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Why Conserve Water?

  • Conserves energy
  • Saves money
  • Reduces pressure on sewage treatment facilities/septic systems
  • Reduces chemical impacts on natural waters
  • Supports healthy lakes and streams

Public Service Messages

Water Use 1

Water Use 2

Water Use 3

Water Use 4

What You Can Do:

In the Kitchen and Laundry

  • Identify and fix leaks immediately — a slow drip can waste up to 20 gallons a day.
  • Run your dishwasher only when it's full — save 300 gallons a month.
  • Use a basin or stopper the sink when washing dishes by hand and don't run rinse water continuously.
  • Keep a container of drinking water in the fridge — save 20 to 30 gallons a month.
  • Choose a front-loading washing machine over top — loading models, run only full loads — save up to 30 gallons per wash.
  • Regenerate your water softener only as needed rather than automatically — save 50 gallons each cycle.
  • Collect water from dehumidifiers to water plants — it's great for plants because it's chlorine and salt free.

In the Bathroom

  • Install low-flow showerheads to reduce waste — save 5 to 8 gallons a minute.
  • Limit showers to five minutes — be ultra conserving, turn the water off while you lather, then on again when you're ready to rinse.
  • Running your shower's hot water to warm up the bathroom wastes 5 gallons a minute.
  • Opt for short showers over baths — every inch of bath water in a standard sized tub represents 5 gallons of water.
  • Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth, lathering your hands and while shaving — save up to 10 gallons a day.
  • Install a low-flow toilet — save up to 5 gallons per flush. Better yet, convert your current toilet to a dual — flush option.
  • Use the toilet only for its intended purpose — dispose of facial tissues or paper products in the trash or recycling.

In the Yard and Garden

  • Mulch trees and plants — save 750 — 1,500 gallons a month.
  • Water in the early morning hours to avoid evaporation — save 300 gallons a month.
  • Replace your lawn with native grasses or plants — save 750 — 1,500 gallons a month.
  • Set lawn mower blades one notch higher — save 500 — 1,500 gallons a month.
  • Use a pool cover to cut down on evaporation — save 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Instead of buying water slides and sprinkler toys, let the kids play in the sprinkler when you're watering the lawn.
  • Use a sensor instead of a timer on automatic sprinklers so they run only when the lawn needs water.
  • Sweep your driveway or sidewalk rather cleaning them with a hose.

Things to Think About:

  • While the average American drinks under a half a gallon of water a day, our daily diets require hundreds of gallons of water to produce.
  • One 8 ounce serving of beef requires 1,350 gallons
  • One 8 ounce serving of chicken requires 330 gallons
  • One latte requires 53 gallons
  • One 8 ounce serving of milk requires 48 gallons
  • One orange requires 14 gallons
  • One tomato requires 8 gallons
  • A typical Thanksgiving dinner for six requires over 30,000 gallons
  • It takes 1.85 gallons of water to manufacture the plastic bottle containing 12-ounces of water

Produced by the Water Resources Center, University of Minnesota
Adapted from A Pocket Guide to Reducing Your Water Footprint

Water Quality:

Topic Highlights:


Cynthia Hagley
Environmental Quality Educator
Chris Filstrup
Inland Lakes Specialist

This page last modified on October 15, 2014     © 1996 – 2019 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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