Cut Down On Water Use With These Tricks

Modern society has created the illusion that water is infinite and free, but the environmentally and financially conscious know that’s far from the truth.

DealNews provides a list of easy life adjustments you can make to cut down on water usage and possibly douse your water bill.

Suggestions from the post include:

*Get a water-saving toilet. Some toilets on the market use less than a gallon per flush. Install one of these babies and it could save you more than 20,000 gallons of water per year.

*Use a dishwasher rather than hand-wash. Most modern dishwashers are far more efficient than the old-timey sink-and-dish towel method, potentially using 37 percent less water. Just make sure those loads are full.

*Avoid bottled water. The post cites the Pacific Institute, which says it takes three gallons of water to produce a gallon of bottled water.

If you make it a point to restrict your water use, how do you operate?

8 easy ways to save 50,000 gallons of water [DealNews]

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  1. El_Fez says:

    Free? No – but the earth is a closed system. The water constantly recycles, so it is indeed (more or less) infinite.

    Unless you’re claiming that water is evaporating into space or something.

    • Goldensummer says:

      Without reading the article I’d say that they referring to clean drinking water which is not free and in some parts of the world is anything but infinite. Remember that the water you use in your tea or coffee is the same water we flush down the toilet we don’t have 2 separate pipe systems; when you waste water you’re wasting clean and safe water which is not cheap.

      • Southern says:

        Not sure where you were going with that. (All) fresh water comes from the same source, whether it be the city, a well, a river, etc.. And all water used in your home to cook, wash dishes, wash clothes, or flush down the toilet also all goes to the same place (the ocean, a lake, or some other body of water) after being processed at a treatment plant.

        If it goes into the ocean, it’s eventually evaporated, and falls back to earth as rain, which is then collected by the rivers, lakes, retention ponds, etc. that we use for fresh water.

        The problem comes in that we’re getting less rain every year (at least in most cases & places), so our fresh water supplies aren’t being replenished as fast as we’re (using) them (not to mention higher population = more water usage).

        We have the ability to desalinize ocean water (at a cost), so that’s always an option if it comes down to it.. But your water bills would most likely skyrocket as a result.

        • Jimmy60 says:

          It seems to be all coming here. There’s lakes forming around here. I think global warming may be chasing water towards the poles.

        • david.c says:

          “less rain every year” … you can’t be seriously suggesting that is a permanent trend. The earth goes in cycles .. hot to cold, cold to hot … wet to dry, dry to wet.

          The ironic part of all the *water* conservation is that it seems to only apply to individuals living in their homes … which happens to be the smallest consumer (as a whole) of water in most water districts. Business / Agriculture take, by far, the lions share of the water.

          So yes, cities built in desserts need to import most, if not all, of their water. Whoop-de-do. Water is not *free* as it costs money to ship it in. Cost more in some places (cities built in desserts) … but so what? If you want to live in the dessert then that’s the price you pay.

          And yes, we can convert water that is not drinkable into water that we can drink … for a price.

    • The Brad says:

      Yes but the amount of drinkable water is finite. Humans, and most land animals, can’t survive by drinking salt water.

      • Buckus says:

        No, it’s not, because we can make more, and the planet makes more, or recycles it. Even if it is finite, it is recycled.

        • Tim says:

          We CAN make more, but it takes a lot of energy, and though energy cannot be destroyed, it can be very hard to capture.

        • outoftheblew says:

          So you’re saying the amount of drinkable water IS limited by the resources it takes to make it so.

        • OnePumpChump says:

          The amount that can be used during any given period of time is finite. Eventually it will be replaced, but using too much can cause acute shortages.

    • PHRoG says:

      Ya know…I’ve kinda always had this belief too. They scream water conservation but never explained where it’s going exactly….LOL

    • not-gonna-tell-ya says:

      Actually I thought I read somewhere that we receive a certain amount of water from space each year?>?

