Water Saving Tips

Informational Video On Saving Water

Indoor Tips

Kitchen

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

  • When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand. Now, Energy Star dishwashers save even more water and energy.
  • If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
  • Designate one glass for your drinking water each day, or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  • Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  • Don’t use running water to thaw food. For water efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.
  • Install 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.
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  • Reuse 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.
  • Cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps it retain more nutrients.
  • Select the proper pan size for cooking. Large pans may require more cooking water than necessary.
  • If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
  • Collect the water you use while rinsing fruit and vegetables. Use it to water house plants.
  • When shopping for a new dishwasher, use the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website to compare water use between models.

Laundry Room

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

Bathroom

  • If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a WaterSense® labeled model.
  • Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  • Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month.
  • Toilet leaks can be silent! Be sure to test your toilet for leaks at least once a year.
  • Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving gallons.
  • When running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water. Adjust the temperature as the tub fills.
  • If your toilet flapper doesn’t close properly after flushing, replace it.
  • Turn 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.
  • Consider buying a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full-flush for solid waste.
  • Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor and save up to 300 gallons a month.
  • Turn off the water while washing your hair and save up to 150 gallons a month.
  • When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather.
  • Take 5-minute showers instead of baths. A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water.
  • Install water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
  • Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them and save water every time.
  • Look for WaterSense® labeled toilets, sink faucets, urinals and showerheads and save over 1,000 gallons a month
  • One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day! Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks.
  • While you wait for hot water, collect the running water and use it to water plants.

General Indoor

  • Teach children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
  • When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it most.
  • Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.
  • Play fun games while learning how to save water!
  • Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
  • Learn how to use your water meter to check for leaks.
  • Reward kids for the water-saving tips they follow.
  • Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
  • Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It’s simple, inexpensive, and you can save 140 gallons a week.
  • Hire a plumber to help reduce your water, energy, and chemical use.
  • Be a leak detective! Check all hoses, connectors, and faucets regularly for leaks.
  • We’re more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses.
  • See a leak you can’t fix? Tell a parent, teacher, employer, or property manager, or call a handyman.
  • At home or while staying in a hotel, reuse your towels.
  • Make suggestions to your employer or school about ways to save water and money.
  • Run your washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.

Outdoor Tips

Drought-Tolerant Gardening / Xeriscaping

  • Use porous material for walkways and patios to prevent wasteful runoff and keep water in your yard.
  • Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while underwatering others.
  • Choose the right California-friendly plants and watch them thrive in their native environment.
  • Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region.
  • Plant in the spring and fall, when the watering requirements are lower.
  • When sprucing up your front or backyard, consider xeriscaping. This landscape method uses low-water-use plants to limit your water use.
  • Consider attending a landscape class hosted by a water provider. Most workshops occur in the spring and fall.
  • Avoid planting grass in areas that are hard to water, such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
  • Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
  • Start a compost pile. Using compost in your garden or flower beds adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
  • Use a layer of organic mulch on the surface of your planting beds to minimize weed growth that competes for water.
  • Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants helps them retain moisture, saving water, time and money.
  • Use 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
  • Visit your local xeriscape gardens to view plants that thrive in California climate.
  • Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low-water-use plant and save up to 550 gallons each year.
  • Call your local conservation office for more information about xeriscaping with water-thrifty trees, plants, and ground covers.
  • Collect water from your roof by installing gutters and downspouts. Direct the runoff to plants and trees.
  • For automatic water savings, direct water from rain gutters and HVAC systems to water-loving plants in your landscape.

Lawn Care

  • Hire a qualified pro to install your irrigation system and keep it working properly and efficiently.
  • Adjust your lawn mower to the height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better than short grass.
  • Leave lawn clippings on your grass, this cools the ground and holds in moisture.
  • If installing a lawn, select a lawn mix or blend that matches your climate and site conditions.
  • Aerate your lawn periodically. Holes every six inches will allow water to reach the roots, rather than run off the surface.
  • If walking across the lawn leaves footprints (blades don’t spring back up), then it is time to water.
  • Let your lawn go dormant (brown) during the winter. Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three to four weeks, less if it rains.
  • Avoid overseeding your lawn with winter grass. Ryegrass needs water every few days, whereas Dormant Bermuda grass needs water monthly.
  • Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light and water.
  • While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.
  • Water your summer lawns once every three days and your winter lawn once every five days.
  • Catch 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

  • Use 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.
  • Set 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.
  • Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.
  • Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.
  • Timing is everything when it comes to irrigation. Learn how to set your controller properly.
  • Look for WaterSense® labeled irrigation controllers.
  • Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case of malfunctions or rain.
  • Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
  • If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
  • Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
  • Signs of overwatering: Leaves turn lighter shades of green or yellow, young shoots wilt, and sometimes algae or fungi grow.
  • Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.
  • Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won’t run when it’s raining.
  • Water dry spots by hand instead of running the whole irrigation system longer.
  • Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
  • Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots, where it’s needed.
  • Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
  • Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops and mist often evaporate before hitting the ground.
  • Use a rain barrel to harvest rainwater from gutters for watering gardens and landscapes.
  • For hanging baskets, planters and pots, put ice cubes on top of the soil to give your plants a cool drink of water without overflow.
  • Remember to periodically check your sprinkler system valves for leaks, and to keep sprinkler heads in good shape.
  • Spring is a great time to give your irrigation system a checkup to ensure it’s working efficiently.
  • Pruning properly can help your plants use water more efficiently.

