Get Water-Wise: 170+ Ways to Conserve (Save) Water

In modern homes we’ve got water coming out the walls – from faucets to flushing toilets, there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of water… or is there?

In fact, water shortages affect many communities across the United States. Precipitation is decreasing as population – and water consumption – grows. And droughts in states like California have been ongoing for years.

With flowing water no longer something that can be taken for granted, we need to start exploring ways of saving water.

Save the water – save the world…

Save Water Save Earth

For those of you worrying about your houseplants, or even your personal hygiene, have no fear. Saving water doesn’t have to mean a significant change to your lifestyle.

Saving water is all about making small changes to your daily habits.

Building awareness about when water can be used, or reused, and recycled.

It’s about spreading that awareness through your family and community.

Why We Should Be Conserving Water Every Day

Although these small changes might seem like a drop in the ocean, they add up to big savings.

Every Little Helps

A case study: the leaky faucet. A single drop every five seconds might not seem like much, but it adds up. In fact, over the course of a year, these drops can total over 1000 gallons of water, wasted down the drain.

This proves that small changes can have a big impact – fixing the leaky tap, plopping dropped ice cubes in your houseplants or picking up a permanent plastic water bottle can save tens of thousands of gallons of water each year. Be the change!

Saving The Planet

Conserving water is also an important step in preserving the delicate balance struck between human existence and the ecosystem around us.

It’s easy to forget that all the water around us has to come from somewhere – that’s local river supplies and wetlands.

By saving water, you’re reducing the strain you place on the local environment. And in times of drought, it’s especially important that there’s enough water to go around.

Saving water has a real tangible impact on the environment, and it also strengthens the connection we feel to the world around us.

Saving Your Wallet

Using your water wisely can also have a big impact on your wallet. A large proportion of our energy bills, for example, comes from heating water – so finding ways to be more efficient with your water consumption can dramatically reduce the costs associated with heating in your home.

From instant water heaters to insulated pipes, these small tweaks can lead to big savings!

In some states, water comes at a premium. In California, for example, droughts have caused the cost of utilities to sky-rocket, costing families big time when they don’t cut down their water usage. These water-saving tips are vital to keep your water bills down.

So there you go – with water-saving tips, you can save your wallet. Make it rain!

170+ Everyday Ways To Conserve Water

Saving water starts by making small changes.

Here are 170+ easy tips for conserving water – and saving the planet:

Kitchen Tips

Whether it’s washing dishes or simply drinking water, the kitchen is one place you can save water by the gallon. 

Did you know that cleaning dishes in the sink can use around 30 gallons of water? That’s the same as an average bath!

  1. Get a dishwasher! Hand washing can use up to nine times more water than a dishwasher.
  2. If you have a newer model dishwasher, you can skip rinsing your plates. Contemporary dishwashers do this well.
  3. Make energy efficiency a priority – energy-saving models of dishwashers are often the most economical, too.
  4. Don’t run a half-load in your dishwasher. It’s more efficient to let the dishes pile up and run it at full capacity.
  5. Experiment with quick-wash settings on your dishwasher. They’ll use less water and might be just as effective.
  6. If you’re hand-washing your dishes, fill a basin rather than letting the taps run.
  7. If you have to run the water while you wait for it to heat up, catch it in a bucket. This can be used to clean pets, your car, or to water your plants.
  8. When you’re drinking water throughout the day, re-use the same glass or get a plastic water bottle. Avoid using multiple glasses and having to wash them all!
  9. Fill up a pitcher of drinking water and use this for refills – running the tap always means losing water to wasteful drips.
  10. And keep this pitcher in your fridge – never run the faucet waiting for the cold water to hit.
  11. Soak your stick pots and pans overnight rather than scrubbing them with excessive water.
  12. The garbage disposal eats water – try composting your refuse fruits and vegetables.
  13. You don’t need to rinse your fruit to clean it – just dip it in a pan of water. Clean all your fruit straight from the grocery store to prevent rinsing each piece individually!
  14. Or collect the water from rinsing your fruit and feed it to your houseplants!
  15. Plan ahead for defrosting food – put frozen meals in the refrigerator for 24 hours to defrost, rather than placing them under running water.
  16. An instant water heater installed by your sink stops you from running the tap while water heats up.
  17. Switch from boiling your veggies to steaming them – it’s healthier and uses a fraction of the water.
  18. If you are boiling vegetables, don’t throw out the water – save it as a base for soups as it’s already packed with veggie nutrients!
  19. It’s easy to get distracted while you’re cooking, but make sure you never leave faucets running moving from one thing to the next.
  20. Pick your pans – using pans that are too big will mean it takes longer to cook your food and wastes water in the process.
  21. Find a kettle with a water gauge on the side – this way you can boil exactly the water you need for one cup of tea or three.
  22. Find out the water footprint of the things you consume in the kitchen.
  23. Plant-based protein sources use a fraction of water in their production when compared with meat products. Try going vegetarian a few nights a week.
  24. Plant-based milk such as almond and oat use less water in their production than traditional cow’s milk.
  25. Fresh fruits, veggies and grains require less water to produce than processed foods. Stay fresh!
  26. And then you’re leaving a cup of tea to brew, set a time so you don’t forget about it. Don’t waste cold tea down the sink!
  27. Buy an energy-efficient ice-maker, they use minimum water in their ice production.
  28. Dropped ice cubes can be saved – pop them in a houseplant!
  29. Water spills can be swept up in a dustpan and fed to your plants!

