100 Ways to Conserve Water

100+ WAYS TO CONSERVE

When it comes to conserving water, small adjustments can have a big impact. Here you can sort through nearly 200 water-saving tips, download and print tip posters, or share your favorites on social media.

INDOOR TIPS

KITCHEN

  1. #1There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.
  2. #2When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  3. #3Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand. Now, Energy Star dishwashers save even more water and energy.
  4. #4If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
  5. #5Designate one glass for your drinking water each day, or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  6. #6Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  7. #7Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.
  8. #8Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  9. #9Don’t use running water to thaw food. For water efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.
  10. #10Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.
  11. #11Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  12. #12Reuse leftover water from cooked or steamed foods to start a nutritious soup, it’s one more way to get eight glasses of water a day.
  13. #13Cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps it retain more nutrients.
  14. #14Select the proper pan size for cooking. Large pans may require more cooking water than necessary.
  15. #15If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
  16. #16Collect the water you use while rinsing fruit and vegetables. Use it to water house plants.
  17. #17When shopping for a new dishwasher, use the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website to compare water use between models.

LAUNDRY ROOM

  1. #18When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
  2. #19Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps your clothes retain their color.
  3. #20When shopping for a new washing machine, compare resource savings among Energy Star models. Some can save up to 20 gallons of water per load.
  4. #21Have a plumber re-route your greywater to trees and plants rather than the sewer line. Check with your city and county for codes.
  5. #22When buying a washer, check the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website to compare water use between models.

BATHROOM

  1. #23If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a WaterSense® labeled model.
  2. #24Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  3. #25Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month.
  4. #26Toilet leaks can be silent! Be sure to test your toilet for leaks at least once a year.
  5. #27Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving gallons.
  6. #28When running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water. Adjust the temperature as the tub fills.
  7. #29Upgrade older toilets with water-saving WaterSense® labeled models.
  8. #30If your toilet flapper doesn’t close properly after flushing, replace it.
  9. #31Use a WaterSense® labeled showerhead. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.
  10. #32Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four.
  11. #33If your toilet was installed before 1992, purchasing a WaterSense® labeled toilet can reduce the amount of water used for each flush.
  12. #34Consider buying a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full-flush for solid waste.
  13. #35Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor and save up to 300 gallons a month.
  14. #36Turn off the water while washing your hair and save up to 150 gallons a month.
  15. #37When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather.
  16. #38Take 5-minute showers instead of baths. A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water.
  17. #39Install water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
  18. #40Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them and save water every time.
  19. #41Look for WaterSense® labeled toilets, sink faucets, urinals and showerheads.
  20. #42One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day! Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks.
  21. #43While you wait for hot water, collect the running water and use it to water plants.

GENERAL INDOOR

  1. #44Teach children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
  2. #45Watch the Home Water Challenge video or use the Home Water Audit Calculator to see where you can save water.
  3. #46When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it most.
  4. #47Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.
  5. #48Play fun games while learning how to save water!
  6. #49Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
  7. #50Learn how to use your water meter to check for leaks.
  8. #51Reward kids for the water-saving tips they follow.
  9. #52Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
  10. #53Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It’s simple, inexpensive, and you can save 140 gallons a week.
  11. #54Hire a GreenPlumber® to help reduce your water, energy, and chemical use.
  12. #55Be a leak detective! Check all hoses, connectors, and faucets regularly for leaks.
  13. #56We’re more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses.
  14. #57See a leak you can’t fix? Tell a parent, teacher, employer, or property manager, or call a handyman.
  15. #58At home or while staying in a hotel, reuse your towels.
  16. #59Make suggestions to your employer or school about ways to save water and money.
  17. #60Run your washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  18. #61See how your water use stacks up to others by calculating your daily water use.

