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How to Conserve Water Indoors

W.H. Auden wrote, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” Indeed, the average American home uses 140 to 170 gallons of water every day. Cut that in half with some water-saving tips.


  • Step 1: Replace your old water guzzler with a low-flow toilet. By law, new toilets must use 1.6 gallons of water per flush or less to get the job done, compared to 5 to 7 gallons in the old days.
  • Step 2: If you can’t get a new toilet, make sure yours doesn’t have a leak, which can waste up to 100 gallons a day. Put some food coloring in the tank and watch to see if the color spreads to the bowl without flushing.
  • TIP: Save even more water by not flushing every single time. Think: If it’s brown, flush it down. If it’s yellow, let is mellow."
  • Step 3: Don’t linger in the shower, and maximize shower efficiency by installing a water-saving showerhead. These use only 2.5 gallons per minute.
  • Step 4: Put low-flow faucet aerators on all your faucet heads.
  • Step 5: Turn off the faucet while shaving or brushing your teeth, and don’t let it run while scrubbing the kitchen counter either.
  • Step 6: A leaky faucet can waste 20 gallons of water a day. Check for leaks around the house and fix or replace plumbing if necessary.
  • Step 7: When buying a new dishwasher look for water-saving models. Save more water by rinsing dishes only lightly or not at all before loading them.
  • TIP: Wait until you have a full load before running your dishwasher.
  • Step 8: Finally, new clothes washers can save on both water and electric bills. Look for a washer with an Energy Star label and a water factor of 9.5 or below. As with the dishwasher, only wash full loads.
  • FACT: New York City’s water use dropped 28% after the city installed meters, gave rebates for low-flow toilets, and got aggressive about fixing leaks.

You Will Need

  • A water-efficient toilet
  • A little food coloring
  • A low-flow showerhead
  • Faucet aerators
  • A dishwasher that uses water efficiently
  • A water-saving washer
  • And to change a few old habits
  • A brick

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