With more and more areas struggling with droughts, conserving water is more important than ever. Even if you're not living in a drought-stricken region, cutting back on water use also means a lower utility bill and helps conserve a precious resource.
Whether you're ready to cut back on your showers or replace your lawn with water-wise plants, there are lots of big and small ways that you can conserve water around the home. Don't worry if you can't do everything on this list. Just pick a few things to start with, and do more as you can. Even a few small changes can add up to hundreds of gallons in water savings each year! Here are 20 water-saving tips to get you going...
1. Shower Bucket. Instead of letting the water pour down the drain, stick a bucket under the faucet while you wait for your shower water to heat up. You can use the water for flushing the toilet or watering your plants.
2. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Water comes out of the average faucet at 2.5 gallons per minute. Don't let all that water go down the drain while you brush! Turn off the faucet after you wet your brush, and leave it off until it's time to rinse.
3. Turn off the tap while washing your hands. Do you need the water to run while you're scrubbing your hands? Save a few gallons of water and turn the faucet off after you wet your hands until you need to rinse.
4. If it's yellow, let it mellow. This tip might not be for everyone, but the toilet is one of the most water-intensive fixtures in the house. Do you need to flush every time?
5. Fix your leaks. Whether you go DIY or hire a plumber, fixing leaky faucets can mean big water savings.
6. Re-use your pasta cooking liquid. Instead of dumping that water down the drain, try draining your pasta water into a large pot. Once it cools, you can use it to water your plants. Just make sure you wait, because if you dump that boiling water on your plants, you might harm them.
7. Head to the car wash. If you feel compelled to wash your car, take it to a car wash that recycles the water, rather than washing at home with the hose.
8. Cut your showers short. Older shower heads can use as much as 5 gallons of water per minute. Speed things up in the shower for some serious water savings.
9. Choose efficient fixtures. Aerating your faucets, investing in a low-flow toilet, choosing efficient shower heads, and opting for a Water Sense rated dishwasher and washing machine can add up to big water savings.
10. Shrink your lawn. Even better: lose the lawn completely. Instead, opt for a xeriscaped landscape that incorporates water wise ground cover, succulents, and other plants that thrive in drought conditions.
11. Don't run the dishwasher or washing machine until they're full. Those half-loads add up to gallons and gallons of wasted water.
12. Keep an eye on your bill to spot leaks. If your water bill spikes suddenly, there's a good chance that a leak is the culprit. Call in a plumber to check your lines to save water and cash!
13. Install a rain barrel. Rainwater harvesting is a great way to keep your plants hydrated without turning on the hose or sprinkler.
14. Flush with less. Older toilets use a lot of water. You can reduce your usage by sinking a half gallon jug of water in the toilet tank. Do NOT use a brick, because it will break down and the sediment can damage your tank.
15. Water in the early morning. You'll need less water, since cooler morning temperatures mean losing less water to evaporation. It's not a great idea to water in the evenings, since this can promote mold growth.
16. Hand-washing a lot of dishes? Fill up your sink with water, instead of letting it run the whole time that you're scrubbing.
17. Use less electricity. Power plants use thousands of gallons of water to cool. Do your part to conserve power, and you're indirectly saving water, too!
18. Wash Fido outdoors. That way, you're watering your yard while you're cleaning your pup. Just make sure that the soap you're using isn't harmful to your plants!
19. Skip the shower from time to time. Do you really need to shower multiple times a day or even daily? Skipping even one shower a week adds up to big water savings.
20. Re-use grey water. Check to make sure that this is legal where you live, but in some areas you can do things like re-route the runoff from your clothes washer and use that water for things like flushing the toilet.