Top Ten Water Saving Tips

We are dealing with our current financial crisis after it became a crisis. This reactionary style is very “American”. Therefore, I propose we do something “un-American” and attack the looming water crisis with more of a preventative strategy. In fact, that is our only option. It’s not like we have a choice to be reactionary in this potential crisis. We can’t borrow water like we can money.

Waiting for this issue to officially hit home will be too late. Our dehydrated brains will wonder (with increasing difficulty–because our brains are over 80% water) “how could we have prevented this?” 

Here’s how.

Top Ten Daily Water Saving Tips

1. Showering–Shower with someone. Keep showers under 4 minutes. Purchase a low-flow showerhead.
2. Grooming–Turn off the water while you brush your teeth, shave, and while you lather up when washing your hands. Also, make sure there are aerators on all of your faucets.
3. Toilet–If it’s yellow let it mellow. When you need to replace a toilet purchase a low-volume or dual flush toilet.

4. Laundry–Only use when you have a full load.
5. Dishwashing–Only use when you have a full load. If you wash by hand (better choice) don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
6. Compost–Composting eliminates the need for a garbage disposal (water waster) and adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.

7. Outside–Plant native and drought tolerant plants. Only water your lawn when needed (you can tell when by walking across your lawn–if you leave footprints, it’s time to water).
8. Catching it–While waiting for the water in your shower or sink to get hot, use a large cup (sink) or bucket (shower) to catch the water. Also, install a rain barrel to collect rainwater from your gutters. Use the collected water to water your plants and/or wash your car.
9. Fixing it–Fix leaky faucets and toilets!
10. Teaching it–Make suggestions to your employer to conserve water at work. Encourage your city and local schools to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults. Share this article with family and friends (and enemies too–we all use the same water)!

Most of you may have realized I slipped more than 20 water saving tips in here.
Hey, it’s that important…and I’m that sneaky.

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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons–Jose Manual Suarez

27 thoughts on “Top Ten Water Saving Tips”

  1. Ariel:
    All water has been used and reused many times over the last few million years.

    And handwashing dishes does save on one thing: electricity. Seeing as there’s no water shortage I can see (it’s been raining the last two days…it rains 2 or 3 days every week), and seeing as water is always reused, I’d say the non-renewable resources, like coal, are more of an issue.

    Kinda wondering about that 2 sinks thing, though. Does the author run back and forth between the kitchen and the bathroom to wash dishes?

  2. 4 minute shower? How? It takes longer than that just to rinse the shampoo out! And then again for the conditioner. Just hair requires about 15 minutes of running water. Not every day, because then you strip your hair of essential oils, but 4 minutes is only possible for someone with a crew cut.

  3. The advice about dishwashing is WRONG. Washing by hand uses more water, sometimes a LOT more water than a machine.

    Here is some less than obvious advice that will actually help: don’t use a septic system!

    If you use a public sewer, all the water you use will eventually be returned to the system, and then to a river, where the next community will get to use it.

    People don’t realize this, but if you live at the bottom of a river your water has been used, and re-used, many times.

    If you are hooked up to a public sewer, the majority of the water you use is recycled, and for the most part you don’t really need to worry about it.

    But if you use a septic system, any water you use is lost. That’s what happened in atlanta during it’s water crisis – most of the people in the area use a septic system.

  4. Number 8 should include catching dripping water under window air conditioners during the summer. On some days you can get a couple gallons.

  5. Quit watering your lawn! I wanna beat old people when they obsessively water their lawns or use sprinkler systems one day after it just rained.

    Grass has survived for millions of years without human intervention, take the hint from god.

  6. I’m a big fan of composting (not so easy when you live in an apartment).

    I’d like to point out one fallacy in the item on dish washing. The instruction to “Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water” is going to be a less efficient use of water than using a dishwasher 99% of the time.

    Just make sure to use an environmentally friendly dishwasher-safe soap.

    If I do wash dishes by hand, the most I will fill with water is a pot, but usually no more than a drinking glass.

    If you wash your dishes (and silverware) as soon as you’re done using them, you shouldn’t have to use more than to rinse the plate off. If there’s still remnants on a plate, scrub it off with a sponge or scrubber, then rinse again.

    I guarantee my hand-washing procedure would use no more than 1/2 the water that the author of this article would use.

  7. DON’T let it mellow… Unless you are the only one who uses that toilet. People don’t like to have other peoples piss stinking up the place.

  8. Home use is a drop in the bucket compared to agricultural and industrial use. Of course, the real problem is pollution in the ecosphere. Ultimately we will have to treat all our water and find a way to keep pollutants and particulate matter under control by transforming it into nontoxic products.

    The unfortunate wild goose chase of global warming is keeping us from addressing the real problems we and our descendants will face.

  9. These low flow aerators are great, instead of spending 1 minute of my time washing my hands, it now takes 5 minutes to do the job! Yep these aerator water savers and low flow shower heads should greatly help me waste hours of my life struggling to get the soap off!!!!! Congratulations for finding yet one more way for me to get less done!

  10. When I use water in activities where it goes down the drain, what happens to it next? I was always under the mistaken impression it was recycled and then pushed back into supply. So why does it matter if I let water run straight into a drain or not?

  11. This is a really great post. Thank you for spreading the word. Posts like this help all of us to become more aware with what we are given on earth – even though there is a lot of H2O, it is finite. Joe, do you have any case studies that you can share? What are the real cost savings and water savings when someone makes these very positive changes. All the best, Jason.

  12. watering grass is foolish, but if you need to do it, make sure you let your grass grow as long as your local laws will allow (or as high as your mower will cut). this will help the grass from drying out more than anything else. it’ll also save on the chore (less mowing) and money (less gas or electric to run the mower)

  13. Another easy tip, don’t even wash your hands. Just let them become filthy and covered in a think film of disgusting crud. Then wipe them off on your spouse.

  14. Dish washer – wash on light instead of normal or heavy duty

    Washing machine – even if you have a full load, don’t crank up the water level all of the way up. We set ours to about 70% and it washes clothes without any problems, even on a full load of laundry.

  15. Today’s dishwashers use LESS water than hand washing. Of course, it also helps to point out that many places in the US have a fresh water SURPLUS and the only reason to conserve is to make your water bill go down. So really, No. 11 could be MOVE from the Southwest part of the United States to places which have plenty of water.

  16. I’m not sure about other states, but here in Utah it is actually illegal to harness rainwater unless you own the water rights to your property, which most homeowners don’t.

  17. Jennifer O'Neill

    There is a fabulous product that we installed with our existing sink and faucet (no expensive renovations!) called a sinkpedal. It allows you to control your faucet with a foot pedal, saving tons of water in the kitchen and/or bath. You can find it at

  18. With regards to making sure there are aerators on all of your faucets one should also know that there are low flow aerators. Typical low flow is 2.5 gallons per minute but there are actually aerators that restrict water as low as .5 gallons per minute here is a link to examples, you can’t buy them here but can get them at the hardware store. I have actually heard a company is coming out with a .33 gallon per minute aerators.

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