Bathroom TIPS

We can waste or save water in the bathroom in so many ways.

Did you know a toilet can lose around 100 gallons a day draining from the cistern to the pan? And whilst a leaky faucet is easily spotted, this time of wastage is hidden from the eye.

  1. Test out your shower – see how fast it fills a one-gallon bucket, and switch to an economical showerhead if it’s quicker than 20 seconds.
  2. Try to cut a minute or two off your shower – every extra second is water wasted.
  3. Make sure your shower is fitted with an instant water heater – don’t pour gallons down the drain waiting for it to warm up.
  4. You can turn off the water while you wash your hair, then turn it back on to rinse.
  5. Time your showers and limit them to five minutes max – make this a rule for your whole family to save the most water.
  6. Experiment with showering less – during cold snaps you can skip a few days.
  7. A steam shower can clean you just as effectively with half the water – and gives you that blissful spa experience.
  8. Washing with a bar of soap is quicker because it reduces less lather to rinse off.
  9. When you’re filling up the bath, plug the basin before you turn on the tap. The cold water will regulate the temperature.
  10. And a bath doesn’t need to be filled to the brim. Remember that when a body gets in, the water will rise. Eureka!
  11. Modern toilets have water-saving sensors – consider upgrading to a contemporary, economical model.
  12. They used to say “If it’s yellow, let it mellow” – but a dual flushing toilet lets you use a half-flush for liquid waste. Water-saving, and more hygienic!
  13. And only flush your toilet when there’s waste – tissues can go in the trash and save gallons of water from unnecessary flushing!
  14. A bucket of water flushes the toilet just as well as using its own flush – if you have spare water from guttering or cooking, you can use that to flush!
  15. Switch to a water-conserving toilet with low-flow capacity. This can use a third of the water in each flush.
  16. Keep your eyes peeled for toilet leaks – get your toilet checked for leaks every year by a registered plumber!
  17. A few drops of food coloring wil]l dye your toilet water – and let you see if any water’s draining away!
  18. Washing your hands is essential – but turn off the taps while you’re soaping up.
  19. Installing aerators on your faucets can cut their water consumption in half without impacting flow or feel.
  20. Don’t leave taps running when you’re brushing your teeth. A splash of water on your toothbrush and a rinse is all you need.
  21. Don’t tolerate a drip – get leaks showerheads and faucets fixed immediately!

Laundry Room Tips

Laundry rooms consume enormous amounts of energy and water. Only running the washing machine with a full load can save you thousands of gallons of water each year.

  1. Washing machines come in all shapes and sizes – choose a water-saving model to reduce consumption.
  2. Only wash clothes when they’re dirty – some people say jeans never need to be washed!
  3. Reuse your towels at home and in hotels. Don’t take a fresh towel each day when you travel.
  4. If you live alone or without children, consider a compact washing machine for small loads.
  5. Washing dark colors with cold-water washes saves water and energy, and prolongs the lifespan of your clothing.
  6. Wastewater from your washing machine doesn’t have to be wasted – check local regulations to see if this grey after can be rerouted to your garden.
  7. Get to know your washer – some modes, washing cycles and temperature options will have a dramatic impact on water consumption.
  8. Plan ahead! Got a favorite pair of jeans? Never just wash them alone – plan ahead so you can put on a full wash every time.
  9. Ditch the dryer – dryers are a heavy drain on electricity, which requires water to produce!


Watering the garden can use 5 gallons every 10 square feet. Using smart sprinkler systems can have a huge impact on your water consumption.

