- Run dishwashers and washing machines with full loads only.
- Scrape your plates instead of rinsing before loading them into the dishwasher.
- When washing dishes by hand, fill the sink with soap and water instead of running the tap. Fill another basin with clean water for rinsing.
- Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator, instead of running the tap until the water is cool.
- Don't let the faucet run while cleaning vegetables. Instead, rinse them in a sink or bowl filled with clean water.
- Thaw frozen foods ahead of time in sitting water or in the air rather than under running water.
- Add food wastes to your compost pile instead of using the garbage disposal.
- Repair all leaks and drips. These drips add up to money down the drain. Did you know that a steady drip from a faucet can waste up to 30 gallons a day? That’s about $7 on your monthly bill!
- Install low flow showerheads and faucet aerators (2.5 gallons per minute or lower).
- Limit shower time to five minutes.
- Many older showerheads have flow rates of five gallons per minute or more. A 10 minute shower at this rate uses 50 gallons of water! For a 4 person household, that translates to $53 on your monthly bill, not to mention energy costs for heating.
- Keep tub bathing to a minimum, and instead, take quick showers.
- Do not leave the water running while brushing your teeth or shaving. For a family of 4 this will save you some 200 gallons a week.
- Install a High Efficiency Toilet (HET) or put a toilet displacement device like a water-filled half-gallon container in your tank. Don't use a brick, as it can disintegrate and cause plumbing problems.
- Do not use the toilet as a waste basket or ashtray.
- Leaking toilets throughout the U.S. waste on average 9.5 gallons per day. Audible leaks can waste hundreds of gallons each day. Many things can cause a toilet leak such as a worn or broken flapper valves, ballcocks, refill valves and valve seals.
- Contact your plumber if you suspect a leak, and check out our web page containing tips on finding leaks.
- Use a broom to clear debris from walkways and driveways instead of hosing them down with water.
- Water your lawn only when it needs it, and only before 10:00 a.m. or after 6 p.m. One inch of water per week is sufficient to keep your lawn and plants healthy. Be sure to follow the odd/even watering schedule.
- Make sure that sprinklers are watering only the landscape, not the driveway, sidewalk, or street. Do not water on windy days. If you see water running off of your landscape into the street or sidewalk this may mean that your sprinklers are not properly aligned, that you are applying too much water too quickly, or that your soil is already saturated with water.
- Plant drought tolerant and/or native trees and plants. Use mulch to help retain moisture. To learn more about reducing the amount of water your lawn and garden needs and about the practice of xeriscaping or planting drought tolerant species, see our WaterWise Landscaping and Watering Guide or visit the Xeriscape North Carolina website. You can also contact the Durham Soil and Water Conservation District.
- When washing a car, use soap and water from a bucket. Use a hose with a shut-off nozzle for the final rinse only.
- Report leaks in fire hydrants, plumbing, or other public facilities so that they can be repaired.
Water Conservation for Businesses
- North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance
- Waste Reduction Partners
Waterwise Landscaping & Irrigation
- Carolina Lawns
- North Carolina State’s Turf Irrigation Water Management Program
- The TIMS Water Management Program is available to North Carolinians to calculate and track irrigation use. Using the North Carolina Climate Office current weather data, TIMS can tell you in number of minutes how long to water your lawn.
- WaterWise Landscaping and Watering Guide (PDF)
- Rain Barrels can be purchased through the city at a discounted rate. Call 919-560-4381 for information.
- Rainwater harvesting
- Basic Toilet Information, Repairs and Maintenance: Toiletology.com
- EPAs WaterSense Labeled High-Efficiency Toilets (HETs)
- Toilet Maximum Performance Testing Ratings (PDF)
Finding & Fixing Leaks