Opportunities to cut back on usage exist through your home or business. For example, did you know outdoor watering accounts for up to 70% of household use? This fall, as you plan new landscaping or a garden, consider ways to control water usage.
Need ideas? Scroll down for conservation tips or check out these resources for advice:
- Get gardening and planting tips at Plant-Something.org.
- Adjust your watering schedule to accommodate your plants' fall needs.
We tend to think of bathrooms and laundry rooms as the places where most of our water use takes place, but in Greater Phoenix, the biggest water savings can result by making changes to the way you use water outdoors.
Use the left and right arrow keys to explore ways you can save water outside your home.
- Choose xeriscape (low-water-use landscaping). SRP’s outdoor landscaping tool can help you generate ideas for a beautiful, colorful yard that suits your tastes.
- Learn the proper way to water your landscape. In addition to conserving water, it keeps plants healthy.
- Use porous materials like bricks for walkways instead of concrete so that rainwater can stay in your yard instead of becoming wasted runoff.
- Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering or underwatering.
- Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs to allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil and reduce evaporation.
- Let your lawn go dormant (brown) in the winter. Dormant Bermuda grass only needs to be watered every 15-30 days, less if it rains.
- Check for leaks in your irrigation system.
- Use old tuna cans to measure watering depth: 3/4–1 inch is enough water for lawns per cycle.
- Don’t overwater in the winter. Without rain, winter lawns (Rye) need water every 7-14 days; summer lawns (Bermuda), every 15-30 days. Convert unused lawn areas to xeriscape.
- Adjust your lawn mower to the height of 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better.
- Get more outdoor water tips from Water — Use It Wisely.
- Minimize waste by sweeping patios and driveways instead of washing them down with a garden hose.
- Wash your pets on the lawn.
- When giving your pet fresh water, pour the old water on plants.
- Use a commercial car wash that recycles the water.
Whether cooking, doing the dishes or cleaning up, water is a regular part of kitchen activities. Some of the best conservation in the kitchen starts by changing your habits. Shut off faucets when not in use and reuse water from cooking and cleaning for other purposes.
- Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
- Dump the used water on houseplants or landscaping.
- Thaw food in the refrigerator instead of using running water for water efficiency and food safety.
- Use the minimum amount of water required when cooking.
- Select the proper pan size to reduce water use.
Sink and faucet
- Repair leaks! Leaky faucets can account for up to 5% of your household’s total usage. Fixing them can save up to 140 gallons per week.
- Install water-saving aerators on all faucets.
- If washing by hand, fill the two basins of your sink – one with soap and water, the other with rinsing water.
- If you use a dishwasher, scrape plates instead of rinsing them.
- Only run the dishwasher when it’s full.
- Time to replace an old dishwasher? Consider one with the ENERGY STAR® label to save water and energy. New ENERGY STAR certified models include several innovations that reduce energy and water consumption and improve performance, including soil sensor, improved water filtration, more efficient jets and innovative dish rack design that maximize cleaning.
Showers, toilets and faucets can account for up to 30% of indoor water use, so the opportunities for water savings are big in the bathroom.
- Install a water-efficient showerhead. You can check if you have one by placing a 5-gallon bucket under the shower for one minute. If it fills up more than halfway, there are more efficient showerheads available.
- Take shorter showers.
- Taking a bath? Plug the drain and don’t let the cold water go to waste; use additional hot water to get the bath to the correct temperature. Or, collect the cold bath water (or shower water) to water plants.
- Learn to “Shower Better” from EPA WaterSense.
- If your toilet was installed prior to 1994 replace it with a water-saving EPA WaterSense toilet.
- Check for toilet leaks by placing food coloring in your tank. Watch this how-to video.
- Consider a dual-flush toilet, which uses less water for flushing non-solids.
- Don’t use your toilet as a trash can for tissues and other bathroom waste.
- Consider a WaterSense toilet if you plan to upgrade.
Older washing machines use up to 50 gallons of water, while newer front load ENERGY STAR labeled models use between 18-20 gallons. When it’s time to upgrade, compare efficiency between models. The results can lead to big savings for families. Some other ways to conserve water in the laundry room:
- Only do full loads; or match the size of the load to the water level.
- Use shorter wash cycles if clothes aren’t heavily soiled.
- Pre-treat stains to prevent multiple washings.
- Wash clothes in cold water to save water and energy while helping to retain their color.
- Check hoses for leaks.
Swimming pools can lose up to 15,000 gallons of water annually to evaporation and even more when they leak. These tips will help reduce water loss.
There are a variety of tools available to help reduce your water consumption.
Attend an event and increase your water awareness and conservation know-how.
- Water Conservation Expo
- Municipal conservation classes
- Municipal events
- One for Water 4-Miler
- Canal Convergence
Connect with your Municipality
Your municipal conservation office can connect you to numerous resources to further enhance your water conservation knowledge, from classes to hands-on experience in irrigation, landscaping and more. Some may offer water conservation rebate programs and/or audit programs.
- City of Mesa
- City of Scottsdale
- City of Tempe
- City of Phoenix
- City of Chandler
- City of Glendale
- City of Peoria
- City of Avondale
- City of Tolleson
- City of Apache Junction
- Town of Gilbert
- Town of Queen Creek
- Town of Fountain Hills
- Arizona Municipal Water Users Association
- Arizona Cooperative Extension
- Arizona Department of Water Resources
- Central Arizona Project
- Water – Use It Wisely
- U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
- U.S. Forest Service
- Arizona Game and Fish