  1. A professionally installed smart irrigation system can water your lawn efficiently.
  2. If you get the hose out in your garden, set a timer. Hose pipes can use up to ten gallons of water a minute, so every second counts.
  3. If you’re installing a new lawn, take a deep dive into varieties of grass. Some need more water than others, and may not be suitable for the climate you live in.
  4. For an arid climate, try Dormant Bermuda grass – this type of lawn can need to be watered just once every few months.
  5. When it comes time to mow your lawn, set the mower to leave the grass a little longer. Longer blades shade the soil and store water for longer.
  6. Once mown, distribute the lawn clippings across your lawn. This top gardener's tip keeps your grass cool and healthy.
  7. When you’re watering the flowers, check the soil first – unless it’s dry down to around three inches, your plants will still be drawing in adequate water.
  8. Your lawn needs water when your footsteps leave a print. If the blades of grass are springing back into place, there’s no need to water.
  9. And it’s natural for your lawn to go brown over winter – everything has its season. Let it happen and don’t overwater.
  10. Weed your garden regularly – unwanted plant life is just added competition for water in your garden. Don’t waste water on weeds!
  11. Swap the hose for a watering can which spreads the water more thinly.
  12. When landscaping, use the concept of a “water budget” to choose your plants. Align your water budget with what your climate can handle.
  13. Use fertilizer sparingly as it encourages water consumption alongside excessive growth in your garden.
  14. Aerate your lawn by drilling six-inch holes across it – this allows water to be better absorbed into the soil.
  15. Check your sprinkler system regularly to ensure the coverage is restricted to your lawn – don’t waste water on the sidewalk!
  16. Watering your garden early in the morning or in the evening when it’s cooler limits any evaporation and lets your plants get the most from the moisture.
  17. Don’t water your garden on windy days – the wind will whip away the water into the air.
  18. Turn off your sprinkler system if it’s forecast to rain!
  19. Or install a rain sensor in your irrigation system so it can switch itself off!
  20. Regularly check your sprinkler system for leaks – or call out a plumber to do so!
  21. Sweeping your patios and walkways is just as good as hosing them down for cleanliness – and it saves a ton of water.
  22. Watch out for water running off your lawn – water your garden in short spells to ensure every drop is absorbed.
  23. Watch out for overwatering. Not only does it waste water, but it can kill your plants quicker than a dry spell!
  24. Algae or fungal growth on your plants is a sign of overwatering – give your plants a few days to dry out.
  25. Catch rainwater from your gutters and use this to water your garden.
  26. But check local ordinances to see whether this is permitted – it remains illegal to gather rainwater in some states.
  27. Prune your plants to limit water consumption. Healthier plants will waste less water.
  28. Be careful when watering hanging plants – water can be wasted dripping out the bottom.
  29. Place ice cubes in your hanging baskets to allow slow water consumption – and no waste draining out the bottom.

Exploring Xeriscape Landscaping

Xeriscape landscaping was invented in Colorado in the 1980s to encourage citizens to produce flourishing gardens in times of drought. It can reduce water consumption by as much as 60% in the garden.

  1. Xeriscape landscaping is a landscaping practice designed to limit the use of water – and it can revolutionize your garden’s water consumption.
  2. Landscaping classes exist to introduce gardeners to these practices – reach out to your local garden center to see what you can learn!
  3. Grouping similar classes of plants together allows you to avoid overwatering plants simply because they’re adjacent to other plants.
  4. Tilt towards plants that thrive in drier environments such as cacti.
  5. Using more porous materials for your patios and pathways allows all water to be absorbed, rather than running off and out of your property.
  6. A layer of mulch on your flower beds will prevent weeds from sprouting and stealing precious water.
  7. Keep your lawn on flat surfaces – steep areas are hard to water as runoff turns into waste.
  8. If your garden is on an incline, consider creating tiers to promote water absorption.
  9. Divert your guttering into your flower beds so that every drop of rainwater gets put to good use!

Pool Tips

Ditching the private pool for the community baths isn’t the only way to save water – there are plenty of economical ways to minimize water wastage at the pool.

  1. Use a pool cover to keep your pool clean – dredging your pool and replacing the pool water unnecessarily wastes gallons.
  2. A pool cover can also prevent evaporation, maintaining your pool level for longer.
  3. Learn to tolerate a cooler temperature in the pool – heating it increases water loss through evaporation
  4. Whilst fancy sprays and waterfalls might look and feel good, they increase aeration and evaporation.
  5. Keep your pool level relatively low – an over-full pool will lead to a loss of water through splashing.
  6. If you’re considering building a pool in your back garden, see if there’s a local swimming pool you can join instead. Local pools can be a great community!

Car washing TIPS

Although a drive-through car wash might not look water-efficient, it can actually use a third of the water if you wash your car at home with the garden hose! For motorheads, this can have a big impact on your water consumption.

