Water Conservation Tips

DocumentThere are many compelling reasons why individuals decide to conserve water. Some may do so in order to reduce a monthly water bill. Sometimes drought and a utility company's implementation of a water conservation plan is the reason for a homeowner to change old habits. Whatever the reason, using water wisely makes sense. With discipline, planning and the investment in improved water-efficiency equipment, average consumers can be above average water savers. Check the links to the left for more tips.

Water facts
The amount of safe water could drop by 40% in 15 years if people do not change the way they use water.

Agriculture takes about 60% of the state’s water.

The United States uses nearly 346 million gallons of fresh water every day.  

The City of Desoto uses approximately 5,744,020 gallons of water per day, or 114 gallons per person.
Water Conservation Tips
Water Leaks & Detection
Studies show that dripping faucets and leaking toilets account for as much as 14% of all indoor water use, equivalent to 10 gallons (38 liters) per person of water lost per day.


  • Use your water meter to check for leaks in your home.
  • Start by turning off all faucets and water-using appliances and make sure no one uses water during the testing period.
  • Take a reading on your water meter, wait for about 30 minutes, and then take a second reading. If the dial has moved, you have a leak.

  • The most common source of leaks is the toilet. Check toilets for leaks by placing a few drops of food coloring in the tank.
  • If after 15 minutes the dye shows up in the bowl, the toilet has a leak.
  • Leaky toilets can usually be repaired inexpensively by replacing the flapper.

  • The next place to check for leaks is your sink and bathtub faucets.
  • Dripping faucets can usually be repaired by replacing the rubber O-ring or washer inside the valve.

  • Toilets can account for almost 30% of all indoor water use, more than any other fixture or appliance. Older toilets (installed prior to 1994) use 3.5 to 7 gallons (13-27 liters) of water per flush and as much as 20 gallons (76 liters) per person per day.
  • Replacing an old toilet with a new model can save the typical household 7,900 to 21,700 gallons (29,902 - 82,135 liters) of water per year, cutting both your water and wastewater bills.
  • An average of 20% of toilets leak.
  • Install an ultra low-flow toilet that requires only 1.6 gallons (6 liters) per flush.
  • To ensure optimal performance, when installing a low-flow toilet in areas with a low drainage gradient (such as basements), consider a pressurized model.
  • Check toilets periodically for leaks and repair them promptly.
  • Reduce the amount of water used by an older toilet by placing a one gallon plastic jug of water, or two one quart bottles, in the tank to displace toilet flows.
  • Consider installing a "dam" that partitions off a section of the tank so it can't fill with water.
  • These methods can save over 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters) of water per person per year.
Showers & Faucets
  • The third highest use of indoor water is bathing, and because most of us like to use warm water when we bathe, it is also the second highest use of energy in the home.
  • Take a quick shower rather than a bath and save an average of 20 gallons (76 liters) of water.
  • Install a water-efficient showerhead with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons (9.5 liters) per minute. (Replace an existing shower head if a one gallon bucket placed under the flow takes less than 20 seconds to fill.)
  • Install aerators on your kitchen and bathroom faucets to reduce indoor water use by as much as 4%.
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving and save more than 5 gallons (19 liters) per day.
  • Clean vegetables in a sink or pan partially filled with water rather than running water from the tap. Re-use the water that vegetables are washed in for watering houseplants or for cleaning.
  • If you wash dishes by hand, rinse them in a sink partially filled with clean water instead of under running water.
  • Instead of waiting for tap water to get cold enough for drinking, keep a bottle of water in the refrigerator.
  • Whenever possible, compost food scraps or dispose of them in the garbage rather than using the garbage disposal which requires a high level of water for operation.
Major Appliances

Clothes washers can use as much as 30-35 gallons (114-133 liters) of water per cycle and dishwashers as much as 25 gallons (95 liters) per cycle. A full dishwasher is more water efficient than washing the same load by hand. Energy efficient appliances are usually water efficient, too.


  • Only run your dishwasher when it is full to make the best use of water, energy and detergent.
  • Cut down on the amount of rinsing you do before loading the dishwasher. Most modern dishwashers do an excellent job of cleaning dishes, pots and pans all by themselves.
  • When purchasing a new appliance, look for one offering several different cycles. This will allow you to select more energy and water efficient cycles when heavy-duty cleaning is not required.

  • Wait until you have a full load of laundry before running the machine to save both water and energy. If you can't wait for a full load, use the right water level to match the size of the load.
  • When in the market for a new machine, consider a high-efficiency model that will use an average of 30% less water and 40-50% less energy.
  • Insulate your hot water pipes and your electric water heater. Insulation will reduce the amount of time it takes for hot water to reach the tap, saving water and energy.
  • If in the market for a new water softener, consider one with a "hardness sensor" that will automatically trigger regeneration as needed. This type of softener will make the most efficient use of both water and salt.
General Outdoor

  • Wash your car with a bucket of soapy water and use a nozzle to stop the flow of water from the hose between rinsing. Clean driveways and sidewalks with a broom instead of the hose. Check for leaks in outdoor faucets, pipes and hoses.
  • Prevent the creation of leaks by shutting off and draining water lines to outside spigots in the winter.
  • Cover your spa or pool to reduce evaporation. An average size pool left uncovered can lose as much as 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters) of water per month. Also, check your spa/pool for leaks and have them repaired promptly.
  • As much as 30% of water can be lost to evaporation by watering the lawn during midday.
  • Homes with in-ground sprinkler systems use 35% more water outdoors than those who do not have an in-ground system. One reason may be that system controllers are not adjusted according to seasonal irrigation needs.
General Watering
  • Water before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. and avoid watering on windy days.
  • Water in several short sessions rather than one long one. For example, three ten minute sessions spaced 30 minutes to an hour apart will allow your lawn to better absorb moisture than one straight 30 minute session.
  • Only water when your lawn is thirsty.
  • Over-watering promotes shallow root growth making your lawn less hardy.
  • To determine if your lawn needs to be watered, simply walk across the grass. If you leave footprints, it's time to water.
  • Install moisture sensors in each irrigation zone (sunny, shady, etc.) to better determine irrigation needs.
Sprinklers & Sprinkler Systems
  • Check sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the heads in good repair.
  • Adjust the timer on automatic sprinklers according to seasonal water demands and weather conditions.
  • Install a rain shut-off device on automatic sprinklers to eliminate unneeded applications.
  • Make sure your sprinkler is placed so it only waters the lawn, not the pavement.
  • Avoid sprinklers that spray a fine mist, which increases evaporation.
Drip Irrigation
  • Install a drip irrigation system for watering gardens, trees and shrubs.
  • Drip irrigation provides a slow, steady trickle of water to plants at their roots through a network of hidden pipes and hoses.
  • The systems are regulated by a controller that can be adjusted for different levels of watering according to the needs of the plants.
  • Drip irrigation systems reduce over-watering, inefficient watering, weed growth, and the time and labor involved in hand watering.