Conserving water can save you money!
To learn more about the City of Spokane’s Water Stewardship Program, and for helpful information about water conservation, go to www.waterstewardship.org.
Cut your water bill by following these simple suggestions:
In the bathroom…
- Fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints. Saves 20 gallons/day for every leak stopped.
- Install a low-flow showerhead that limits the flow from the shower to less than three gallons per minute. This is the single most effective conservation step that can be taken inside the home. Saves 500-800 gallons/month.
- Take short showers and install a cutoff valve, or turn the water off while washing and back on again only to rinse. Even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons/month.
- Take a shower instead of a bath. Showers use less water.
- If a shower is not available, reduce the level of the water being used in the bathtub by one or two inches.
- Capture tap water. While you wait for hot water to come down the pipes, catch the flow in a watering can to use later on house plants or your garden. Saves 200-300 gallons/month.
- When building a new home or remodeling a bathroom, install a new low-volume flush toilet that uses only 1.6 gallons per flush. Saves 350 gallons/week.
- Test toilets for leaks. Add a few drops of food coloring to the tank, but do not flush the toilet. If the color appears in the bowl in a few minutes, the toilet has a silent leak that needs to be repaired.
- Use a toilet tank displacement device such as a toilet dam or bag, or a plastic bottle filled with stones or water and recapped. Placed in the tank, these devices will reduce the volume of water in the tank while still providing enough for flushing. Using a brick is not recommended since they eventually crumble and could damage the working mechanism. Displacement devices are not recommended with low-volume flush toilets.
- Never use the toilet as a trash can for cigarette butts, cleansing tissues or other trash. This not only wastes water, but also places an unnecessary load on the sewage treatment plant or septic tank.
- Do not use hot water when cold will do.
- When brushing teeth, turn the water off until it is time to rinse. Saves 35 gallons/week per person.
- Do not let the water run when washing hands. Water should be turned off while washing/scrubbing, and turned on again to rinse.
- When shaving, fill the sink with hot water instead of letting it run.
- Install faucet aerators to reduce water consumption.
In the kitchen…
- Scrape the dishes instead of rinsing them before placing in dishwasher.
- Use a pan or sink filled with water for washing/rinsing pots and pans, dishes and other utensils. By hand washing dishes just once a day and not leaving the water running for rinsing, you can save 200-500 gallons/month.
- Never run the dishwasher without a full load. This practice saves water, energy, detergent and money.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly or start a compost pile.
- Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running water from the tap until it cools is wasteful. Better yet, keep a picnic jug of cold water on the kitchen counter to avoid opening the refrigerator door frequently. Saves up to 300 gallons/month.
- Use a small pan of cold water when cleaning vegetables, rather than letting the water run over them. Saves 150-250 gallons/month.
- Always keep water conservation in mind. Small savings from not making too much coffee or letting ice cubes melt in the sink can add up in a year’s time!
In the laundry…
- Wash only a full load. By running only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher you can save 300-800 gallons/month.
- Whenever possible, use the lowest water-level setting on the machine for light or partial loads.
- Use cold water as often as possible to save energy and conserve the hot water for uses that cold can not serve. (This is also better for clothing made of today’s synthetic fabrics.)
For appliances and plumbing…
- Check water requirements of different models/brands when purchasing a new appliance. Some use more than others.
- Check all water line connections and faucets for leaks. A slow drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water EACH DAY, or 5,000 gallons a month, and WILL add to the water bill.
- Learn to repair faucets so that drips can be corrected promptly. It’s easy to do, and can mean a substantial savings in water and plumbing bills.
- Check for hidden leads such as between the water meter and the house. Turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and water-using appliances. The water meter should be read at 10-20 minute intervals. If it continues to run, a leak probably exists.
- Insulate all hot water pipes to reduce delays in waiting for the water to run hot.
- Be sure the water heater thermostat is not set too high.
- Use a moisture meter to determine when house plants need water. More plants die from over watering than from being dry.
- Water only when needed. Step on your grass – if it springs back, it doesn’t need water. Set your sprinklers for more days in between watering. Saves 750-1,500 gallons/month.
- Water early in the morning. Otherwise, much of the water will simply evaporate between the sprinkler and the grass. Don’t water on windy days. Avoid watering the sidewalks, driveway or street. Saves up to 500 gallons/week.
- Use a sprinkler that produces large drops of water rather than a fine mist, and sends the droplets out on a low angle, to avoid evaporation.
- Set automatic sprinkler systems to provide thorough but infrequent waterings. Rain shutoff valves can prevent watering in the rain.
- Use drop irrigation systems for bedded plants, trees and shrubs, or use soaker hoses or sprinkler hoses turned upside-down.
- Water slowly for better absorption.
- Condition the soil with mulch or compost before planting grass or flower beds. Water will soak in rather than run off.
- Fertilize lawns at least twice a year for root stimulation, but do not over-fertilize. Grass with a good root system makes better use of less water and is more drought-tolerant.
- Do not scalp lawns when mowing during hot weather. Taller grass holds moisture better. A better-looking lawn will result if grass is mowed often, so that only ½ to ¾ inches is cut off. Consider decorating some areas of the lawn with wood chips, gravel or other materials available that require no water at all. Saves 750-1,500 gallons/month.
- Use a watering can or hand-water with the hose in small areas of the lawn that need more frequent watering (near walks or driveways or in especially hot, sunny spots).
- Use water-wise plants. Choose plants that have low-water requirements, and are adapted to the area of the state where they are to be planted.
- Do not sweep walks and driveways with the hose. Use a broom instead. Saves 150 gallons or more.
- When washing the car, use a bucket of soapy water and turn the hose on only for rinsing. Saves 150 gallons each time.
- If you have a pool, use a cover to cut down evaporation. This will also keep your pool clean and reduce the need for chemicals. Saves 1,000 gallons/month.
- Xeriscape – replace your garden with drought resistant plants. Saves up to 1,500 gallons/month.
Water Conservation – making the most efficient use
of the state’s precious water resources.