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Water Use Efficiency

The Bathroom

You can make the most substantial reduction in your personal water use in the bathroom.  More than 50 percent of the water used in an average home is used in the bathroom.  Much of that water may be going to the sewer needlessly, adding to the volume of burden on treatment plants.


About seven gallons of water goes into the sewer every time you flush your toilet. There are two ways to cut down: don’t use the toilet as a trash can and reduce the water per flush.

Toilets should not be used to flush away tissues, gum wrappers, cigarette butts, spiders, diapers or anything else that ought to go in a wastebasket or garbage can.  All of us do it at one time or another, but using the toilet as a wastebasket is just a phenomenal waste of water.

Most toilets use more water than is really necessary and work just as well with less. So, you can put a brick in the tank to displace some of the water right? Wrong! The extra weight might crack your tank. Besides, the bricks may begin to disintegrate after a while, causing serious and expensive problems in the plumbing.

Use a plastic soap or laundry bottle instead. It’s safe, easy and inexpensive.  Fill a few bottles with water to weight them and put them in the tank.  Be careful not to set the bottles where they’ll jam the flushing mechanism. Be sure you don’t displace so much water that you have to double-flush to get the toilet to work.  Double-flushing wastes water.

Showers, Bathtubs and Sinks

People used to think showers were less wasteful than tub baths, period. This isn’t always the case. Some people spend 10 to 20 minutes or more in the shower. Most showers pour out between 5 and 10 gallons per minute, and that can add up in hurry.

A great way to measure your usage is by purchasing a shower meter. This tool will help you become a water watcher — not waster.

There’s no hard-fast rule. It’s a matter of self control. A partially filled tub uses far less water than a long shower, but a short shower uses less than a full tub.  Time yourself next time you step under the spray. The odds are you really don’t need to stand there that long; you don’t need the shower running at full-blast.

When shaving and brushing your teeth, don’t leave the water running.  Run as much as you need, then turn off the tap until you need some more.

                                                                                     — American Water Works Association