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      The problem is that it takes time for the earth to recycle water, and also if you pollute a body of water you can no longer drink from it. Check out Onondaga Lake, arguably the most polluted lake in the united states. http://www.upstatefreshwater.org/html/onondaga_lake.html

    • ugly says:

      I’m also curious how this advice and impact became universal. The Pacific Northwest has so much water that there must be almost zero benefit to most of this advice, while in Nevada or Arizona it would take a fair bit more conservation to make up for the increasing population.

      In a literal rain forest (Pacific Northwest) you might as well ignore this.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      Potable water sources have to be maintained, and systems for disinfecting, cleaning and reclaiming that water as well. It doesn’t flow to your tap by magic. Water isn’t a finite resource, water you can drink is. If you don’t believe me, try coming down South and going back in time a year or so ago when we had a drought.

    • Tim says:

      Actually, I made water once in high school. We made a chemical reaction that produced hydrogen, so we held a cylinder upside down above it, to catch it. Then we put the cylinder over a match. Poof! I’m not quite sure how it happened, but somehow the hydrogen got with the oxygen in the air, and it lined the cylinder with water vapor.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Pumping and treating water does cost money and have a limit. Because of fixed costs cutting back might not save anything if you live in a region with ample water, but if everyone started using ten times as much water the system would fail.

    • AnthonyC says:

      There is a trememndous amount of water on earth, and it isn’t going anywhere. Most of it, however, is not potable.
      Rainwater arrives at a finite rate. Groundwater replenishes at a finite rate- it can be pumped faster, but this causes the water table to drop, so you can only do this for a short time.
      Getting more water than is locally available at a sustainable rate requires either a) transporting it form a region thta isn’t using all of it’s water- which will become more difficult due to global warming’s efects on water supplies- or desalination. Only through desalination can most of the earth’s water- oceans- be made potable. Unfortunately, this is many times more expensive- in both money and energy- than the other sources.

      So yes, the supply is potentially infinite, but the cost is not fixed. It goes up with rising demand. So far we’ve gotten a free ride by, in many regions, unsustainably depleting groundwater reserves orpulling more from lakes and rivers than nature can replenish.

  2. Reading_Comprehension says:

    just piss wherever you want to, saves lots of water

  3. hotdogsunrise says:

    I really want to use a rain barrel. I think that’s gonna be one of the first things I get to this spring.

    • sir_eccles says:

      I did read somewhere that in some parts of the country rain barrels are actually illegal. Stupid really.

      • hotdogsunrise says:

        That is stupid. But I’ll check that out before I buy anything! Thanks.

      • redskull says:

        Maybe because they could breed mosquitoes?

      • Beeker26 says:

        No, because municipalities claim they own the rainwater. Not kidding.

      • Beeker26 says:

        No, because municipalities claim they own the rainwater. Not kidding.

      • Necoras says:

        It stems from water agreements between towns and states. Upstream communities are often required by laws written a LONG time ago to allow a certain amount of water to flow downstream. This can cause huge issues when the upstream communities grew exponentially faster than the downstream communities. Thus what made sense 100 years ago doesn’t make sense at all. I know there’s a situation like this involving north and south California, but I don’t know any of the details.

        You end up with cities and even states that receive plenty of rain but legally aren’t allowed to process or use almost any of it even though they need it. Those areas then become very picky about water that gets stored instead of allowed to flow into the rivers.

        Usually it’s not too much of an issue if you aren’t storing hundreds of gallons.

    • econobiker says:

      The Instructables (sp?) website had a bunch of plans for rain catching barrel systems…

    • MeOhMy says:

      I set up a rain barrel this summer. Then I ran some tubing into the vegetable garden with drip emitters at the base of the plants. It was great…I am thinking about daisy chaining a second barrel to it this year, as the single barrel was not quite enough to last between storms.

