To reduce household water use, choose water-efficient appliances and fixtures, fix leaks in piping, turn off the water while brushing teeth or shaving, wash full loads of laundry or dishes, and take short showers. Homeowners can also reduce the amount of water required for yard maintenance by reducing the amount of grass in lawns, choosing garden plant species that require less water, capturing rainwater for use in the garden, and watering lawns and gardens by hand, notes the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Toilets alone account for 30 percent of household water use, notes the EPA. Switching to more efficient toilets or dual-flush toilets can help reduce this amount. Homeowners can choose shower heads, faucets, washers and dishwashers that use less water. Products marked with the WaterSense label are designed to conserve water.
Half-full loads of laundry or dishes use the same amount of water as full loads. Therefore, ensuring laundry loads are full before running the cycles can make the most of their water usage.
Letting the water run while brushing teeth or shaving can use as much as 3,000 gallons of water per year, states the EPA. However, taking baths can also use large amounts of water. A bath takes 70 gallons of water to fill, whereas a short shower only requires 10 to 25 gallons. Turning off the water while applying shampoo and conditioner reduces water usage.
Lawns require large amounts of water to maintain. Cutting back lawn space or re-naturalizing lawns with native plants can cut back water use significantly. Gardeners can also choose garden plants that grow well in local conditions to reduce watering. Installing a rain barrel can collect as much as 1,300 gallons of water during the summer.