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Water Conservation Tips


Simple Steps to Save Water

By making just a few small changes to your daily routine, you can save a significant amount of water, which will help you save money and preserve water supplies for future generations. Water-efficient plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems provide the same performance and quality you've come to expect, but with the added benefit of water savings. The WaterSense label will help you identify high-efficiency products and programs for certified irrigation professionals.

Along with using WaterSense labeled products, adopt the following water-efficient practices to save money and protect the environment:

Fix That Leak!

Challenge: Leaky faucets that drip at the rate of one drop per second can waste up to 2,700 gallons of water each year.
Solution: If you're unsure whether you have a leak, read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.

Challenge: A leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water every day.
Solution: To tell if your toilet has a leak, place a drop of food coloring in the tank; if the color shows in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak.

Shower Power

Challenge: A full bath tub requires about 70 gallons of water, while taking a five-minute shower uses 10 to 25 gallons.
Solution: If you take a bath, stopper the drain immediately and adjust the temperature as you fill the tub.

Turn it Off!

Challenge: The average bathroom faucet flows at a rate of two gallons per minute.
Solution: Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth in the morning and at bedtime can save up to 8 gallons of water per day, which equals 240 gallons a month!

Water Wisely

Challenge: The typical single-family suburban household uses at least 30 percent of their water outdoors for irrigation. Some experts estimate that more than 50 percent of landscape water use goes to waste due to evaporation or runoff caused by overwatering!
Solution: Look for sprinklers that produce droplets - not mist - and install rain shut-off devices and moisture sensors. Water-efficient irrigation systems help to waste less water, potentially saving more than 11 billion gallons per year across the United States. This is equal to the amount of water used by 3,200 garden hoses flowing constantly for one year! For more information see the
Outdoor Water Use fact sheet.

Make it a Full Load

Challenge: The average washing machine uses 40.9 gallons of water per load.
Solution: High-efficiency washing machines use less than 27 gallons of water per load. To achieve even greater savings, wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate load size selection on the washing machine.

Don't Flush Your Money Down the Drain!

Challenge: If your toilet is from 1992 or earlier, you probably have an inefficient model that uses between 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush.
Solution: New and improved high-efficiency models use less than 1.3 gallons per flush - that's 60 to 80 percent less than their less efficient counterparts. Over 10 years, one high-efficiency toilet can save a family of four roughly $1,000 without compromising performance.

Outdoor Water Use in the United States

The average American family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day, and about 30 percent of that is devoted to outdoor uses. More than half of that outdoor water is used for watering lawns and gardens. Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for almost one-third of all residential water use, totaling more than 7 billion gallons per day. Other residential outdoor uses include washing automobiles, maintaining swimming pools, and cleaning sidewalks and driveways.

Water use varies greatly depending on geographic location and season, largely as a result of differences in climate. Water withdrawals for irrigation and landscaping are highest in the drier regions of the West and Southwest, where population growth is often greatest.

Some experts estimate that more than 50 percent of commercial and residential irrigation water use goes to waste due to evaporation, runoff, or over-watering.
Following are some common outdoor water inefficiencies, but there are simple solutions to reduce water waste and produce great results:

  • Many people water their lawns too often and for too long, over-saturating plants. It's usually not necessary to water grass every day. Instead, test your lawn by stepping on a patch of grass; if it springs back, it doesn't need water.
  • Regular maintenance of an irrigation system can help ensure that water is distributed evenly on the lawn and does not overspray onto paved areas. Look for an irrigation contractor certified in system maintenance and auditing to keep your system working efficiently.
  • An inefficient irrigation system can waste water and money each month, but using weatherbased irrigation scheduling on a moderate sized yard, for example, can reduce a household's outdoor water use by about 15 percent, saving up to 37 gallons of water every day. Alternatively, a weather-based irrigation controller can do the scheduling for you, providing the right amount of water to your plants automatically, if adjusted properly.
  • Landscaping with plants that are not adaptive to your climate increases water use and costs. Instead, use native plants, or species adapted to the local climate, which reduce outdoor water use by 20 to 50 percent.

WaterSense, a voluntary public-private partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeks to help homeowners and businesses improve water efficiency and reduce their costs by promoting efficient irrigation technologies such as weather-based irrigation controllers and certification programs for irrigation contractors. For more information, visit <www.epa.gov/watersense>.