Tips for Saving Water

Because water is so readily at our fingertips, it may not seem like a limited resource, and as a result, it is too often wasted. Learning to conserve water can be beneficial to homeowners (think: lower water bills) and also to the city or town—because it takes a lot of resources to treat water and deliver it to millions of homes.

There are many little things that you can start or stop doing that, when added up, will mean a significant step forward in water conservation. Here are a few tips:

In the kitchen

It is easy to make a few small changes that will help save hundreds, or even as much as 1,000, gallons of water per month.

Turn off the faucet while you wash dishes or do any other activity where the faucet would usually be left running.

Each day, designate one glass for drinking water, or just refill a water bottle. This will decrease the number of dishes that need to be washed.

If you like to have cold water to drink, keep a jug of drinking water in the refrigerator so you won’t have to run the faucet until it is cold enough to drink.

While doing your dishes, let your pots and pans soak in a little bit of water and soap for a few minutes instead of running the faucet while you scrape them clean. This both saves water and makes it easier to clean your dishes.

Run your dishwasher and washing machine only when you have a full load.

In your washing machine, try washing dark clothes in cold water. This will save water and energy while also helping clothes retain their color.

In the bathroom

Don’t leave the faucet running as you brush your teeth, wash your face, or scrub your hands.

Take shorter showers (ideally around five minutes) and avoid taking baths frequently.

When waiting for the shower to warm up, collect the water in a bucket. You can then use this water for your lawn, garden, or house plants.

Insulating your water pipes will not only save energy, but also save water, because you will not have to run the water as long to get it up to the desired temperature.

Check for water leaks, especially affecting your toilet and sinks, and repair them as soon as possible. Leaks can waste far more water than people realize and can cause damage to the house itself if left unnoticed and unattended.

Install a faucet aerator to reduce the water flow.

Replace your toilet with a low-flow model. The building code calls for 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF) or less, but new models use 1.28 GPF or even 1.0 GPF.

When shopping for new appliances, check the water and energy efficiency ratings in the manufacturer’s specifications or consumer magazines and look for the Energy Star label. These will help you to save the most water and energy each time you use them.

Outdoor water conservation

Using a broom instead of a hose to clean off driveways, porches, and sidewalks can make a big difference.

Wash your pet or put your children’s sprinkler on a part of your lawn that needs water.

Install a rain barrel and collect rainwater that you can then use to water your lawn or garden.

Try to compost instead of using the garbage disposal. This reduces both food waste and water!

Using mulch in your garden can help you get more effectiveness out of less water. Because the mulch helps prevent water evaporation, your plants absorb more of the water that you give them.

Weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light, and water.

Adjust your lawn mower to a grass height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Taller grass shades roots and holds moisture better than short grass!

Additional resources

Conservation Tips from the Boston Water & Sewer Commission

100+ Ways to Conserve Water from Water: Use It Wisely

100 Ways to Conserve Water from WaiWater

—Hannah Lauterwasser