the spare ice cubes you have Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water. Use this to water plants around the house.
  • If you spill ice, or have extra in a glass, place it in a potted plant to slowly water it.
  • Use water from cooking or steaming food to water plants (be sure to let it cool, as boiling water will kill plants).
  • Place rain gutters so they deposit directly onto plants, or place buckets under them so you can use the rainwater to water plants.
  • Old water from your pet bowls can also be used to water plants.
  • Wash your pets on the grass that needs water the most.



Turn off the Faucet

  • When shaving, brushing teeth, combing hair, and all other bathroom activities, be sure to shut off the faucet when you're not using it.
  • Fill one side of the sink with washing water and the other with rinsing water, and wash dishes with the faucet off.
  • Teach children to turn faucets tightly to avoid drops. (1 drop per second equals 2,700 gallons per year.)



  • Toss trimmings and peeling from fruits and vegetables into the compost to avoid using the garbage disposal.
  • Read Greening Your Lawn to see how you can reduce outside water usage.
  • Have a plumber reroute gray water to gardens. Be sure to check if this is legal in your area, if not, get a group started to change that.
  • Placing mulch around plants can keep the water from spreading away from the plants, while also maintaining moisture longer.
  • Plant plants that require less water than others.
  • Keep your mind on the hose! A hose can discharge up to 10 gallons per minute, so if you forget it for even 10 minutes, that's 100 gallons wasted and maybe a dead lawn as well (more plants die from overwatering than from under watering).
  • If you must use a fountain in your yard, use one that flows downward instead of upward, as those lose more water to evaporation.
  • Use drip irrigation for shrubs; they sprinkle small amounts of water directly to the roots.
  • Only use one glass when drinking your daily amount of water in order to cut down on dirty dishes.
  • Plug the bathtub before starting the water and adjust the temperature as it fills.
  • You don't need 20 minutes in the shower to get clean. Take 5 minutes, or less, to shower. Install Pool Covers
  • Keep a water pitcher in the fridge to keep water cold and out of the drain.
  • Use a broom to clean driveways, not a hose.
  • Install covers for pools to reduce evaporation.


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