Easy Ways to Conserve H2O

Don`t let it run. We have all developed the bad habit of letting the faucet run while we brush our teeth or wait for a cold glass of water. Keeping a pitcher of water in the refrigerator or turning the faucet off while we brush our teeth can save several gallons of water each day! It`s simple really, before you turn on the tap, think of ways you can use less water to accomplish the same purpose.

Fix the drip. There is no such thing as a little drip. A leaky faucet with a drip of just 1/16 of an inch in diameter (about this big `o`) can waste 10 gallons of water every day. You can turn off that drip by replacing worn washers or valve seats with the help of your parents.

The silent leak. Even worse than the careless hand on the faucet is the silent toilet bowl leak, probably the single greatest water waster in homes. A leak of 1 gallon every 24 minutes - an average amount - totals 2.5 gallons per hour or 60 gallons per day! To check your toilet for a leak, place a few drops of food coloring in the tank and wait. If the color appears in the bowl, then there`s a leak. Often these leaks can be fixed with a few minor adjustments, cleaning calcium deposits from the toilet ball in the tank, or by replacing worn valves.

Close the hose. Letting the garden hose run faster or longer than necessary while we water the lawn or wash the car often becomes a careless and wasteful habit. A 1/2 inch garden hose under normal water pressure pours out more than 600 gallons of water per hour and a 3/4 inch hose delivers almost 1,900 gallons in the same length of time. If left on overnight, one garden hose can easily waste twice as much water as the average family uses in a month.

Check the plumbing. Proper maintenance is one of the most effective water savers. Faucet washers are inexpensive and take only a few minutes, a wrench, and a screwdriver to replace. At home, check all water taps, hoses, and hose connections (even those that connect to dishwashers and washing machines) for leaks. Check the garden hose too - it should be turned off at the faucet, not just at the nozzle.

Teach your community. Just as it is important to conserve water in your own home, it is important to help our towns and cities save water by teaching others to use water wisely. In agricultural areas, water may be saved by using more effective irrigation methods. In industrial areas, manufacturers can save water by reusing it and by treating industrial wastes. Cities and towns can save water by eliminating leaks and installing meters. Waste water can be treated and reused. As you conserve water at home and in your community, you will help insure that the water available now continues to meet the growing water needs of the future.

"This material was reproduced from groundwater.org with the permission of The Groundwater Foundation. Copyright 2002 The Groundwater Foundation. All Rights Reserved."






  • Stop all outside watering.  This means, no watering the grass, plants or trees.  No washing cars, power washing your house or driveway.  No filling swimming pools or spas. 




  • Check for dripping faucets and shower heads.  Replace defective washers and “O” rings.  Inexpensive washers can be replaced easily and can save up to 20 gallons a day.

  • Monitor and test your toilet for leaks.  The flapper will dry out and erode over time.   For about $10 a new one can be purchased at the local home improvement store saving not only water but money as well.  Did you know that a 0.1 gallon per minute leak wastes 4,320 gallons per month, equates to as much as 51,840 gallons of water per year.

  • Don’t flush the toilet “every time” you go.  Typically 3 to 7 gallons of water is used in a single flush, depending on the age of the toilet.  The new ultra-high efficiency toilets claim to use less than 1 gal of water compared to these older toilets.

  • Don’t run the water when you’re brushing your teeth.  If teeth are brushed twice a day, 3650 gallons are wasted each year per person.  A family of four typically wastes enough water brushing teeth in a year to fill an above ground pool. 

  • Take a shower instead of a bath.  Keep showers as short as possible and monitor your children’s shower time. Low flow shower heads can save as much as 15 gallons of water during a 10 minute shower. 




  • Check the pipes and hoses behind your washing machine for leaks.  In addition to wasting water, leaks can damage your floors, walls and ceilings.


  • Do laundry less frequently and run only full loads.  A typical washing machine uses 45 gallons, new high efficiency machines use 15 to 25 gallons.




  • Store drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap until the water runs cold enough to drink.

  • Scrape dishes clean instead of rinsing under water before putting them into the dishwasher.

  • Run the dishwasher only when it is full.  Better yet, use paper plates and cups.  Simply throw them away, no need to wash.  Efficient hand washing, (filling the sink or a basin instead of running water) will still use about 11 gallons compared to an Energy Star dishwasher which uses about 3 to 5 gallons per load.





  • Provide water to patrons only upon request.  

  • Regularly check and maintain the valve that controls refrigeration and ice-making equipment.  These valves can fail and cause water to flow constantly.    

  • Install Low-Flow Aerators.  Food service involves a lot of hand washing, so installing low-flow aerators at handing-washing stations is a simple, inexpensive and effective way to lower water usage immediately.

Check and maintain toilets in restrooms.  Replace older toilets with new water saving toilets.