Simple Solutions: Water Use
The average Canadian uses 125,000 litres of water per person per year, while the average European uses 73,000 litres.
Fast and Free
- Tighten those taps. Check pipes, taps and toilets for leaks. You can save as much as 50 litres of water a day by fixing a dripping tap.
- Install water-saving devices on faucets and toilets.
- Turn water off while washing dishes instead of letting it run continuously.
- Only run your dishwasher with a full load.
- Turn off the water supply to your washing machine when not in use to prevent leaks.
- Take shorter showers and turn the tap off while brushing teeth.
- Never dump anything down a storm drain.
- Do the walkers a favour. Adjust sprinklers so only the lawn is watered and not the sidewalk, house or street.
- Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around pumps.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save water.
- Monitor water bills for unusually high use—this can be a sign of wasteful leaks.
- Wash fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks.
- Adjust lawn mowers to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better.
- When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to plants.
- For cold drinks, keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap.
- Designate one glass for drinking water each day or refill a water bottle to save on the number of dishes that need washing.
- Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety, instead of under running water.
- Share water conservation tips with friends and neighbors.
- Learn about your local watershed.
Simple and Low Cost
- Reduce your personal shower time by five minutes. Stick to the essentials in the shower and save the shaving and teeth-brushing for the sink. Try a “Navy” shower: get wet, turn the water off, soap up and turn the water on to rinse.
- Motivate the kids to take shorter showers by setting an egg timer for five minutes and see if they can be finished when it rings.
- If your toilet is old and has a high-capacity water tank, simply fill a four litre plastic bottle with water and place it in the back of your toilet tank. This will keep more than 10,000 litres of water from going down the drain.
- Drain a pail of water from your natural gas hot water tank approximately every three months to ensure fuel efficiency and remove sediment.
- Avoid flushing expired or unused medication down the toilet or sink to prevent contaminating the water supply. Instead, return them to the pharmacy or take them to a household hazardous waste depot in your municipality.
- How low can you go? Turn down the thermostat on your water heater to reduce energy consumption and prevent scalding. Most hot water heaters are set by default to 60°C, but can be safely lowered to 54°C.
- Use sand instead of salt on your driveway and walkway.
- Never pour paint, used oil or chemicals into your sink or wash them into the street or down a storm drain. If you have usable leftover items, share them with family or neighbors
- Install a displacement dam in every toilet tank that isn’t a low-flow model.
- Install a water-saving showerhead to consume less water and the extra fuel needed to heat up the water. Also, consider a showerhead with a shut-off valve.
- Try a combined shampoo-conditioner combination to speed up your shower. Purchase a soap that’s good for both your hair and body.
- Install water-saving aerators on all faucets, if your faucets are threaded to accept them. Install aerators with a rated flow of 12.5 litres/minute or less.
- Use a commercial car wash that recycles its water. When you wash your car yourself, do it on the lawn. That way the detergents and dirt will not run down the road and into a storm drain. Consider using biodegradable soaps.
Spend to Save
- Replace all toilets with low-flow or dual-flush toilets.
- Have septic tanks pumped and the system inspected regularly.
- Purchase a water-saving clothes washer. New horizontal axis models can save up to 40 per cent of the water used by a conventional model.
- Consider buying a water-saving dishwasher. Newer models can cut water use by 25 per cent and are no more expensive than non-conserving models.
- For the garden, install a micro-irrigation system, which come with tubing, hardware and multiple spray heads to enable gardeners to create a customized watering system. Because they focus water directly on the root, micro-irrigation helps conserve water consumption while effectively providing nourishment to your garden and shrubs.
- Alberta EcoTrust
- Environment Canada Water Basics
- GO BLUE Campaign
- Ten Water Saving Tips for Your Garden
- Water Conservation
- Water Matters
- Water Use and Consumption in Canada
Updated: Aug 6, 2015