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Summer Tips: Saving Water Around the Home

2012 July 19

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By Lina Younes

While we often call Earth the “water planet” because 70% of its surface is covered by water, less than 1% of that precious resource is available for human use. Given the lower than average rainfall in the US and many places around the globe this summer, many of us are looking at ways to save water.

Did you know that the average family of four in the United States uses about 400 gallons of water a day as part of their daily routine? About 70 percent of that water is used inside the home during daily activities like taking a shower, brushing our teeth, going to the bathroom, cooking, washing clothes, etc. So what can we do to use our water more efficiently?

Well, here are several green tips for saving water in and around the home:

  • One of the first things we should do is to repair any leaks around the home.  Did you know that the average American household can waste over 10,000 gallons of water every year from leaking toilets, dripping faucets, or other leaks in pipes at home and in the garden?
  • Turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth or shaving
  • Take short showers instead of baths
  • Use the dishwasher only when it’s fully loaded!
  • Instead of rinsing dishes first, just scrape the food off plates when loading them into the dishwasher.
  • Another suggestion that helps to save water and reduce waste—take food wastes to make compost instead of using the garbage disposal.
  • Only wash full loads of laundry and make the appropriate water selection according to the load size
  • Get water efficient appliances (dishwasher, clothes washer, showerheads, toilets, etc.) with the WaterSense label.  These are 20 percent more water efficient than other traditional products on the market.
  • In the garden, don’t overwater your plants and lawn.
  • Water the plants in the early morning before 7 am to reduce evaporation.
  • Check your garden hose for leaks. Close the water faucet when not in use.
  • When landscaping, choose native plants that are appropriate for your region. Not only will they use less water, but they are more resistant to pests and diseases.

Hope these tips are useful. Are you doing anything special to save water at home this summer?

About the author: Lina Younes is the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. Among her duties, she’s responsible for outreach to Hispanic organizations and media. She spearheaded the team that recently launched EPA’s new Spanish website, . She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. She’s currently the editor of EPA’s new Spanish blog, Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente. Prior to joining the agency, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and an international radio broadcaster. She has held other positions in and out of the Federal Government.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. July 19, 2012

    I will defiantly use these tips during this summer. It is great because not only will I be helping the environment but I will also lower my water bill. Thank you very much for the helpful tips.

  2. July 19, 2012

    The use of water cycle is an effective way

  3. July 19, 2012

    Use of grey water for flushing toilets and gardening too should be included.

  4. Lina-EPA permalink
    July 20, 2012

    Very good points. Thanks for everyoneés recommendations.

  5. AJ in NC permalink
    July 20, 2012

    When we run the shower to get the water hot, we collect the water in a bucket and then use it to flush the toilet.

  6. Donna Sailer permalink
    July 21, 2012

    I put a brick in the back of my traditional toilet last month to save water. I do not use my garden/yard hose if the temperature is predicted to be over 90 degrees because the watering wouldn’t do any good at that temp anyway. I hand wash my dishes because I do not have a dishwasher, but I use a dishpan to rinse with instead of constantly turning the water on. But, I thought a small tub of water was more efficient than even a short shower–can you tell me the numbers on that tip?

    Thanks for the other tips.

  7. Lina-EPA permalink
    July 23, 2012

    These are all good tips. Donna, in response to your question. The average bathtub holds about 70 gallons of water, while taking a 5-minute shower uses about 10 to 25 gallons.


  8. July 30, 2012

    These are simple-to-follow and practical tips. By making these little contributions, all of us can make huge differences.

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