50 Ways to Be Water Smart
In Your Home
pour water down the drain when there may be another use for
it. Use it to water your indoor plants or garden.
- Make sure your home is leak-free. Check your water meter
when you are certain that no water is being used. If the meter
reading changes, you have a leak!
- Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. One drop per
second wastes 2,700 gallons of water per year!
- Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with
- Check for toilet leaks by adding food coloring to the tank.
If you have a leak, the color will appear in the bowl within 30
minutes. (Flush immediately to avoid stains.)
- If the toilet handle frequently sticks in the flush
position, letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.
- Install a toilet displacement device to cut down on the
amount of water needed for each flush. (Don’t use a brick! There
are devices available at most hardware and home centers.) Be
sure installation does not interfere with the operating
Consider low-volume toilets which use less than half the water
of older models. NOTE: In many areas, low-volume units are
required by law.
- Take shorter showers. Replace your showerhead with an
- Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water to water
- In the shower, turn water on to get wet; turn off to lather
up; then turn the water back on to rinse off. Repeat when
washing your hair.
- Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when
they are fully loaded or set the water level for the size of
load you are using.
- When hand washing dishes, save water by filling two
containers – one with soapy water, one with rinse water
containing a small amount of chlorine bleach.
- Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Don’t let the tap
run while you are waiting for water to cool.
- Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods.
Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator, or use the defrost
setting on your microwave.
- Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate
properly. Start a compost
as an alternate method of disposing of food waste.
- Do not waste water waiting for it to get hot. Capture it for
other uses such as plant watering or heat it on the stove or in
- Consider installing an instant hot water heater on your sink
and insulating your water pipes.
- Think twice about installing a water-toair heat pump or
air-conditioning system. Newer air-to-air models are just as
efficient and do not waste water.
- Don’t let water run while brushing your teeth, washing your
face or shaving.
- Install water softening systems only when necessary. Turn
softeners off while on vacation.
- If you have a well at home, check your pump periodically. If
the pump kicks on and off while water is not being used, you
have a leak.
- Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues,
insects and other similar waste in the trash rather than the
Saving Water Outdoors
overwater your lawn. Lawns only need watering every five to
seven days in the summer, and every 10 to 14 days in the
winter. A heavy rain eliminates the need for watering for up
to two weeks. Buy a rain gauge. Most of the year, lawns only
need one inch of water per week.
- Plant it smart. Xeriscape landscaping is a great way to
design, install and maintain both your plants and irrigation
system. It will save time, money and water.
- Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures
and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces evaporation and
- Position sprinklers so water lands on the lawn and shrubs
and not on paved areas.
- Install irrigation devices that are the most water efficient
for each use. Micro and drip irrigation and soaker hoses are
examples of efficient devices.
- Check sprinkler systems and timing devices regularly to be
sure they operate properly. Florida law now requires that
“anyone who purchases and installs an automatic lawn sprinkler
system MUST install a rain sensor device or switch which will
override the irrigation cycle when adequate rainfall has
the lawn mower blade to at least three inches, or to its highest
level. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper,
shades the root system and holds soil moisture.
- Avoid over fertilizing your lawn. Applying fertilizer
increases the need for water. Apply fertilizers which contain
slowrelease, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.
- Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil. (Help preserve
native cypress forests by selecting other types of mulch such as
treated melaleuca.) Mulch also helps control weeds that compete
with landscape plants for water.
- Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers,
shrubs and trees. Once established, they do not need water as
frequently and usually will survive a dry period without
watering. They also require less fertilizer or herbicides. Group
plants together based on similar water needs.
- Use a broom or blower instead of a hose to clean leaves and
other debris from your driveway or sidewalk.
- Use a shut-off nozzle on your hose which can be adjusted
down to a fine spray, so that water flows only as needed. When
finished, turn it off at the faucet instead of at the nozzle, to
avoid leaks. Check hose connectors to make sure plastic or
rubber washers are in place. Washers prevent leaks.
not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended. A garden hose can pour
out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours. Use a bell timer to
remind yourself to turn sprinklers off.
- Avoid purchasing recreational water toys which require a
constant stream of water.
- Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water. If
you wash your own car, park on the grass and use a hose with an
automatic shut-off nozzle.
- Avoid installing ornamental water features (such as
fountains) unless they use recycled water.
- If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving
pool filter. A single backflushing with a traditional filter
uses 180 to 250 gallons of water.
General Water Saving Tips
in public water conservation meetings conducted by your
local government, utility or water management district.
- Follow water conservation and water shortage rules in
effect. Even if your water comes from a private well – you are
included in restrictions.
- Encourage your employer to promote water conservation in the
- Patronize businesses which practice water conservation, such
as restaurants that only serve water upon request.
- Report water losses (broken pipes, open hydrants, errant
sprinklers, abandoned free-flowing wells, etc.) to the property
owner, local authorities or your water management district.
- Encourage your school system and local government to help
develop and promote a water conservation ethic.
- Support projects that will lead to an increased use of
reclaimed waste water for irrigation and other uses.
- Support efforts that create a concern for water conservation
- Promote water conservation in community newsletters, on
bulletin boards and by example. Encourage your friends,
neighbors and co-workers to “be water smart.”
- Conserve water because it is the right thing to do – even
when someone else is footing the bill, such as when you are
staying at a hotel.
- Try to do one thing each day that will result in saving
water. Every drop counts!