Water Conservation and Drought
In the Kitchen and Laundry
- Keep a container of water in the refrigerator to avoid running water for a cold drink.
- Avoid running water to thaw food.
- Run the dishwasher only when you have a full load.
- Automatic dishwashers use about 6 gallons of water per load.
- If washing dishes by hand, don’t let water run continuously for rinsing.
- Use a bowl of water to clean and prepare vegetables, rather than letting the faucet run.
- Use your garbage disposal less often and compost instead.
- When doing laundry, use the right water level to match the size of the load. Otherwise, wash only full loads. Each load of laundry normally requires 15-30 gallons or more of water.
- Check hose connections for leaks.
In the Bathroom
- One of the best ways to save water inside the home is by replacing the parts inside your toilet tanks every few years. Leaking toilets can send over 1,000 gallons of water down the drain in a single day. Because they are often difficult to see or hear, toilet leaks surprise many customers in the form of an unusually high water bill. Internal toilet parts, like tires on a car, wear out over time and need to be replaced. Doing it before they begin leaking saves water and money.
- Test for toilet leaks by adding food coloring to the water tank. Don’t flush for 15 minutes. If there is color in the bowl after 15 minutes, you may have a leak.
- Install water saving low-flow showerheads.
- Don’t use the toilet to dispose of tissues or other trash. Every flush uses three and one half to seven gallons of water.
- When replacing fixtures, install water saving models.
- A bathtub filled half full holds about 50 gallons of water. Consider showering instead.
- Limit the length of showers to two or three minutes. An unrestricted showerhead runs at five to ten gallons a minute.
- Avoid letting the water run while shaving, brushing your teeth, and washing your face.
- Teach children to turn faucets off tightly after use.
Save Water on the Lawn
- Avoid excessive watering. Most lawns need only an inch of water per week to stay healthy. Measure the amount of time it takes your sprinkler to deliver that much water, and do not exceed the total time for the week. A shallow container, such as a tuna can, can be used to measure the water.
- Use short cycles (5 minutes) at least an hour apart to reduce runoff.
- Reduce evaporation by watering in the evening or early in the morning.
- Set sprinklers carefully to avoid watering paved areas.
- Avoid sprinklers that spray a fine mist, which increases evaporation.
- Aerate the soil in the spring and fall to reduce runoff.
- Keep the grass 2-3" long to enhance root development with minimal watering.
- Minimize grassy areas, which require the most water.
- Plant water efficient grasses, plants, trees, and shrubs.
- Use mulch to help the soil retain moisture and to reduce the growth of weeds.
- Use drip irrigation to water plants, trees, and shrubs.
- Plant in the spring or fall, when watering requirements are lower.
Other Outdoor Tips
- Shut off and drain the water lines to outside spigots in the winter. This prevents freezing temperatures from causing expensive leaks.
- If you have an automatic sprinkler system, inspect it regularly for leaks and malfunctioning parts.
- Avoid using the hose to clean areas that could be swept with a broom.
- When washing vehicles, run the water only to wet and rinse. Use a container to hold the water used for washing.