Lawrence Twp Community Day Photo

92 Ways to
Save Water at Home

Why is saving water important to ecological sustainability? Because they’re not making any more of it. Earth’s fresh water supply is finite. Population expansion, economic growth and food production increases all compete for available water and put pressure on existing supplies. Smart water conservation at home and at work can go a long way to assuring adequate amounts of water for all.

1. There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.

2. When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.

3. Evaporative coolers require a seasonal maintenance checkup. For more efficient cooling, check your evaporative cooler annually.

4. Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.

5. Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full and you could save 1000 gallons a month.

6. Avoid planting turf in areas that are hard to water such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.

7. Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.

8. Use the garbage disposal less often.

9. Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.

10. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for cold drinks, so that every drop goes down you, not the drain.

11. Check your water meter and bill to track your water usage.

12. Always water lawns and gardens during early morning or evening hours, when temperatures are cooler, to minimize evaporation.

13. Wash produce in a sink or pan partially filled with water instead of running water from the tap.

14. Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.

15. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save up to 80 gallons of water every time.

16. If your shower can fill a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, then replace it with a water-efficient showerhead.

17. Collect the water you use for rinsing produce and reuse it to water houseplants.

18. Water your lawn in several short sessions rather than one long one. This will allow the water to be better absorbed.

19. We’re more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses for leaks.

20. Periodically check your pool for leaks if you have an automatic refilling device.

21. Only water your lawn when needed. You can tell this by simply walking across your lawn. If you don’t leave footprints, there’s no need to water.

22. When you shop for a new appliance, keep in mind that one offering several different cycles will be more water- and energy-efficient.

23. Time showers to keep them under 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1000 gallons a month.

24. Install low-volume toilets.

25. Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. Longer grass will reduce the loss of water to evaporation.

26. When you clean your fish tank, use water you’ve drained for your plants. This water is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, providing you with a free and effective fertilizer.

27. Water small areas of grass by hand to avoid waste.

28. Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a leak. It's easy to fix, and you may save more than 600 gallons a month.

29. Taking a bath? Plug the bathtub before turning the water on, and then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.

30. Porous walkways and patios keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff.

31. Water gardens with collected rainwater. Check to be sure this is legal in your area.

32. Designate one glass for your drinking water each day. This will cut down on the number of times you run your dishwasher.

33. Instead of using a hose or a sink to get rid of paints, motor oil, and pesticides, dispose of them properly by recycling or sending them to a hazardous waste site.

34. Use a rain shut-off device on automatic sprinklers to eliminate unnecessary watering.

35. Don’t use running water to thaw food.

36. Choose a water-efficient drip irrigation system for trees, shrubs, and flowers. Watering roots is very effective. Be careful not to over water.

37. Fix that leaky faucet. It’s simple, inexpensive, and can save 140 gallons a week.

38. Cut back on the amount of grass in your yard by planting shrubs and ground cover or landscape with rock.

39. When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.

40. Teach your children to turn the faucets off tightly after each use.

41. Check sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks. Keep the heads in good shape.

42. Showers: install low-flow showerheads. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save your family more than 500 gallons a week.

43. Soak your pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.

44. Don’t water lawns on windy days. Sidewalks and driveways don’t need watering.

45. Water deeply but less frequently to create healthier and stronger landscapes.

46. Make sure you know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save gallons of water and damage to your home if a pipe were to burst.

47. When watering grass on steep slopes, use a soaker hose to prevent wasteful runoff.

48. To get the most from your watering time, group plants according to their water needs.

49. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light, and water.

50. While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed. Use only non-toxic fertilizers

51. Use only commercial car wash places that recycle water. If you’re not sure, ask.

52. Don’t buy recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.

53. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth or shave and save 4 gallons a minute. That’s 200 gallons a week for a family of four.

54. Buy a rain gauge to track how much rain or irrigation your yard receives.

55. Encourage your school system and local government to help develop and promote a water conservation ethic among children and adults.

56. Teach your family how to shut off your automatic watering systems so anyone who is home can turn sprinklers off when a storm is approaching.

57. Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden with a hose.

58. Make sure your toilet flapper doesn’t stick in the open position after flushing.

59. Make sure there are aerators on all of your faucets.

60. Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a native, low water use plant.

61. Install an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don’t have to let the water run while it heats up. This will also reduce heating costs for your household.

62. Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of your pool at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later. Your pool should lose no more than 1/4 inch each day.

63. Use a screwdriver as a soil probe to test soil moisture. If it goes in easily, don’t water. Proper lawn watering can save thousands of gallons of water annually.

64. Mow your lawn as infrequently as possible. Mowing puts your lawn under additional stress, causing it to require more water.

65. Don’t use the sprinklers just to cool off or for play. Running through water from a hose or sprinkler wastes gallons of water.

66. Equip swimming pools, fountains, and ponds with re circulating pumps.

67. Bathe your young children together.

68. Direct downspouts or gutters toward shrubs or trees.

69. Winterize outdoor spigots to avoid pipes from bursting or freezing.

70. Insulate hot water pipes so you don’t have to run as much water to get hot water to the faucet.

71. Drop that tissue in the trash instead of flushing it and save gallons every time.

72. If you have an evaporative air conditioner, direct the water drain to a flower bed, tree, or your lawn.

73. Make suggestions to your employer to save water (and dollars) at work.

74. When brushing your teeth never leave tap water running.

75. Use a hose nozzle and turn off the water while you wash your car and save more than 100 gallons.

76. Encourage your friends and neighbors to be part of a water-conscious community.

77. Install a toilet dam or bottle filled with water in toilet tanks to cut down on the amount used for each flush. Be sure these devices do not interfere with operating parts.

78. Install water softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum number of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness.

79. Wash clothes only when you have a full load and save up to 600 gallons each month.

80. Prune back heavy foliage. Reducing leaf area reduces water needs.

81. Report significant water losses from broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers to the property owner or water management officials.

82. If your grass is brown, it’s not dead, it’s just dormant. Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three weeks. When the rain begins, your grass will turn green again.

83. Start a compost pile. Using compost when you plant adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.

84. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering. Be sure only to water plants when necessary.

85. Adjust your watering schedule to the season. Water your summer lawn every third day and your winter lawn every fifth day.

86. Turn the water off while you shampoo and condition your hair and you can save more than 50 gallons a week.

87. Bathe pets outdoors in an area in need of water.

88. Choose new water-saving appliances, like front-loading washing machines that save up to 20 gallons per load.

89. Water only as rapidly as the soil can absorb the water.

90. Aerate your lawn. Poke holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.

91. Select the proper size pans for cooking. Large pans require more cooking water than may be necessary.

92. Place an empty tin can on your lawn to catch and measure the water output of your sprinklers. For lawn watering advice, contact your local conservation office.

Compiled by:
American Evergreen Foundation

Edited (May, 2008) by:
Sustainable Lawrence
PO Box 5612
Trenton, NJ 08638  USA

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