    • Difdi says:

      Be careful of which state you live in. In some places, you don’t own the rain that falls on your property unless you also own the water rights to that property. Installing a rain barrel where you don’t own water rights is a crime (theft).

  4. fredbiscotti says:

    Glad I live in the Great Lakes Basin.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Used to live there. Now I’m in the stinking desert. I never could understand why manufacturing moved away from all that water in the North East.

  5. hobochangbar says:

    If it’s yellow, let it mellow.

    • Wireless Joe says:

      Or you could just use the aqua vita approach.

    • framitz says:

      If it’s green, it’s too mean.

    • Wolfbird says:

      Um, you like that urine smell? I sure as hell don’t. It’s not as obvious as an unflushed shitty toilet but it’s definitely noticable.

    • deep.thought says:

      This easily saves over 50 gallons per person per week, even with a “low flow” toilet. There’s something obviously wrong with throwing away many times the amount of fresh water we’re supposed to drink in a day. I’m practically obliged to express my profound gratitude for easy access to potable water by minimizing the waste thereof.

  6. mikeyo says:

    a standard toilet is 1.6 gallons per flush? so at their toilets 0.8 gallons per flush, you’d have to regularly flush about 70 times a day?

  7. photoguy622 says:

    I don’t know how I’d live without my dishwasher. I throw everything in there, don’t rinse a thing, and it always comes out clean.

    Plus, I love to play Dishwasher Tetris…

  8. dolemite says:

    Now if someone could convince my wife to stop taking 25 minute showers. Even with a low-flow head, that’s like 2.5 GPM x 25 = 62.5 gallons per day, or almost 2,000 gallons a month.

    • Necoras says:

      Next time she’s in the shower wait five minutes and go out and turn off the hot water. Problem solved. Also, unfold the couch bed on your way to the water heater.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        Also, unfold the couch bed on your way to the water heater.

        Sage advice.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Or just lower the temperature of the water heater. It will lesser the time you have hot water at an sitting, thus shorter showers.

        • Beeker26 says:

          Along the same lines — when it’s time to replace the hot water heater get a really small one. Less hot water = shorter showers.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      If she shaves her legs in there it will take longer. I’ve cut back by doing it every other day in the winter, which cuts down my shower time. In the summer I’ll do it more often since I’m wearing shorts.

      Another way to save is to let the shower fill up the tub a little and use that to shave, kind of like a big sink. Do all the hair-washing and rinsing first, turn off the water, shave, a quick rinse and you’re done.

      Or buy her an electric razor.

    • Speak says:

      A guy I was talking to last week had this same problem with teenage twin daughters. He found a shower head that has a timer built in that will reduce the flow by half after a pre-set time. The time is adjusted using a magnetic wand and can be set for 3 different times (11, 8 & 5 min). The water has to be off for a set period of time, around 5 min, before it will resume normal flow. He found it somewhere online, but couldn’t remember where when we were talking.

    • human_shield says:

      Get rid of the detachable shower head!

  9. Beeker26 says:

    There are a lot of easy ways to save on water, tho most Americans would probably find them to be unsavory to some degree or another. As my sensibilities are far from gentile I can easily shave 50% off my water bill in any given month.

  10. obits3 says:

    I make my own water at home =)

    • Tim says:

      I did that once in high school! It was only a tiny bit of water (enough to coat a graduated cylinder in water vapor), but I definitely made water.

  11. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    “Roll out the rain barrel.”

    I thought in many localities, storing rain water is against the law. You’re required to use the local utility for water.

  12. moonunitrappa says:

    *Avoid bottled water. The post cites the Pacific Institute, which says it takes three gallons of water to produce a gallon of bottled water.

    I don’t want to pimp for Bobble, but I live in an apartment where those faucet attached filters don’t work, and the two times I’ve purchased a Brita pitcher filter, my water tasted like charcoal constantly. I got one of these little water bottles with the filter in the bottle and it takes the funky taste out of the city water. I haven’t purchased one bottle of water since. People seem to hate the noise it makes when you use it (a hissing sound), but I work at home and don’t really notice it.