OUTDOOR TIPS

XERISCAPE LANDSCAPING

  1. #62Use porous material for walkways and patios to prevent wasteful runoff and keep water in your yard.
  2. #63Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while underwatering others.
  3. #64Choose the right Arizona-friendly plants and watch them thrive in our desert environment.
  4. #65Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region.
  5. #66Plant species native to your region.
  6. #67Plant in the spring and fall, when the watering requirements are lower.
  7. #68When sprucing up your front or backyard, consider xeriscaping. This landscape method uses low-water-use plants to limit your water use.
  8. #69Consider attending a landscape class hosted by a water provider. Most workshops occur in the spring and fall.
  9. #70Avoid planting grass in areas that are hard to water, such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
  10. #71Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
  11. #72Start a compost pile. Using compost in your garden or flower beds adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
  12. #73Use a layer of organic mulch on the surface of your planting beds to minimize weed growth that competes for water.
  13. #74Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants helps them retain moisture, saving water, time and money.
  14. #75Use 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
  15. #76Visit your local xeriscape garden to view plants that thrive in our hot desert environment.
  16. #77Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low-water-use plant and save up to 550 gallons each year.
  17. #78Call your local conservation office for more information about xeriscaping with water-thrifty trees, plants, and ground covers.
  18. #79Collect water from your roof by installing gutters and downspouts. Direct the runoff to plants and trees.
  19. #80For automatic water savings, direct water from rain gutters and HVAC systems to water-loving plants in your landscape.

LAWN CARE

  1. #81Hire a qualified pro to install your irrigation system and keep it working properly and efficiently.
  2. #82Hire a Smartscape Certified professional landscaper who has received landscape training specific to the Sonoran Desert.
  3. #83Adjust your lawn mower to the height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better than short grass.
  4. #84Leave lawn clippings on your grass, this cools the ground and holds in moisture.
  5. #85If installing a lawn, select a lawn mix or blend that matches your climate and site conditions.
  6. #86Aerate your lawn periodically. Holes every six inches will allow water to reach the roots, rather than run off the surface.
  7. #87If walking across the lawn leaves footprints (blades don’t spring back up), then it is time to water.
  8. #88Let your lawn go dormant (brown) during the winter. Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three to four weeks, less if it rains.
  9. #89Avoid overseeding your lawn with winter grass. Ryegrass needs water every few days, whereas Dormant Bermuda grass needs water monthly.
  10. #90Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light and water.
  11. #91While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.
  12. #92Water your summer lawns once every three days and your winter lawn once every five days.
  13. #93Catch water in an empty tuna can to measure sprinkler output. 3/4 to 1 inch of water is enough to apply each time you irrigate.

LANDSCAPE

  1. #94Read the Landscape Watering by the Numbers guidebook to help you determine how long and how much to water.
  2. #95Use a trowel, shovel, or soil probe to examine soil moisture depth. If the top two to three inches of soil are dry, it’s time to water.
  3. #96Set a kitchen timer when using the hose as a reminder to turn it off. A running hose can discharge up to 10 gallons per minute.
  4. #97Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.
  5. #98Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.
  6. #99Timing is everything when it comes to irrigation. Learn how to set your controller properly.
  7. #100Look for WaterSense® labeled irrigation controllers.
  8. #101Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case of malfunctions or rain.
  9. #102Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
  10. #103If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
  11. #104Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
  12. #105Signs of overwatering: Leaves turn lighter shades of green or yellow, young shoots wilt, and sometimes algae or fungi grow.
  13. #106Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.
  14. #107Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won’t run when it’s raining.
  15. #108Water dry spot by hand instead of running the whole irrigation system longer.
  16. #109Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
  17. #110Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots, where it’s needed.
  18. #111Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
  19. #112Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops and mist often evaporate before hitting the ground.
  20. #113Use a rain barrel to harvest rainwater from gutters for watering gardens and landscapes.
  21. #114For hanging baskets, planters and pots, put ice cubes on top of the soil to give your plants a cool drink of water without overflow.
  22. #115Remember to periodically check your sprinkler system valves for leaks, and to keep sprinkler heads in good shape.
  23. #116Spring is a great time to give your irrigation system a checkup to ensure it’s working efficiently.
  24. #117Pruning properly can help your plants use water more efficiently.

