How many gallons can you save with these water usage tips?

  1. Water your lawn only when it needs it. Step on your grass. If it springs back, when you lift your foot, it doesn’t need water. Setting your sprinklers for more days in between watering, saves 750-1,500 gallons per month. Better yet, especially in times of drought, water with a hose. And best of all, convert your lawn to native plants.
  2. Fixing leaky faucets and plumbing joints. Saves 20 gallons per day for every leak stopped.
  3. Turn off the water while shaving. Filling the bottom of the sink with a few inches of water to rinse your razor, saves three gallons each day.
  4. Installing water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors, saves 500 to 800 gallons per month.
  5. Running only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher, saves 300 to 800 gallons per month.
  6. Don’t defrost frozen foods with running water. Either plan ahead by placing frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or defrost them in the microwave will save you 50 to 150 gallons a month.
  7. Shorten your showers. Even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month.
  8. Don’t use your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Doing this can save 400 to 600 gallons per month.
  9. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth, saves three gallons each day.
  10. When washing dishes by hand, use the least amount of detergent possible. This minimizes rinse water usage, saving 50 to 150 gallons a month.
  11. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. This beats running tap water to cool it for drinking, saving 200 to 300 gallons a month.
  12. Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage more (even better–compost!). Doing this saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.
  13. Set lawn mower blades one notch higher. Longer grass means less evaporation. Less evaporation means saving 500 to 1,500 gallons each month.
  14. When taking your car to a car wash–a good idea for saving water–be sure it’s one of the many that recycles its wash water.

What else is water used for?

Water is an essential ingredient in most manufacturing operations. Cutting down on our purchases of material things–from clothes and shoes to paper and appliances—could conserve and protect water supplies as effectively as installing a low-flush toilet. (Water usage information below from Last Oasis, by Sandra Postel)

  • Producing a typical U.S. car requires more than 50 times its weight in water (39,090 gallons)! Choosing a fuel-efficient model will help–it takes 44 gallons of water to refine one gallon of crude oil and up to 1,700 gallons of water to produce a gallon of ethanol.
  • A kilogram (2.2 lbs) of hamburger or steak produced by a typical California beef cattle operation, for instance, uses some 20,500 liters (5,400 gal.) of water.
  • Producing 1 lb of bread requires 500 gallons of water.
  • Producing 1 serving (8 oz.) of chicken requires 330 gallons of water.
  • Growing one cotton T-shirt requires 256 gallons of water (source: The King of California, by Arax and Wartzman)
  • Producing 1 egg requires over 100 gallons of water.
  • Producing 1 serving (8 fl. oz.) of milk requires 48 gallons of water.
  • Producing 1 serving (2 oz.) of pasta requires 36 gallons of water.
  • Producing 1 serving (4.6 oz.) of oranges requires 14 gallons of water.
  • Producing 1 serving (4.3 oz.) of tomatoes requires 8 gallons of water.
  • A typical American Thanksgiving dinner for six people requires over 30,000 gallons of water.

Saving water also saves energy. Wasting water wastes electricity. Why? Because the biggest use of electricity in most cities is supplying water and cleaning it up after it’s been used! Water heaters account for nearly 1/4 of your home’s energy use, and water heating is usually the third largest energy expense in your home. It typically accounts for about 13% of your utility bill. There are four ways to cut your water heating bills: use less hot water, turn down the thermostat on your water heater insulate your water heater, or buy a new, more efficient water heater.

Average hot water usage:

  • Clothes Washing: 32 gallons
  • Showering: 20 gallons
  • Dishwashing: 12 gallons
  • Preparing Food: 5 gallons
  • Hand Washing: 4 gallons