    I also replaced the toilets in one of my rental houses from models created in the 1950s. I miss the punky mint green and pink toilets, but now the water usage has been cut in at least half. Those new toilets have probably already paid themselves off in water savings.

    I hate that I don’t have a dishwasher in my apartment…there’s no room for one either.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i’ve got a pitcher with a dupont filter and i’ve never had a problem with the taste. i didn’t like the taste of water out of my sister’s faucet mount brita though

  13. theblackdog says:

    I live in an apartment that was built in 1937, before dishwashers were anywhere close to being common in the house. If you can find a place for me to install a dishwasher and which won’t piss off the landlord, then great. Otherwise I will continue to wash dishes by hand.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      I don’t know if you have a place for it, but the do make “portable” as well as “convertible” dishwashers. The only thing you need to do is attach an adapter / connector to the sink faucet. You can also take it with you or sell it when you move.

      My parents had a convertible for years that they built in when the remodeled the kitchen.

      • hoi-polloi says:

        My brother and sister-in-law have a portable dishwasher. They’re short on counter space, so it’s a welcome addition for other reasons, as well. It can get in the way a bit when in use, but they generally run it overnight.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        yep, i lived in a place built in 1932. i couldn’t afford one at the time, but when i was shopping around i found both portable models with wheels and a hose to the sink and countertop models. neither of which need an actual installation so they are no more invasive an appliance to the landlord than a microwave. you’d still be using/draining the water with handwashing so the landlord doesn’t really have the right to complain about a temporary dishwasher. doesn’t mean the landlord won’t but they shouldn’t.
        and heck, one of the wheeled ones can go away in the closet in between uses and they’d never have to see it

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      There are very good and water efficient models that plug directly into your sink.

      If you think about it, a dishwasher is basically a self-contained unit that just needs power, a water input, and a drain. Built-in’s simply have a specific location set aside for it and all the needed attachments already there. Barely a difference, really.

      • theblackdog says:

        Great idea, but I need to verify that they aren’t banned in my lease, hence the “won’t piss off my landlord” statement.

    • c_c says:
  14. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    I have put a shut-off valve on my shower heads, but I think I’m the only one that uses them. maybe because they don’t pay for the water and gas, or maybe because I’m the only one tall enough to reach them.

    • not-gonna-tell-ya says:

      Can you tell me what that does? I’m in the middle of Siesta and can’t figure out how that saves….

      • Beeker26 says:

        You can turn off the flow of water while taking a shower. For example, wet yourself down then flip the switch, turning off the flow. Lather up, shave, etc., and then flip the switch again to restore water and rinse off.

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          Just don’t turn it all the way off, leave a trickle flowing to maintain the temperature. Otherwise, you get hit with a spray of water that’s cooled from sitting in the pipes!

          • c-side says:

            This is what “they” refer to as a “military shower”. Water off. Soap up. Rinse. I do it, too. I don’t have a shut-off valve, but just turn the water off and stand out of the way of that first cool stream when I turn it back on. Not a big deal.

          • not-gonna-tell-ya says:

            OoOOOHH. Duh.. Thanks!

  15. GMurnane says:

    Look into installing a gray-water system is more expensive/time consuming, but a great way to save water.

  16. econobiker says:

    Freaking insulate your hot water pipes for the cheapest payback on both water savings and, if you insulate the hot water heater also, savings on water heating fuel costs (gas or electric).

    All these nimrod LEED and eco conscious greenies never, ever give up the obvious and cheap solutions saying that you have to retrofit to a point of demand water heater (costing big $$$$) to “save energy”. Pshaw…

    • borgia says:

      Along with the insulation of water pipes a hot water recirculator on a timer works well for saving water in the morning that way you don’t have to let the water run to heat up the shower water.