POOL

  1. #118Use a pool cover to help keep your pool clean, reduce chemical use and prevent water loss through evaporation.
  2. #119Make sure your swimming pools, fountains and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps.
  3. #120If you have an automatic refilling device, check your pool periodically for leaks.
  4. #121When back-washing your pool, consider using the water on salt-tolerant plants in the landscape.
  5. #122Minimize or eliminate the use of waterfalls and sprays in your pool. Aeration increases evaporation.
  6. #123Don’t overfill the pool. Lower water levels will reduce water loss due to splashing.
  7. #124Keep water in the pool when playing, it will save water.
  8. #125Instead of building a private pool, join a community pool.
  9. #126Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than those that spray water into the air.
  10. #127Use a grease pencil to conduct a bucket test to check for pool leaks. An unnatural water level drop may indicate a leak.

GENERAL OUTDOOR

  1. #128Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting.
  2. #129For more immediate hot water and energy savings, insulate hot water pipes.
  3. #130Use a commercial car wash that recycles water. Or, wash your car on the lawn, and you’ll water your grass at the same time.
  4. #131Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car. You’ll save up to 100 gallons every time.
  5. #132Wash your pets outdoors, in an area of your lawn that needs water.
  6. #133When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your non-edible plants.
  7. #134When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
  8. #135Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, sidewalks and driveways, and save water every time.
  9. #136Evaporative coolers require a seasonal maintenance check. For more efficient cooling, check your evaporative cooler annually.
  10. #137If you have an evaporative cooler, direct the water drain to plants in your landscape.
  11. #138Set water softeners for a minimum number of refills to save both water and chemicals, plus energy, too.
  12. #139If you have an evaporative cooler, install a recirculating pump to keep water from bleeding off with one pass.
  13. #140Report broken pipes, leaky hydrants and errant sprinklers to property owners or your local water provider.
  14. #141Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. Were a pipe to burst, this could save gallons of water and prevent damage.
  15. #142Install a thermostat and timer on your evaporative cooler so it only operates when necessary.

