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Our Only Home – saving it requires collective inclusive coordinated global action.

Some ways to save water:


Report/repair leaks promptly (one slow drip can add up to 20 gallons a day)1

If you have a rotary dial water meter, you can check for leaks by seeing if the dial spins when no water is being used.

Test to see if your toilet leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If it enters the bowl without flushing, replace the flapper.2


Turn water on only when actively using it (to get wet and rinse off instead of during the entire shower, and when brushing your teeth, shaving, etc. - save 2 gallons per minute).2 Also, reduce the flow to just as much as you need.

While waiting for the shower water to become warm, catch the cold water in a container to use on plants.

Replace your old toilets with dual flush or high-efficiency ones. Prior to 1992 toilets sold in California used 3.5 to 7 gallons of water per flush. Since 1992 only toilets using 1.6 gallons or less per flush can be sold in California. Both dual flush and high-efficiency toilets use less than 1.6 gallons per flush.1,2

Replace your shower head and faucet aerators with low flow ones. (Standard faucet aerators use 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm). Water savings with an aerator: 1.5 gpm ~ 32%, 1.0 gpm ~ 55%, 0.5 gpm ~ 77%, 0.35 gpm ~ 84%).


When washing dishes by hand, use as little detergent as possible. Rinse dishes by filling one side of the sink or a container with water, or use a spray device.

Only wash full loads of dishes (save 2 – 4.5 gallons per load) or laundry (save 15 – 50 gallons per load).

Do not use water to defrost foods. Place them in the refrigerator overnight or use the microwave instead.

Clean vegetables by rinsing them in a filled sink or pan.

Put garbage into compost bins or garbage cans, not the garbage disposal.1,2


Use a broom instead of a hose to clean paved surfaces (driveways, sidewalks, etc.) and reduce your water usage by up to 150 gallons each time.2


Replace your lawn with a drought-tolerant landscape and reduce your water usage by hundreds of gallons per year.1

Grow plants adapted to the environment where they are (natives) especially if you live in a place with little rainfall (see for a database of California friendly plants).

Group plants that need the same amount of water together.3

Reduce water loss from the ground because of evaporation by:

planting trees to help lower air and soil temperatures.

setting the lawn mower blade higher.

using mulch such as bark, gravel, compost, sawdust, or a low-growing groundcover to even out soil temperatures (save 20-30 gallons of water per day).3


Make sure sprinkler systems are working properly. Check for leaks, broken sprinkler heads and overspray. You can reduce your water usage by up to 500 gallons per month.

Irrigate outside areas (lawns, gardens, etc.) when it is cool (in the early morning or evening) to minimize evaporation and reduce your water usage by up to 25 gallons each time you water.

Water plants only as much as needed (see watering calculator and index at Test to see if your lawn needs water by stepping on it. If the grass springs back after you lift your foot, it does not need water.

Water plants less when the days are shorter.

Turn off sprinklers when it rains or install a rain sensor.

Buy and use rain barrel(s).1

Change or cap sprinkler heads in areas converted from lawn to shrubs and flowerbeds.

Use a weather based irrigation controller (smart sprinkler controller) and save about 40 gallons per day. These controllers are able to monitor environmental conditions at a specific location for a particular landscape type and then use that information when watering. For example, if it is raining or if the soil is still wet the controller will not water that area.

Use precision rotating sprinkler nozzles. These nozzles are able to apply water more slowly and uniformly than other nozzles. This reduces runoff as well as making the water coming from them less likely to mist and more resistant to wind. Using these nozzles can reduce your irrigation water usage by about 20%.

Convert from spray watering to drip, bubblers, and microsprays for your shrub and flower beds.2

Other sources of information

Your local water and power service provider should have conservation information.

Learn about virtual water (water used to produce food and other products) and find out what your personal water footprint is.


Links to other pages in this website:

Home   Sustainability   Climate Solutions    Climate Problems    Saving Resources    Saving Energy   Community


Working together we can make a livable future.


Literature cited

Image of earth from, photographs and other images are from

1 Pasadena in focus May – June 2013 and March - April 2014

2 The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

3 Family of Southern California Water Agencies