What are the best ways to conserve water?
The answer depends on circumstances such as a customer's water use patterns and the age and efficiency of toilets and other water fixtures and appliances.
Watch a video on how to make small changes to save water and money
The following are a good start for many customers:
- Replace inefficient toilets, showerheads, faucet aerators, washing machines, dishwashers and other water-using equipment when practical. (In some cases, new fixtures may pay for themselves by reducing monthly OWASA bills.) Toilet flushing, showering, bathing and washing clothes are normally the largest indoor water uses in a residence, so they are often the best opportunities to conserve. In particular, toilets installed before 1994 may use 2 to 3 times as much water as newer models. "High efficiency" toilets certified in the US Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense program use only 1.28 gallons per flush, compared to 3.5 to 5 gallons per flush with pre-1994 toilets.
- Regularly check for and repair leaks and monitor your water use. Toilets are one of the most common places for leaks, but showerheads, hoses, pipes, faucets, spigots and other water-using devices should also be checked. Please see the links below for more detailed information. (Please note that we may provide an account adjustment once every three years after a leak is repaired, subject to some limits and conditions.)
- You can check the flow indicator on OWASA's meter when there is no intentional use to determine whether is a leak somewhere in your plumbing system. Then check toilets, showerheads, faucets, pipes under the house, etc. to find the leak. In some cases, you may need help from a plumber to find the leak. Please be aware that some leaks (such as in toilets) are temporary, so it may be necessary to check the meter reading in the morning after the last use of water at night.
- If you irrigate, use water-smart methods to encourage healthy root systems and avoid overwatering, which can damage or weaken grass and other plants. (Please see the links below for more information.)
- In planning or changing a landscape, choose grass, groundcover, shrubs and trees that are drought-tolerant and non-invasive.
- Protect your irrigation system from freezing and damage including water leaks. For technical help in shutting off your irrigation system and draining water out of it, we suggest contacting the company that maintains your system, the manufacturer, local distributor, etc. You can also find websites with information by searching the Internet for weatherizing irrigation systems.
- Leaks may occur in the private water service pipe that carries water from OWASA's meter to a residence or other building. If there is a wet spot on the ground between OWASA's meter and your residence/business in dry weather, please investigate further. If there is a leak in this service pipe, you may need help from a plumber to find and fix it.