OFFICE

  1. #10Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.
  2. #29Upgrade older toilets with water-saving WaterSense® labeled models.
  3. #39Install water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
  4. #41Look for WaterSense® labeled toilets, sink faucets, urinals and showerheads.
  5. #54Hire a GreenPlumber® to help reduce your water, energy, and chemical use.
  6. #143Some commercial refrigerators and ice-makers are cooled with water. Upgrade to air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.
  7. #144Post a hotline in bathrooms and kitchens to report leaks or water waste to facility managers or maintenance personnel.
  8. #145Create a suggestion and incentives system at your organization to recognize water-saving ideas.
  9. #146Include a water-saving tip in your employee newsletter. Find 100+ tips at wateruseitwisely.com.
  10. #147Implement a water management plan for your facility, then educate employees on good water habits through newsletters and posters.
  11. #148Publish your organization’s monthly water use to show progress toward water-saving goals.
  12. #149Invite your water utility conservation staff to your organization for Earth Day and other environmental events to help promote water savings.
  13. #150Water audit your facility to find out your recommended water use, then monitor your utility bills to gauge your monthly consumption.
  14. #151Have maintenance personnel regularly check your facilities for leaks, drips and other water waste.
  15. #152If you use processed water in your business or facility, look into water recycling.
  16. #153Contact your water utility to see if rebates are available for purchasing water-efficient fixtures, equipment or for facility audits.
  17. #154Consider and compare water use when purchasing ice makers, dishwashers, reverse osmosis units, coolers and cleaning equipment.
  18. #155Become or appoint a water ambassador within your organization who creates, implements and maintains your water conservation program.
  19. #156Become a proud WaterSense® partner and let all your customers know.
  20. #157As part of the WaterSense® Fix-A-Leak Week in March, plan an employee campaign to look for leaks.
  21. #158Determine how your on-site water is being used by installing sub-meters where feasible, then monitoring for savings.
  22. #159Conduct a facility water use inventory and identify water management goals.
  23. #160Don’t forget hidden water use costs, like energy for pumping, heating and cooling, chemical treatment, and damage and sewer expenses.
  24. #161Show your company’s dedication to water conservation through a policy statement. Commit management, staff and resources to the effort.
  25. #162Shut off water to unused areas of your facility to eliminate waste from leaks or unmonitored use.
  26. #163Create a goal of how much water your company can save and plan a celebration once that goal is met.
  27. #164Ask employees for suggestions on saving water and give prizes for the best ideas. Incentivize it!
  28. #165Write feature articles on your employee website that highlight water-saving ideas and successes.
  29. #166Test your co-workers or employees on topics like xeriscape, WaterSense®, and high-efficiency toilets. See how water-wise they are.
  30. #167Hire a WaterSense® irrigation partner to help with your landscape.
  31. #168Saving water on your landscape adds up quickly. Send the person in charge of your landscape to an irrigation workshop.
  32. #169Marry the weather with your landscape water use. Water use should decrease during rainy periods and increase during hot, dry periods.
  33. #170Visit your local Water Conservation office’s website to get information on programs available to businesses.
  34. #171Make sure your contract plumber and/or maintenance personnel knows about GreenPlumbers®.
  35. #172Ask your company to support water conservation events and education. ProjectWet hosts local events throughout the country.
  36. #173Support Tap Into Quality and forgo those plastic water bottles to lower your carbon footprint.
  37. #174Scrape dishes rather than rinsing them before washing.
  38. #175Use water-conserving icemakers.
  39. #176A recent study showed that 99% of business managers surveyed ranked water conservation as a “top five” priority over the next decade.
  40. #177If your facility relies on cooling towers, have maintenance maximize cycles of concentration by providing efficient water treatment.
  41. #178Be sure your irrigation system is watering only the areas intended, with no water running onto walks, streets or down the gutter.
  42. #179While cleaning sidewalks, a hose and nozzle use 8-12 gallons of water per minute. A pressurized Waterbroom® uses closer to 3 gallons.
  43. #180Inspect your landscape irrigation system regularly for leaks or broken sprinkler heads and adjust pressures to specification.
  44. #181Give your landscape proper amounts of irrigation water. Determine water needs, water deeply but infrequently, and adjust to the season.
  45. #182Establish a monthly water budget for your landscape based on the water needs of your plants.
  46. #183Limit turf areas at your facility. Instead, landscape using xeriscape principles to cut water use in half.
  47. #184Put decorative fountains on timers and use only during work or daylight hours. Check for leaks if you have automatic refilling devices.
  48. #185Wash company vehicles at commercial car washers that recycle water.
  49. #186Wash company vehicles as needed rather than on a schedule. Stretch out the time in between washes.
  50. #187Consider turning your high-maintenance water feature/fountain into a low-maintenance art feature or planter.
  51. #188When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They are more water and energy efficient.
  52. #189Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and industrial uses.
  53. #190When ice cubes are leftover from your drink, don’t throw them out. Pour them on a plant.

KIDS

  1. #1There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.
  2. #2When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  3. #5Designate one glass for your drinking water each day, or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  4. #8Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  5. #11Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  6. #15If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
  7. #18When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
  8. #19Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps your clothes retain their color.
  9. #24Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  10. #25Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month.
  11. #32Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four.
  12. #36Turn off the water while washing your hair and save up to 150 gallons a month.
  13. #37When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather.
  14. #38Take 5-minute showers instead of baths. A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water.
  15. #40Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them and save water every time.
  16. #42One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day! Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks.
  17. #44Teach children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
  18. #45Watch the Home Water Challenge video or use the Home Water Audit Calculator to see where you can save water.
  19. #46When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it most.
  20. #47Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.
  21. #48Play fun games while learning how to save water!
  22. #49Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
  23. #50Learn how to use your water meter to check for leaks.
  24. #51Reward kids for the water-saving tips they follow.
  25. #52Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
  26. #55Be a leak detective! Check all hoses, connectors, and faucets regularly for leaks.
  27. #57See a leak you can’t fix? Tell a parent, teacher, employer, or property manager, or call a handyman.
  28. #58At home or while staying in a hotel, reuse your towels.
  29. #59Make suggestions to your employer or school about ways to save water and money.
  30. #60Run your washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  31. #123Don’t overfill the pool. Lower water levels will reduce water loss due to splashing.
  32. #124Keep water in the pool when playing, it will save water.
  33. #131Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car. You’ll save up to 100 gallons every time.
  34. #132Wash your pets outdoors, in an area of your lawn that needs water.
  35. #133When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your non-edible plants.
  36. #134When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
  37. #135Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, sidewalks and driveways, and save water every time.
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