The average person
uses 80-100 gallons of water per day, which could easily be reduced to 20-50 gallons or less, with some basic water conservation
Saving water reduces utility bills, while increasing self-sufficiency and independence. If you provide your own water supply,
water conservation can also reduce the amount of water collection and storage necessary, or increase the amount of water available
for purposes such as growing plants for food and medicine.
Check and replace leaking faucets, valves, broken seals, sprinklers, hoses, pools, sinks, tubs, toilets, pipes and other plumbing
fixtures to reduce water consumption. Insulating outdoor pipes in freezing temperatures will also help to prevent pipes from leaking
and bursting. If you pay for someone else to provide your water, be sure to report any leaks or breaks in pipes and other plumbing
they are responsible for maintaining, so as to reduce water consumption and prevent your water bill from rising unnecessarily.
Monotioring water use for unusally high water consumption can also help you to discover, solve and prevent the wasting of water.
Water Efficient Home Appliances
Save water with low-flush toilets or composting toilets, low-flow shower heads, faucet aerators, steam washing machines, and other
water efficient home appliances.
- Low-flush and dual-flush toilets use up to 70% less water than conventional Western toilets. Composting toilets use less, or no
water, reducing total water use in the average household by at least 25%. Compost toilets that use no water may even eliminate legal
requirements for land owners to get DEQ approval for the installation and expense of septic and sewage systems.
- Low-flow shower heads use only about half the water used by most shower heads, use less energy, are inexpensive and easy to install.
- Faucet aerators use less water by breaking up water flow into fine droplets.
- Using a steam washer to wash laundry can save about 30% of the water and energy used by most washing machines.
- Reduce water consumption by replacing water cooled refrigerators, ice makers and air conditioners with air cooled or other cooling,
refrigeration and freezine alternatives.
- EPA Water Sense certified products can save up to 20% or more of the water used by their uncertified counterparts. Home appliances
with Energy Star ratings also typically save energy as well as water.
- Use on demand under-counter water heating systems, or install a whole house water heater in a central area that is as close to all
areas used as possible, to reduce water and energy consumption by reducing the length of time water has to run before reaching points
- Use food remains such as fruit and vegetable peels to produce compost, rather than wasting water, energy, and what could be used
as compost with a waste disposal unit.
Water Use Changes
Save water by making some simple changes in how water is used in common household tasks, such as laundry washing, dish washing, bathing
and showering, diet and cooking.
Indoor water conservation methods include:
- Matching water levels for laundry to that of the size of loads being washed to save water, and using cold water to save water and
- Washing dishes by hand can save up to 75% of the water used by dish washers. To limit the amount of water used when washing dishes
by hand, use one side of the sink as wash water and the other (or a large container if you do not have a double sink) for rinse water.
Rinsing dishes shortly after they are used, and using fewer dishes, also helps to reduce the amount of water needed for washing dishes
in the first place.
- Save water in the bathroom by taking shorter showers, bathing young children together, sharing showers with spouses, washing your
face and brushing your teeth while showering, plugging the bathtub before running water and only filling the bathub half full or less
- Eating a vegan or vegetarian diet helps reduce water consumption, because it takes much less water to grow plants for food and
medicine than it does to grow plants to feed and grow animals for food.
Save water indoors and out, by turning faucets and spigots off completely, and not running water when not in use. Save water for
- Turning water off when brushing your teeth, shaving, washing your hands or hair
- Refrigerating water in a container instead of running water until cold for drinking
- Thawing frozen foods in the refrigerator or a hot water bath instead of under running water
- Washing fruits and vegetables in a container of water instead of with running water
- Using a bucket of water for washing and another for rinsing vehicles outdoors instead of using a hose of running water
Lawn, garden and other outdoor water consumption can also be reduced considerably. Save water for example, by:
- Choosing plants, shrubs, trees and groundcovers for lawns, gardens and landscaping that have low water needs, match your climate
and site conditions
- Reducing the amount of lawn in your yard with walkways, patios and shrubs
- Grouping plants with similar watering requirements together
- Not overwatering grass, trees and other plants. To prevent overwatering of plants, only water them if the top two or three inches
of soil is dry, and then only as fast as soil can absorb it.
- Watering plants outdoors in the morning or evening when it is cooler outside, to minimize evaporation.
- Not watering plants outdoors on windy days, to prevent water from being blown away, and to minimize evaporation.
- Adjusting watering schedules to match seasonal weather conditions. Avoid watering plants outdoors when raining or snowing for example,
to avoid wasting water.
- Aerating planting beds before planting, so water can reach plant roots better
- Using organic compost in planting soil for nutrients and water retention
- Planting in the fall when conditions are cooler and precipitation is more abundant
- Spreading organic mulch around plants to help retain moisture
- Adjusting sprinklers so you only water what needs to be watered (rather than sidewalks, streets, etc.)
- Adding a layer of organic material such as bark chips or gravel on planting beds, to minimize weed growth and competition for water
- Letting grass grow taller to improve moisture retention by providing more shade
- Using drip irrigation or sprinklers that deliver large drops of water close to the ground to minimize evaporation
- Leaving lower branches on trees and shrubs and allowing leaf litter to accumulate on the soil to keep the ground cooler and reduce
- Doing water based activities, such as playing in sprinklers, washing pets, cars or bikes, in areas where plants such as grass, trees and
shrubs need water the most
- Using pool and spa covers on outdoor pools and spas when not in use, to prevent the evaporation of water
Water Recycling And Reuse
Water can in many cases be recycled and reused to reduce water consumption. Water left over from cooking and steaming foods or rinsing fruits
and vegetables for example, can be saved and reused in other ways. One of the best ways to save and reuse water is with a greywater recycling
system. While blackwater is sewage water that has been used in toilets that use water to flush and contain human waste, greywater is water that
has been used in sinks, showers, tubs, washing machines and some HVAC systems, for domestic activities such as washing laundry, dishwashing,
bathing and showering. Greywater can be stored and reused for watering plants such as grass, trees, shrubs, gardens, and for other domestic uses.
Grow And Make
Learn how to make green and sustainable decisions for a more socially responsible lifestyle