  1. Research local car washes ahead of time – some are involved in water recycle systems whilst others flush it down the drain!
  2. If you’re washing your car at home, park up on the lawn so none of that excess water goes to waste.
  3. High-pressure hoses at self-service car washes are highly economical. The trigger-grip automatically switches off when not in use.
  4. Never leave the hose running longer than you have to – switch it off while you’re scrubbing.
  5. Or ditch the hose and fill a bucket of water at the faucet. Limit yourself to one bucket for cleaning and another to rinse.
  6. Use permeable materials for your driveway and patio – this allows water to pass through and be absorbed by the soil.
  7. A drive-through car wash can clean your car with just 30 gallons of water – that would get you just a few minutes on the garden hose.
  8. Ask yourself if your car really needs a wash! There’s no shame in a bit of dust, (so long as you can safely see through the windows).

Travel with kid tips

Each individual will use millions of gallons of water in their lifespan. Teaching your kids to save water every day really adds up.

  1. If you need to bathe your kids, consider reusing the bathwater after each kid gets clean!
  2. And teach your kids not to splash in the bath – that’s more water, wasted.
  3. Teach your kids never to leave a tap running – that’s water going down the drain!
  4. And teach them to turn off faucets tightly – it’s easy to leave a drip, so you have to double-check.
  5. Reward your kids when they save water – kids are so imaginative and can come up with great ways of reducing water consumption.
  6. Make sure your kids know to never leave the faucet running while they’re brushing their teeth.
  7. If the kids want to help you cook, put them in charge of saving water! They can make sure you never leave a tap running.
  8. It’s notoriously hard to get kids to drink enough water – don’t fill a glass to the brim in case it gets left to go to waste.
  9. Give your kids a plastic water bottle to take to school – and educate the class on water reduction.
  10. Encourage your school to educate kids on where our water comes from, and the impact wasting water has on the planet.
  11. Kids’ toys such as water tables require multiple refills. Stick to toys that stay dry.
  12. If the kids want to have a water fight in the summer, make sure they do it when the lawn needs to be watered!
  13. If you’re filling a paddling pool in the summer, invite the neighborhood kids over. This prevents every family from filling their own pool and saves countless gallons.

Tips with pets

Animals can’t take responsibility for their water consumption, so we have to do it for them!

  1. When you’re washing your pet, take them to the lawn – runoff water will go to nourishing your plants.
  2. And don’t toss out water from your pet’s bowl – use it on your houseplants or to soak dirty pans!
  3. Look for environmentally friendly pet toys, such as hemp collars and plant fiber chew toys.
  4. Choose a pet that will feel comfortable in the climate you live in – buying a long-haired dog in an arid climate, for example, will require more cleaning, more drinking water and more water consumption.

Office TIPS

Wherever you go there are ways to save water. Why not become a water-saving advocate in your office – it can save your company big bucks as well as help the planet.

  1. Identify the ways your office is using water and see what you can change – when people are spending 40 hours a week at work, small changes in the workplace have a big impact.
  2. If you’re considering building a pool in your back garden, see if there’s a local swimming pool you can join instead. Local pools can be a great community!
  3. If you’re a manager, then start saving water and lead by example.
  4. Use Earth Day as an opportunity to hold a water-saving event. Invite speakers from water conservation charities to inspire your staff.
  5. Whenever you’re inducting new staff members, point out the ways they can save water in the office. You could even share this list!
  6. Give employees company-branded water bottles to reduce plastic consumption and encourage water reduction.
  7. Build a water-saving culture in your office by producing written guidelines about water and publishing your monthly usage.
  8. Create a water-saving suggestions jar in the staffroom – pool your knowledge!
  9. And offer a reward for the employees who come up with the best actionable suggestion.
  10. Install a water filter system in your staff break room – and encourage staff to drink from the faucet rather than buy drinking water in plastic bottles.
  11. Make it easy for personnel to report leaky faucets or burst pipes – a good chain of command means problems are solved faster.
  12. Make it easy for personnel to report leaky faucets or burst pipes – a good chain of command means problems are solved faster.
  13. Make it part of the job of maintenance staff to check for leaks and failures in the water system.
  14. Replacing old toilets and showers with water-efficient models can save hundreds of gallons a day in any medium to large organization.
  15. If your office is packed with houseplants, make sure there are designated staff to water them and that nobody else is doing the job.
  16. Put your fountains on a timer so that they’re only functioning during office hours.
  17. Place a water-saving tip in the email signature of every company newsletter.
  18. Consider working with the local authority to recycle your building’s water.
  19. Business leaders can install sub-meters that closely monitor water consumption. These can highlight the best ways to save water.
  20. Installing a dishwasher in the staffroom can save gallons compared to individual handwashing.

