How to Conserve Water & Reduce Your Water Bill

5 minute read Graham Lumley Last update January 2024

Knowing how to save water is essential in areas like Texas that are prone to drought. But learning more about how to conserve water around the house and in your yard isn’t just helpful for ensuring you have enough for your daily needs — it’s also good for the environment and can help lower your monthly utility bills. 

14 Ways to Conserve Water at Home

Of the 1.6 million new residents the US gained between 2022 and 2023, nearly 30% live in Texas.

With the state population expanding so quickly, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has voiced concerns that supply may be unable to keep up with demand in the long term

Follow this comprehensive list of water savings tips to maximize your precious supply. 

1. Turn Off Faucets When Not in Use

Of the easiest ways to save water during everyday activities is to close the faucet while you’re doing other things:

  • Turn off tap water while brushing your teeth, shaving, washing your face, or lathering your hands. Only turn the water back on when you need it for rinsing.
  • Fill a bowl or basin for washing fruit and vegetables instead of letting the faucet run continuously.
  • When cooking, turn off tap water between different steps, such as rinsing vegetables or filling pots.
  • If you have a two-sided kitchen sink, fill one side with soapy water and the other with clean water rather than rinsing continuously.
  • Fill a jug for drinking water and place it in the refrigerator to cool down rather than running the faucet until the tap water is cool.
  • Thaw food in the refrigerator overnight rather than running the tap for defrosting. 

2. Don’t Use Your Toilet for Garbage Disposal

Avoid flushing non-organic items like tissues, animal litter, feminine hygiene products, baby wipes, and cotton balls. It wastes gallons of water over time, contributing to an unnecessarily high water bill. Aside from being one of the most simple ways to save water, being conscious of what you flush can save you from costly repair fees, as foreign objects are among the top four causes of toilet clogs in American homes.

3. Compost Food Waste

Want to know how to conserve water and reduce food waste simultaneously? Easy! Simply add organic matter to a compost bin rather than your regular trash can. Garbage disposal trucks demand a continuous water flow to function effectively, so diverting food scraps reduces municipal water consumption. Additionally, it provides nutrient-rich fertilizer for your vegetables, garden beds, window boxes, and more. Just remember not to compost meat, dairy, pet waste, or anything that contains food coloring. You can learn more about getting started in our guide to composting for beginners

4. Sweep Sidewalks and Driveways

Avoiding using a hose for cleaning sidewalks and driveways is sometimes a requirement in Texas, as many public water systems put restrictions in place to mitigate excess water use via home irrigation systems. However, using a broom rather than a hose isn’t just an effective way of saving water — it also plays a crucial role in preventing unnecessary runoff, which carries debris, chemicals, and oils into stormwater systems. 

5. Install Water Saving Appliances

Investing in efficient appliances like water-saving shower heads and a high-efficiency washing machine or dishwasher means you don’t even need to think about how to conserve water, as advanced technology does it for you. When shopping around, look for appliances with a WaterSense label to guarantee optimum efficiency without compromising performance.

6. Go Low-Flow

Low-flow faucet aerators come as standard in new kitchen and bathroom faucet installations, and upgrades for older models are widely available. Practical tips for conserving water in the bathroom include replacing old, high-volume shower heads and toilet tanks with low-flow alternatives. Low-flow toilets use as little as 0.8 to 1.28 gallons per flush, saving up to 4,000 gallons annually compared to a standard 1.6 gallon capacity toilet tank. 

7. Check Faucets for Leaks

A seemingly minor leak can equate to a significant increase in your water meter. That’s why one of our top tips to save water includes regularly inspecting your faucets, pipes, and household appliances to maintain the efficiency of your plumbing system. It’s also a good idea to check your house water meter weekly so you can identify and resolve problems quickly if you notice an unusual jump.  

8. Cut Down on Lawn Watering

It’s estimated that of all the water Texans use outdoors, up to 90% is dedicated to maintaining lawns, gardens, and plants. So, how can you conserve water while still ensuring your yard stays lush and green? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Plant drought-resistant lawns, plants, and trees that require less water to thrive.
  • Invest in efficient watering systems with customizable settings for timing, frequency, and duration.
  • Apply a layer of mulch around plants and trees in your lawn to help retain soil moisture.
  • Install moisture sensors in irrigation systems like sprinklers to avoid unnecessary use. 
  • Position sprinklers so all the water lands on the lawn, not the sidewalk or gutter.
  • Always water during the coolest part of the day, and avoid watering on windy days.

9. Minimize Bath and Shower Water Usage

One of the most obvious water conservation tips is to take a shower instead of filling the tub, as a full bathtub requires about 70 gallons of water. In contrast, a five-minute shower uses only 10 to 25 gallons. Aiming for shorter showers is also an effective method of saving hot water — plus, it affords you an extra few minutes of snooze time when your alarm goes off! If you must use the tub, aim to fill it only half full to account for displacement when you get in and try bathing small children together.

10. Try Dual-Flush Toilets

Upgrading to a dual-flush toilet allows you to minimize water usage by choosing between a full flush for solid waste and a partial flush for liquid waste. Alternatively, a simple solution for how to conserve water when flushing is to place a used water bottle (or two, if your toilet tank is big enough) filled with sand or pebbles in the bottom of the tank. With less water needed to fill it between flushes, you can save up to 10 gallons per day

11. Be Conservative with Dishwashing and Laundry

This may surprise you, but dishwashers and washing machines save water compared to handwashing. For example, a full dishwasher uses about 13 liters of water, whereas it would take around 100 liters to hand wash. However, there are extra water conservation tips you can utilize to save even more:

  • Only running appliances when you have enough for a full load.
  • Use the appropriate water level and load size selection for laundry.
  • Scrape dishes rather than rinsing before placing them in the dishwasher. 
  • To save energy, use cold cycles rather than hot or warm water settings. 

12. Use a Soaker Hose for Plants

Soaker hoses deliver water directly to the roots of plants, ensuring ample soil moisture while minimizing evaporation and reducing water waste. You can even take an extra step to control the flow by choosing a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle.

13. Consider a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless heaters produce warm water on demand, providing an instant flow of hot water without needing a storage tank. Tankless systems also considerably reduce energy consumption because no electricity is wasted on continuous heating when it’s not in use. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, tankless heaters are up to 34% more energy-efficient than traditional storage heaters.

14. Don’t Let Your Pool Waste Water

Approximately 801,000 residential properties across Texas have a pool. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of them, saving water may feel difficult — but it’s not impossible. Here’s a list of quick tips:

  • Use a cover when not in use to reduce evaporation.
  • Install a water-saving pool filter.
  • Fill to a lower level to prevent waste through splashing.
  • Avoid installing or using ornamental water features unless they recycle water, and never use them during a drought.

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If you’ve found these tips for how to conserve water helpful, there are other ways of making environmentally friendly choices and conserving energy

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