Pool

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

General Outdoor

  • Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting.
  • For more immediate hot water and energy savings, insulate hot water pipes.
  • Use a commercial car wash that recycles water. Or, wash your car on the lawn, and you’ll water your grass at the same time.
  • Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car. You’ll save up to 100 gallons every time.
  • Wash your pets outdoors, in an area of your lawn that needs water.
  • When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your non-edible plants.
  • When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, sidewalks and driveways, and save water every time.
  • If you have an evaporative cooler, direct the water drain to plants in your landscape.
  • Set water softeners for a minimum number of refills to save both water and chemicals, plus energy, too.
  • Report broken pipes, leaky hydrants and errant sprinklers to property owners or your local water provider.
  • Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. Were a pipe to burst, this could save gallons of water and prevent damage.

Office

  • Install 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.
  • Install water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
  • Install WaterSense® labeled toilets, sink faucets, urinals and showerheads and save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Hire a plumber to help reduce your water, energy, and chemical use.
  • Some commercial refrigerators and ice-makers are cooled with water. Upgrade to air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.
  • Post a hotline in bathrooms and kitchens to report leaks or water waste to facility managers or maintenance personnel.
  • Create a suggestion and incentives system at your organization to recognize water-saving ideas.
  • Include a water-saving tip list in your employee newsletter.
  • Implement a water management plan for your facility, then educate employees on good water habits through newsletters and posters.
  • Publish your organization’s monthly water use to show progress toward water-saving goals.
  • Invite your water utility conservation staff to your organization for Earth Day and other environmental events to help promote water savings.
  • Water audit your facility to find out your recommended water use, then monitor your utility bills to gauge your monthly consumption.
  • Have maintenance personnel regularly check your facilities for leaks, drips and other water waste.
  • If you use processed water in your business or facility, look into water recycling.
  • Contact your water utility to see if rebates are available for purchasing water-efficient fixtures, equipment or for facility audits.
  • Consider and compare water use when purchasing ice makers, dishwashers, reverse osmosis units, coolers and cleaning equipment.
  • Become or appoint a water ambassador within your organization who creates, implements and maintains your water conservation program.
  • Determine how your on-site water is being used by installing sub-meters where feasible, then monitoring for savings.
  • Conduct a facility water use inventory and identify water management goals.
  • Don’t forget hidden water use costs, like energy for pumping, heating and cooling, chemical treatment, and damage and sewer expenses.
  • Show your company’s dedication to water conservation through a policy statement. Commit management, staff and resources to the effort.
  • Shut off water to unused areas of your facility to eliminate waste from leaks or unmonitored use.
  • Create a goal of how much water your company can save and plan a celebration once that goal is met.
  • Ask employees for suggestions on saving water and give prizes for the best ideas. Incentivize it!
  • Write feature articles on your employee website that highlight water-saving ideas and successes.
  • Test your co-workers or employees on topics like xeriscape, WaterSense®, and high-efficiency toilets. See how water-wise they are.
  • Saving water on your landscape adds up quickly. Send the person in charge of your landscape to an irrigation workshop.
  • Marry the weather with your landscape water use. Water use should decrease during rainy periods and increase during hot, dry periods.
  • Visit your local Water Conservation office’s website to get information on programs available to businesses.
  • Ask your company to support water conservation events and education.
  • Scrape dishes rather than rinsing them before washing.
  • Use water-conserving icemakers.
  • If your facility relies on cooling towers, have maintenance maximize cycles of concentration by providing efficient water treatment.
  • Be sure your irrigation system is watering only the areas intended, with no water running onto walks, streets or down the gutter.
  • While cleaning sidewalks, a hose and nozzle use 8-12 gallons of water per minute. A pressurized Waterbroom® uses closer to 3 gallons.
  • Inspect your landscape irrigation system regularly for leaks or broken sprinkler heads and adjust pressures to specification.
  • Give your landscape proper amounts of irrigation water. Determine water needs, water deeply but infrequently, and adjust to the season.
  • Establish a monthly water budget for your landscape based on the water needs of your plants.
  • Limit turf areas at your facility. Instead, landscape using xeriscape or drought tolerant gardening principles to cut water use in half.
  • Put decorative fountains on timers and use only during work or daylight hours. Check for leaks if you have automatic refilling devices.
  • Wash company vehicles at commercial car washers that recycle water.
  • Wash company vehicles as needed rather than on a schedule. Stretch out the time in between washes.
  • Consider turning your high-maintenance water feature/fountain into a low-maintenance art feature or planter.
  • When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They are more water and energy efficient.
  • Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and industrial uses.
  • When ice cubes are leftover from your drink, don’t throw them out. Pour them on a plant.

Tips For Kids

  • When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Designate one glass for your drinking water each day, or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  • If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
  • When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
  • Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps your clothes retain their color.
  • Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  • Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month.
  • Turn 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.
  • Turn off the water while washing your hair and save up to 150 gallons a month.
  • When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather.
  • Take 5-minute showers instead of baths. A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water.
  • Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them and save water every time.
  • One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day! Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks.
  • Teach children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
  • When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it most.
  • Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.
  • Play fun games while learning how to save water!
  • Reward kids for the water-saving tips they follow.
  • Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
  • Be a leak detective! Check all hoses, connectors, and faucets regularly for leaks.
  • See a leak you can’t fix? Tell a parent, teacher, employer, or property manager, or call a handyman.
  • At home or while staying in a hotel, reuse your towels.
  • Make suggestions to your employer or school about ways to save water and money.
  • Run your washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Don’t overfill the pool. Lower water levels will reduce water loss due to splashing.
  • Keep water in the pool when playing, it will save water.
  • Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car. You’ll save up to 100 gallons every time.
  • Wash your pets outdoors, in an area of your lawn that needs water.
  • When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your non-edible plants.
  • When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, sidewalks and driveways, and save water every time.