25 Ways to Conserve Water
Water conservation inside the home...
1. Check faucets and pipes for leaks
If your faucet is dripping at a rate of one drop per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 gallons per year.
2. Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket
Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash, five to seven gallons of water is wasted.
3. Check your toilets for leaks
Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.
4. Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators
Inexpensive water-saving, low-flow shower heads or restrictors are easy for the homeowner to install. "Low-flow" means it uses less than 2.5 gallons per minute.
Also, all household faucets should be fit with aerators. This single best home water conservation method is also the cheapest!
5. Put plastic bottles or float booster in your toilet tank
To cut down on water waste, put an inch or two of sand or pebbles inside each of two plastic bottles to weigh them down. Fill the bottles with water, screw the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. Or, buy an inexpensive tank bank or float booster.This may save ten or more gallons of water per day.
6. Insulate your water pipes.
It's easy and inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.
7. Take shorter showers.
One way to cut down on water use is to turn off the shower after soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse. Or, reduce your total time showering to 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
8. Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush
There is no need to keep the water running while brushing your teeth. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.
9. Rinse your razor in the sink
Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water. This will rinse your razor just as well as running water, with far less waste of water.
10. Use your dishwasher and clothes washer for only full loads
Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation. A small or partial load uses the same amount of water.
11. Scrape instead of pre-rinsing.
Save up to 20 gallons of water by scraping food off your dishes instead of pre-rinsing.
12. Minimize use of kitchen sink garbage disposal units
In-sink 'garburators' require lots of water to operate properly, and also add considerably to the volume of solids in a septic tank which can lead to maintenance problems. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste.
13. When washing dishes by hand, don't leave the water running for rinsing
If your have a double-basin, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you have a single-basin sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a panful of hot water. Dual- swivel aerators are available to make this easier. If using a dishwasher, there is usually no need to pre-rinse the dishes.
14. Don't let the faucet run while you clean vegetables
Just rinse them in a stoppered sink or a pan of clean water. Use a dual- swivel aerators.
15. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge.
Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful. Store drinking water in the fridge in a drinking bottle.
Water conservation in the yard and garden...
16. Plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs and plants
If you are planting a new lawn, or overseeding an existing lawn, use drought-resistant grasses. Many beautiful shrubs and plants thrive with far less watering than other species. Replace herbaceous perennial borders with native plants. Native plants will use less water and be more resistant to local plant diseases. Consider applying the principles of xeriscape for a low-maintenance, drought resistant yard.
Plant slopes with plants that will retain water and help reduce runoff.
Group plants according to their watering needs.
17. Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants
Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. Adding 2 - 4 inches of organic material such as compost or bark mulch will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture. Press the mulch down around the dripline of each plant to form a slight depression which will prevent or minimize water runoff.
18. Don't water the sidewalks
Position your sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Also, avoid watering on windy days.
19. Water your lawn only when it needs it
A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn't need water. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering. Letting the grass grow taller (to 3") will also promote water retention in the soil.
Most lawns only need about 1" of water each week.
20. Collect rainwater for irrigation
Build or purchase a rain barrel to collect rainwater runoff to use for watering your landscape.
21. Water during the early parts of the day; avoid watering when it's windy
Early morning is generally better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus. Early watering, and late watering, also reduce water loss to evaporation. Watering early in the day is also the best defense against slugs and other garden pests. Try not to water when it's windy - wind can blow sprinklers off target and speed evaporation.
22. Adjust your mower to a higher setting
A taller lawn provides shade to the roots and helps retain soil moisture, so your lawn requires less water.
23. Don't run the hose while washing your car
Clean the car using a pail of soapy water. Use the hose only for rinsing - this simple practice can save as much as 150 gallons when washing a car. Use a spray nozzle when rinsing for more efficient use of water.
24. Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks.
25. Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets and couplings
Leaks outside the house may not seem as bad since they're not as visible. But they can be just as wasteful as leaks indoors. Check frequently to keep them drip-free. Use hose washers at spigots and hose connections to eliminate leaks.