At this point in the world’s conservation narrative, we all know we should be doing our best to reduce our water usage. And of course, turning off the faucet when we’re brushing our teeth is one of the easiest, most obvious strategies.
But there are so many other ways to save water that you may not be doing yet, may not know about or may have forgotten. Thanks to WaterSense — a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Partnership Program — and Water–Use It Wisely, we’ve got 16 foolproof water-saving strategies to help protect the planet and your wallet.
1. Fix leaks.
According to WaterSense, American homes can waste more than 10,000 gallons of water every year, no thanks to various households leaks, including running toilets and dripping faucets. Make sure to check your plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems each year. WaterSense recommends doing so in March during Fix a Leak Week. And don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses as well.
2. Choose the shower.
Showers use less water than baths. Just make it quick.
3. Multitask in the shower.
Wash your face and brush your teeth in the shower.
4. Plug the sink.
If you don’t have a dishwasher, plug up your sink when hand-washing your dishes.
5. Load ‘em up.
If you do have a dishwasher, don’t run it unless it’s fully loaded. Same goes for the washing machine.
6. Scrape your plates.
Before loading your dishwasher, scrape leftover food from your dishes rather than rinsing them.
7. Use a pitcher.
When you want a cold glass of water, don’t let the faucet run until the water cools. Instead, keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator.
8. Thaw frozen food.
Instead of running hot water over frozen food, think ahead and thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
9. Say no to hose.
Sweep driveways, sidewalks and outdoor steps, and clean your car using a bucket of water.
10. Cover it up.
When not in use, cover your pool to reduce evaporation.
11. Pick low-water plants.
Choose native plants — which are adapted to local soils and climatic conditions — that are defined as low-water use or drought-tolerant. Click here for a list of regionally appropriate plants.
12. Plant wisely.
Group together plants with similar watering needs to avoid overwatering or underwatering.
13. Skip watering in the rain.
It’s extremely wasteful to irrigate your lawn and garden when it’s raining. Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so the system won't turn on during the rain.
14. Garden wisely.
Create a water-saving garden with these seven steps from the City of New York website.
15. Reuse your towels.
While staying in a hotel, it might be tempting to toss your used towels on the floor and get new ones. But don’t. You reuse your towels at home, so why not do so on vacation?
16. Buy eco appliances.
Choose water-saving appliances, showerheads and toilets. Consider the EPA’s WaterSense label.
Tell us: How do you save water at home?