Tips to Help You Conserve Water
Indoor Water Conservation
- 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.
- Run your dishwasher only when you have a full load. You can save up to 3,800 liters a month!
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save liters every time.
- For cold drinks, keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes into you and not down the drain.
- Wash fruit and vegetables in a partially filled sink or in a container of water, instead of allowing water to run continuously. A quick final rinse should be all that is necessary.
- Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables and use it to water houseplants.
- 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.
- Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
- 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.
- Plug the sink before you turn on the tap to wash dishes. Adjust the temperature as the sink fills.
- If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
- Re-use the water left over from cooked or steamed foods to start a scrumptious and nutritious soup.
- Scrape dishes with a utensil or cloth before loading them into the dishwasher. Don’t rinse them unless absolutely necessary (i.e. in cases of sticky or burned on food).
- Use the shortest dishwasher cycle that will properly wash the load. Using a setting that uses more water will not clean the dishes any better and will waste water.
- If your shower fills a four-liter bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water efficient model.
- Take a shower instead of a bath. A shower with a water-efficient showerhead uses less water than a bath.
- Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 570 liters per month. Try to limit showers to five minutes in length.
- Upgrade older toilets with water-efficient models. If you do not wish to go to the expense of changing your toilets, there are various devices such as early closing flappers and fill valves that can reduce water use at a small cost.
- Put a couple drops of food colouring in your toilet tank. Wait 15 to 30 minutes. If the food colouring seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 3,800 liters a month!
- When running a bath, plug the tub before turning the water on, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills.
- Reduce the level of water used during your bath by an inch or two.
- Use a water efficient showerhead. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 2,800 liters a month!
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 95 liters a month.
- Turn off the water while you shave and save up to 1,100 liters a month.
- If your toilet flapper doesn’t close after flushing, replace it.
- Bathe your young children together.
- If you have an older toilet with a high flush volume, try inserting a displacement device in the tank to reduce the amount of water used for each flush.
- Don’t use your toilet as a trash can. Drop your facial tissue in the trash instead of flushing it and save water every time.
- Turn off the water while shampooing your hair to save up to 560 liters a month.
- To save water and time, wash your face and/or brush your teeth while in the shower.
- At home or when staying at a hotel, consider reusing your towels.
- Install a faucet aerator.
- Run your clothes washer only when you have a full load. You can save up to 3,800 liters a month.
- If your machine has an adjustable water-level indicator, match the water level to the size of the load to use only as much water as necessary.
- Use cold water for all laundry loads. Cold water saves on energy while helping your clothes keep their colours. It also conserves hot water for uses that cold water cannot serve.
- When shopping for a new clothes washer, compare resource savings among energy efficient models. Some of these can save up to 75 liters per load and energy too.
- Use the ‘suds-saver’ feature, which reuses the clean rinse water for washing the next load, if your machine has one.
- There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you!
- Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
- When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They’re more water and energy efficient.
- Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It’s simple, inexpensive, and you can save up to 500 liters a week.
- Teach your children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
- Encourage your school system to develop and promote water conservation among children and youth.
- Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save water and prevent damage to your home.
- Make sure there are water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
- Insulate hot water pipes for more immediate hot water at the faucet and for energy savings.
- Make suggestions to your employer about ways to save water and money at work.
- Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and industrial uses.
- Share water conservation tips with friends and neighbours.
- Setting cooling systems and water softeners for a minimum number of refills saves both water and chemicals, plus money on utility bills.
- Listen for dripping faucets and running toilets. Fixing a leak can save 1,100 liters per month or more.
- When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water houseplants or outdoor plants.
Outdoor Water Conservation
- Water your lawn and plants early in the morning or in the evening to avoid water loss due to evaporation. Water drops can also magnify the suns rays and burn plants during the heat of day.
- Try to water on calm days only. Wind could blow the water away from your plants or lawn – the sidewalk doesn’t need to be watered.
- Use a rain gauge to track rainfall. This will help you determine if you need to water your lawn.
- When you water your lawn, place an empty tuna can or other one inch deep can on the grass and only water until the can is full. Grass only needs about one inch of water per thirty minutes of watering, twice a week to stay green.
- Mulch around trees and plants reduces evaporation.
- Water your lawn only when it needs it. If it springs back after you step on it, it’s okay.
- Plant more indigenous perennials. They need less water.
- Deep soak your lawn and garden beds. One good watering is better than lots of surface ones.
- Purchase a rain barrel and collect rain water to water your plants and shrubs.
- Sweep (instead of hosing) driveways and paths.
- Wash your car using a bucket. Use hose only for rinsing.
- Set your sprinkler so that it waters your grass, not your sidewalk or driveway.
- Regularly check hoses and taps for leaks.
- Cover your swimming pool when it’s not being used to reduce evaporation.
- Fill a small plastic wading pool with water for children on a hot day instead of running a sprinkler for them. Squirt guns or small plastic containers filled with water are also effective, water-smart, ways to cool off.
- Use a bucket of water and squeegee to wash windows instead of a hose.
- Run decorative fountains only when you’re there to enjoy them.
- Use the wastewater from cleaning outdoor ornamental ponds to water lawns and gardens.
For more information on water conservation and water usage in Canada, please visit www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water.