Out and about

Whether you’re at the beach or the bar, there’s always an opportunity to save water – even just by spreading the word!

  1. Turn off the faucets in public restrooms – even if you didn’t turn them on!
  2. If you’re showering after a swim, a quick rinse is all you need to clear off the chlorine or saltwater. Don’t stay for a soak!
  3. Public showers are notoriously leaky – make sure you fully turn them off, and check after a minute that the drips have stopped.
  4. If you encounter a leaky faucet or showerhead, find the right person to report it to. Bars, restaurants and leisure centers can usually fix it right away.
  5. Educate your neighbors, family and local community about water-saving ways. Spreading the word can have a huge impact as conservation habits become the norm.
  6. A burst fire hydrant above a 6” water main can pour out up to 800 gallons a minute. Contact your local fire service immediately if you see a leak!
  7. If you ask for tap water in a restaurant, don’t leave any on the table – fill up your portable water bottle before you leave. You do have a portable water bottle, right.

Pluggin leaks

On average, more than 10% of a household’s water consumption is lost in leaks. By eliminating leaks you can save tens of gallons of water each day.

  1. Know the cost of a leak: a leak means a constant stream of water, and from a hole just 1/16th of an inch in diameter you could lose 100 gallons of water a day.
  2. Checking everywhere that can leak is a big job, but needs to be done annually. Check all tubs, sinks, drains and faucets.
  3. Toilets can leak from the cistern to the pan – check there’s no water running before you flush.
  4. Track your water consumption with a water meter – an unexplained spike in water consumption is a sure sign for a hidden leak.
  5. Be prepared to call in the professionals if you can’t find the leak yourself – it’s there.
  6. If you live in rented accomodation, getting landlords to fix leaks can be a challenge. Make sure you know your rights and enforce them with property owners.
  7. On dry days, check your lawn for wet patches – underground leaks can rise up in the soil.
  8. Some refrigerators use water to cool themselves – check underneath your fridge for water on a regular basis.
  9. Don’t forget leaks outside the house! They may not cause property damage but they waste just as much water.

Some final Bonus tips

Anywhere you’re using water there’s a way to save water. A small change in attitude to water waste can have a big impact over days, months and years.

  1. Get your pipes and spigots ready for winter – freezing pipes can burst, leading to costly leaks.
  2. Check your pipes in the autumn and spring to make sure they’re ready for temperature extremes.
  3. And insulating your hot pipes will reduce your energy bills and save you from running taps while you wait for water to warm up.
  4. Instead of washing your car in the driveway using hundreds of gallons, take it to a commercial car wash that uses recycled water.
  5. If you’re cleaning out your fish tank, the old water is packed with nutrients that can nourish your houseplants.
  6. Make sure you’re having appliances and evaporative coolers serviced seasonally – keep them running at optimum levels.
  7. Find the stopcock in your home so you can shut the water off quickly if there’s ever a burst pipe.
  8. Reducing food waste limits the amount of water used in farming, irrigation and food consumption. Try not to throw out anything that can be used.
  9. Water is used in the production process of everything we use, from plastics to clothing. Instead of throwing out clothing, find a way to donate it.
  10. Local thrift stores will accept anything in good condition and families with younger children appreciate hand-me-downs of things your kids have grown out of.
  11. Reducing consumption is a fantastic lifestyle choice that limits the natural resources we’re using – including water!
  12. And lastly, build water conservation into your household’s culture – make it fun for your kids and something the adults do automatically.

Final Thoughts…

No matter where you’re from, you should be trying to conserve water on a daily basis. 

Not only does this cut down your bills and energy costs, but it saves the planet little by little, placing less of a drain on our natural resources.

After hundreds of years of indoor plumbing, flowing water in our homes and offices has become something we take for granted. But there are so many ways you can cut down on your water consumption.

One of the most powerful ways you can conserve water is by raising awareness – so talk to your family, your friends, your colleagues about water-saving tips.

You can save gallons of water a day by cutting down on your water usage – but you can turn that into hundreds of gallons once you persuade everyone around you to save water too!

So don’t let water go down the drain – start saving water today!

Eric Phillips

Hi, I’m Eric, a Plumber, Home Repair Expert and Chief Editor behind Dripfina. I first became interested in water purification and water safety when I spent a couple of years traveling the world. I not only learned the importance of keeping my own water fresh and pure (yes, sometimes the hard way…) but I also saw how important water is as a resource worldwide. Read more about me...

Leave a Comment