Basic Conservation Information
Effective water conservation requires a basic analysis of residential water conservation measures. In deciding what actions to take, one must consider the activities and actions that waste the most water.
Showering and Bathing
Combined, these two activities account for more than 27% of the water used in an average American residence. A 10-minute shower can consume more than 40 gallons of water. In order to reduce water lost to showering and bathing, consider taking shorter showers, and only showering once per day. Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth, shave, and lather your hair. Install a low-flow showerhead and save half the amount of water you use.
Since this water does not need to be pure, it could easily come from a source other than the municipal water system. If you have a small garden, a rain barrel is a perfect option for your watering.
In the average home, toilet flushing accounts for more than 800 gallons of water use per week, or 30% of all indoor water use. Installing low-flow toilets, or toilets that utilize a dual-flush system, can reduce the impact of toilet flushing on your water use.
Washing dishes consumes more water than some people imagine. To cut down on wasted water, use the dishwasher — it only requires eight to 12 gallons to get the job done. Hand washing, on the other hand, requires up to 20. If you must do the dishes by hand, fill the sink with soapy water rather than letting the faucet run constantly.
Although modern washing machines are relatively efficient, washing clothing still consumes a good deal of water. To decrease water use, wash only full loads in your washing machine. Run the washing machine when you have enough laundry to use the Large or Extra Large cycle. Also, consider purchasing a high-efficiency washing machine if you ever decide to upgrade your current model.