Conservation Tips

There are a number of easy ways to save water, and they all start with YOU. When you save water, you save money on your water bills. Here are just a few ways...

In The Kitchen

  • When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • Some refrigerators, air conditioners and ice-makers are cooled with wasted flows of water. Consider upgrading with air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.
  • Washing half loads wastes water. Conserve water by waiting until the dishwasher is full before running it. Save up to 10,000 litres of water a year. Use the short cycle or install a high-efficiency model to further reduce your water use.
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save water every time.
  • For cold drinks keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  • The average faucet flows at a rate of about eight litres of water a minute. Don’t let the water run while you’re cleaning fruits and vegetables. Wash them in a partially filled sink instead. Saves five litres of water each time.
  • Use only a little water in the pot and put a lid on it for cooking most food. Not only does this method save water, but food is more nutritious since vitamins and minerals are not poured down the drain with the extra cooking 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.
  • Don't use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.
  • If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
  • If you accidentally drop ice cubes when filling your glass from the freezer or when you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don't throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant, instead.
  • Installation of low-flow faucet aerators add air to your water stream and can reduce your water consumption as much as 50 percent.

Always keep water conservation in mind, and think of other ways to save in the kitchen. Making too much coffee or letting ice cubes melt in the sink can add up over time. By making these small changes in the kitchen, you can count on bigger savings on your yearly water bill.

In The Bathroom

  • The average 15-minute shower uses more than 300 litres of water. Challenge your family to cut their shower time in half. A family of four could save up to 1,200 bathtubs of water a year.
  • Install a low-flow showerhead and your family could save more than an average swimming pool full of water a year.
  • Turn off the tap while teeth brushing and save up to eight litres of water a minute.
  • Fix leaky taps. One drop per second wastes about 10,000 litres a year.
  • When remodeling a bathroom, install a new low-volume flush toilet.
  • Test toilets for leaks. Add a few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet to the water in the tank, but do not flush the toilet. Watch to see if the coloring appears in the bowl within a few minutes. If it does, the toilet has a silent leak that needs to be repaired.
  • Use a toilet tank displacement device such as a toilet dam or bag. Another alternative is filling a plastic bottle with stones or water, recapped, and placed in the toilet tank. These devices will reduce the volume of water in the tank but will still provide enough for flushing. Displacement devices are not recommended with new low-volume flush toilets.
  • Never use the toilet to dispose of cleansing tissues, cigarette butts, or other trash. This wastes a great deal of water and also places an unnecessary load on the sewage treatment plant or septic tank.
  • Do not use hot water when cold will do. Water and energy can be saved by washing hands with soap and cold water. Hot water should be added only when hands are especially dirty.
  • Do not let the water run when washing hands. Water should be turned off while washing and scrubbing and be turned on again to rinse. A cutoff valve may be installed on the faucet.
  • When shaving, fill the lavatory basin with hot water instead of letting the water run continuously.
  • Place water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.

In The Laundry

  • Doing many small loads of laundry wastes water. By washing only full loads, an average family could save 2,000 litres of water a month.
  • Washing dark clothes in cold water saves both water and energy while it helps your clothes to keep their colors.
  • Adjust the water level on your washing machine to match the size of the load to save even more water.
  • Install a high-efficiency washing machine and save almost 96 litres of water per load.
  • Use the suds-saving feature on your washing machine if you have one to recycle the rinse water from the last load.

Plumbing and Appliances

  • Check water requirements of various models and brands when considering purchasing any new appliances. Some use less water than others.
  • Check all waterline connections and faucets for leaks. A slow drip can waste as much as 645 liters of water EACH DAY, or approximately 19,000 liters per month, and will add to the water bill.
  • Learn to repair faucets so that drips can be corrected promptly. It is easy to do, costs very little, and can mean a substantial savings in plumbing and water bills.
  • Check for hidden water leakage such as a leak between the water meter and the house. To check, turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and water-using appliances. The water meter should be read at 10 to 20 minute intervals. If it continues to run or turn, a leak probably exists and needs to be located.
  • Insulate all hot water pipes to reduce the delays (and wasted water) experienced while waiting for the water to "run hot."
  • Be sure the water heater thermostat is not set too high. Extremely hot settings waste water and energy because the water often has to be cooled with cold water before it can be used.
  • Use a moisture meter to determine when house plants need water. More plants die from over-watering than from being on the dry side.
  • Winterize outdoor spigots and faucets when cold temperatures arrive to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.

For Outdoor Use

  • Water only when needed. Look at the grass, feel the soil, or use a soil moisture meter to determine when to water.
  • Do not over-water. Soil can hold only so much moisture, and the rest simply runs off. A timer will help, and either a kitchen timer or an alarm clock will do. Apply only enough water to fill the plant’s root zone. Excess water beyond that is wasted.
  • Water lawns early in the morning during the hotter summer months. Otherwise, much of the water used on the lawn can simply evaporate between the sprinkler and the grass.
  • To avoid excessive evaporation, use a sprinkler that produces large drops of water, rather than a fine mist. Sprinklers that send droplets out on a low angle also help control evaporation. Adjust sprinkler heads as necessary, to avoid waste, runoff and ensure proper coverage.
  • Set automatic sprinkler systems to provide thorough, but infrequent watering. Pressure-regulating devices should be set to design specifications. Rain shut-off devices can prevent watering in the rain.
  • Use drip irrigation systems for bedded plants, trees, or shrubs, or turn soaker hoses upside-down so the holes are on the bottom. This will help avoid evaporation.
  • Water slowly for better absorption, and never water on a windy day.
  • Forget about watering the streets or walks or driveways. They will never grow a thing.
  • Turn off the hose and use a rain barrel. When using a hose, be sure your hose has an automatic shutoff nozzle to ensure water is not wasted when the hose is left unattended.
  • Condition the soil with mulch or compost before planting grass or flowerbeds so that water will soak in rather than run off.
  • Fertilize lawns at least twice a year for root stimulation, but do not over-fertilize. Grass with a good root system makes better use of less water and is more drought-tolerant.
  • Do not scalp lawns when mowing during hot weather. Taller grass holds moisture better. A better looking lawn will result.
  • Use a watering can or hand water with the hose in small areas of the lawn that need more frequent watering (those near walks or driveways or in especially hot, sunny spots.)
  • Use water-wise plants. Learn what types of grass, shrubbery, and plants do best in the area and in which parts of the lawn, and then plant accordingly. Choose plants that have low water requirements, are drought-tolerant, and are adapted to the area of the state where they are to be planted. As a general rule, your lawn requires only two to three cm of water per week
  • Consider decorating some areas of the lawn with wood chips, rocks, gravel, or other materials now available that require no water at all.
  • Do not "sweep" walks and driveways with the hose. Use a broom or rake instead.
  • When washing the car, use a bucket of soapy water and turn on the hose only for rinsing.
  • We're more likely to notice leaks indoors, but don't forget to check outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses for leaks.
Water's Worth It Water's Worth It