I grew up in California and the severe drought that the state has been experiencing spurred me to create my “If it’s yellow, let it mellow” print. The saying, is of course an old one and refers to our urine and the amount of water it takes to flush a toilet while encourages us to flush a little less often. Nearly 30% of indoor water use in the average American household is used for toilets. If everyone just flushed the toilet every other time they peed that percentage would be cut in half.
Not everyone is thrilled with urine sitting in toilets, so installing dual flush systems is an option for the more fastidious and handy.
Toilets installed before 1992 are huge water wasters as that was the year that the government required toilets to use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. If you have toilets that were installed before 1992 new toilets are critical to reducing your water consumption.
Showering accounts for about 17% of residential water use in the US. Cutting your shower time down ( I try to keep my shower under 7 minutes) and installing high-efficiency showerheads that use 2.5 gallons of water per minute are a good bet for conserving while you bathe.
Washing clothing is another big water consumer and washing full loads is a good way to maximize the efficiency of your current washer. When the time comes to purchase a new washer, a high effciency front loader will typically use 35-50% less than top loading machines.
Outside the biggest water consumption comes in the form of gardens and lawns. Keeping grass at a longer length, watering only in the cool hours of the day, and watering more deeply but less frequently will help conserve water. If you never use your lawn or don’t have one to begin with, installing native and drought tolerant plants along with a drip irrigation system will help save thousands of gallons of water each year.
More conservation tips and information can be found on the Environmental Protection Agency’s site.