Household Conservation Tips

General Helpful Tips


  • Conserve water because it is the right thing to do - even when someone else is footing the bill, such as when you are staying at a hotel.
  • Encourage your employer to promote water conservation in the workplace.
  • Encourage your school system and local government to help develop and promote a water conservation ethic.
  • Fixing a leaking faucet can save 140 gallons of water a week.
  • Install water softening systems only when necessary. Turn softeners off while on vacation.
  • Instead of pouring water down the drain, reuse it if you can.
  • Participate in public water conservation meetings conducted by your local government, utility or water management district.
  • Patronize businesses which practice water conservation such as restaurants that only serve water upon request.
  • Promote water conservation in community newsletters, on bulletin boards and by example. Encourage your friends, neighbors and co-workers to “be water smart”.
  • Report water losses (broken pipes, open hydrants, errant sprinklers, abandoned free-flowing wells, etc.) to the property owner or the Water Department at 302-366-7000.
  • Support projects that will lead to an increased use of reclaimed waste water for irrigation and other uses.
Try to do one thing each day that will result in saving water. Every drop counts.

Kitchen Tips


  • Do not waste water waiting for it to get hot. Capture it for other uses such as plant watering or heat it on the stove or in a microwave.
  • Instead of letting the water run when hand washing dishes, use a dishpan or fill the sink with water. Also use less soap for less rinsing.
  • Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it. Use it to water your indoor plants or garden.
  • Running the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads can save 1,000 gallons of water a month.
  • Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Don’t let the tap run while you are waiting for water to cool.
  • Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave, not under running water.
  • Use a bowl of water to clean and prepare vegetables, rather than letting the faucet run.
  • Use you garbage disposal less often and compost instead.

Bathroom Tips


  • A standard shower head uses about five to seven gallons of water per minute. A low flow shower head reduces water by 50 percent or more.
  • Cutting showers to five minutes or less can save up to 1,000 gallons of water a month.
  • Flush the toilet only when necessary and don’t use it as a wastebasket.
  • If a toilet is more than 10 years old, replace it with a low flow toilet or place a half-gallon plastic jug filled with water in the toilet tank. A water saving low flush model toilet can save up to 14,000 gallons of water a year. Fixing a leaking toilet can save more than 600 gallons of water a month.
  • In the shower, turn water on to get wet; turn off to lather up; then turn the water back on to rinse off. Repeat when washing your hair.
  • Install a shut off valve at the shower head so you can leave the temperature settings the same and still stop the flow of water while washing.
  • Plug the tub before turning on the water. Adjust the temperature as the tub fills.
  • Take short showers and install low-flow devices on faucets and shower heads.
  • Taking showers instead of baths saves about 30 gallons of water.
  • Turning off water when brushing teeth, washing or shaving can save up to 10 gallons of water a day.
  • Wash pets outdoors in an area that needs water instead of in the tub.

Outside Tips


  • Avoid buzz cuts and backaches by raising your lawn mower blade to its highest setting to encourage grass roots to grow deeper and grass blades to hold moisture longer than with a closely clipped lawn. Cut off no more than one-third of a blade of grass at a time. Apply fertilizers sparingly and use fertilizers that contain slow release water - insoluble forms of nitrogen.
  • If you allow your children to play in the sprinklers, make sure it’s only when you’re watering the yard - if it’s not too cool at that time of day.
  • Install a rain sensor device that overrides your sprinkler system when there is adequate rainfall.
  • Position sprinklers so they don’t water the pavement.
  • Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Chunks of bark, peat moss or gravel slows down evaporation. Saves 750 to 1,500 gallons a month.
  • Tell your children not to play with the garden hose. Saves 10 gallons a minute.
  • Use a broom or blower instead of a hose to remove debris from driveways, sidewalks, and porches.
  • Water in the evening or early morning to reduce evaporation. Avoid watering on windy days.
  • Xeriscaping your lawn can save up to 550 gallons of water a year.