Water conservation: it all starts with you

Water conservation — using water efficiently and avoiding waste — is essential to ensure that we have adequate water today and into the future. Water is a finite resource. The supply on Earth today is the same as what was here at the beginning of the planet. It is up to all of us to use water wisely, and it is as simple as each of us making small changes. Make conserving water a daily part of your life. And remember when you save water, you save energy and money!


Bathroom — what you can do behind closed doors

Over half the water use inside a home takes place in the bathroom.

  • Use a leak-free, high efficiency toilet, and use a wastebasket, not a toilet, for trash. 
    • Toilets are by far the main source of water use in the home — nearly 30 percent of all indoor residential water consumption.
  • Turn off the water while shaving or brushing teeth.
    • Savings: up to 4 gallons a minute, or up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four!
  • Take short showers instead of baths — showers use less water.
    • If you keep your showers to under 5 minutes you’ll save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • If you do take a bath, be sure to plug the drain right away and adjust the temperature as you fill the tub.
  • When washing your hands, turn off the water while you lather.

Kitchen — cook up some real water savings

  • Wash only full loads of dishes, and select the appropriate water level or load size option on the dishwasher.
  • Do not use water to defrost frozen foods. Thaw foods in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Scrape rather than rinse dishes before loading them into the dishwasher.
  • Compost food waste instead of using the garbage disposal or throwing it in the trash.
  • Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.

Laundry — rinse out some real savings

  • Wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine.
  • Consider purchasing a high efficiency washing machine, which can save over 50 percent in laundry water and energy use.

Fix leaks — always and everywhere

  • You can significantly reduce water use by simply repairing leaks in fixtures (faucets and showerheads), pipes, and toilets. A leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period of time.
    • A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons per day. That would be like flushing your toilet more than 50 times for no reason!


Of the estimated 29 billion gallons of water used daily by households in the United States, nearly 9 billion gallons (30 percent) is used outdoors. In the hot summer months, or in dry climates, a household's outdoor water use can be as high as 70 percent.

  • Native and drought tolerant plants can make a beautiful alternative to unused turf areas in your yard. WSU Cooperative Extension has many resources to assist home gardeners with landscaping using native plants.
  • Purchase an inexpensive hose timer to avoid over-watering. Soaker hoses are also a great option for avoiding evaporation.
  • Collecting rainwater to use on your landscape can help you save water.
  • Many local water providers offer rebates on efficient irrigation devices.
  • Use a broom or electric blower to clean driveways and sidewalks, rather than hosing them off.
  • When washing your car, use an adjustable nozzle or sprayer and turn off the water stream while soaping your vehicle.

Videos and resources

Note: Most water utilities have conservation programs, including rebates on water-efficient appliances. Check your local utility website.

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