Reduce your shower time. If you shorten your shower time from 10 minutes to 5 minutes or less while using a 7.6 litre per minute (lpm) showerhead, you will be saving water and energy each time you shower. You can also save water by turning off the water while lathering in the shower.
Replace your showerhead. Older models use 18 to 30 lpm while water-efficient models use 7.6 lpm or less. Ultra-high efficiency showerheads use as low as 5.6 lpm. These showerheads provide a water reduction of 30% compared to the current industry standard of 9.5 lpm. Reducing your water in the shower will also save you money on your water and energy bills.
Recycle unused water. While waiting for hot water to flow when preparing for a shower, catch the cool water in a bucket or water can. Later it could be used for your plants, pets or cleaning.
Take a 5 minute shower instead of a bath. If a shower is not available, reduce the amount of water used in the bath by 5 centimetres (2 inches).
Reduce the number of times you flush your toilet with multiple uses before flushing. Replace your old toilet with a high-efficiency 4.8 lpf model (HET), or a dual 3/6 lpf model. Older models can use as much as 13 to 26 litres of water per flush. A family of four can save up to 30,000 litres of water a year with a HET toilet. That's a 20% reduction in household consumption.
If you are unable to replace your water guzzling toilet, retrofit your toilet with toilet displacement devices.
Do not place plastic bottles or bricks in a toilet tank. This can interrupt the flushing mechanisms or flow of the water in the toilet, possibly causing it to leak. Also, older toilets were not designed to function with lower volumes of water.
Do not use the toilet as a garbage can. Tissues and other items are often flushed away instead of going into appropriate disposal containers. Unnecessary flushing of the toilet even once a day can waste up to 1,000 litres of water per year.
Do not let the water run while brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving. Instead, turn off the faucet when not directly using water flow.
Retrofit all household faucets with water saving aerators or consider replacing with water efficient models. Aerators are inexpensive items that can be found at most hardware stores. Look for ultra low flow 1.9 lpm or 0.5 gallon per minute devices.
Insulate water pipes to reduce hot water delivery delay (and wasted water) experienced while waiting for water to run hot from the faucets.
On-Demand Hot Water Systems
Consider installing a point of use water heater or on-demand hot water system. A point of use heater or recirculation system may significantly reduce hot water use where a frequently used sink or shower is located a long distance from the central water heater. Some systems use a valve and a pump to divert the cold water sitting in the hot water line to a heater that quickly warms it and sends hot water to fixtures in seconds without wasting water. Compact water heaters can fit under a sink, or a small hot water tank may be placed in a nearby storage area. For more information, view the CRD Research Brief – On-Demand Hot Water Systems.
Scrape dishes instead of rinsing them under running water before loading your dishwasher. For heavy cleaning of grills or oven parts pre-soak them overnight.
Compost kitchen wastes (organic matter) instead of using a sink garbage disposal system. Sink garbage disposal systems consume hundreds of litres of water each week to send matter down the drain, and increases the load for the water treatment facilities.
When washing dishes by hand, do not wash or rinse with running water. Use tubs or plug the sink.
Capture excess water in a container while running the tap. This water can be used for your plants or pets.
Dishwashers use large volumes of water, about 60 litres of water per load. Operate automatic dishwashers at full capacity and/or set the water level for the size of your load.
If you are considering the purchase of a new dishwasher, look for one that is water and energy efficient.
Rinse fruit and vegetables in a pan instead of running water continuously and use the water for indoor and outdoor plant watering.
Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for cold water.
Plan ahead so that frozen food doesn't need to be thawed under running water or fill a bowl with cold water to thaw the food.
Use a small amount of water and a lid on a pot when cooking. This method uses less water. Save the water from cooking vegetables for soups gravies, sauces or outdoor plants.
Laundry & Household Cleaning
Washing machines use anywhere between 100 – 200 litres of water per load. Operate washing machines at full capacity and/or if your machine has a "suds-saver" feature, be sure to use it as this feature reuses the clean rinse water for washing the next load.
Buying a new washing machine? Consider purchasing a high-efficiency washing machine; they use up to 40% less water and 50% less energy than top-loading machines. They also use less detergent.
For regular household cleaning use a pail or bucket rather than running water.
Partially fill the sink or a container when cleaning the kitchen or rinsing cloths.