  17. Wireless Joe says:
    • hoi-polloi says:

      I missed your comment when leaving mine. We’ve done this on two toilets, and it easily pays for itself.

  18. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Shower with a friend?

    • theblackdog says:

      That only works if you can manage to shower without it leading to “other activities” while in there.

  19. hoi-polloi says:

    If you don’t want to plunk down money on a brand new toilet, you can install a dual-flush conversion kit. There are a variety of models in the $20-30 range. The only issue is occasionally confusing guests, which I find amusing. (Unless they just give up and leave a floater.)

  20. NumberSix says:

    I save the water I run to heat it up and use it for the laundry or for watering plants.

  21. Scribblenerd says:

    All my appliances are as water-conserving as was possible when they were purchased. Although at first I balked when my husband insisted on thru-the door filtered water and ice in the fridge, that one little feature has saved all the bottles of water I didn’t use. A local water company gives out refillable bottles, so I can always have a nice cold bottle of filtered water.

  22. Erika'sPowerMinute says:

    Turning off the shower while lathering up hair/bod–you only need it to get wet and to rinse.

  23. vastrightwing says:

    If we all “save” fresh water, then we are going to cause higher water rates. The reason is because the water system relies on people using a certain amount of water each month for their revenue. If that revenue declines (due to saving water) then the utility will raise their rates! Don’t fall for this trick. The electric utilities do this all the time. They cry for us to save electricity, so we do, then they cry about not making enough revenue, so they get a rate increase. We always loose on this one.
    Here are all the ways in which we get clean drinking water:
    1) Evaporation from the oceans turns to fresh clean water (AkA rain).
    2) There is plenty of underground water
    3) Still plenty of lakes and rivers
    4) We can mechanically desalinate ocean water to fresh water.
    5) We can extract water from the atmosphere using a condenser.
    6) We can filter and recycle waste water, even yes… that too.
    The media is trying to scare you. This is all just FUD. here we go with “global warming II”. it’s so easy to scare. Next up: we’re running out of beer.

    • RiverStyX says:

      Wont work on my town. Our utility company is non-profit..Which means my bill is 30 bucks a month for running several computers 24/7

    • c_c says:

      1) Evaporation from the oceans turns to fresh clean water (AkA rain).
      And a lot of it falls back into the ocean.

      2) There is plenty of underground water.
      Uh not really… India is having huge problems with their aquifers being drawn down and not refilling. It’s happening in the US also to the point that they’re having to regulate withdrawals.

      3) Still plenty of lakes and rivers
      Sure, in some regions. But fresh water is not evenly distributed where people live. Look at the US. There certainly are not “plenty of lakes and rivers” to meet the water needs of the Southwest. I work in the water resources industry, in a region that traditionally has been water rich. And between population growth and more frequent droughts the last 20 years, trust me, no one is saying there will always be plenty of water from the lakes and rivers.

      4) We can mechanically desalinate ocean water to fresh water.
      True, but it is extremely expensive and uses a lot of energy.

      5) We can extract water from the atmosphere using a condenser.
      Yea Dune! Let’s all wear Stillsuits too! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_of_the_Dune_universe#Stillsuit

      6) We can filter and recycle waste water, even yes… that too.
      Agree – more and more emphasis is going to be put on reuse.

  24. He says:

    Get an automatic load sensing washing machine. I hear they don’t last as long, but they do save water.

    Install instant hot water heaters on taps which are far away from the tank so that you don’t have to run it to warm it up.

    Don’t replace your entire faucets, just replace the aerators. Costs less than a buck and makes any faucet a low flow model.

  25. VeganPixels says:

    Hank Hill already exposed “water-saving” toilets for what they’re actually worth. In my building, by the time water gets up to a temperature that will actually clean dishes, the dishwasher cycle is already on rinse.

  26. ColoradoShark says:

    Math time!

    Toilet saves 20,000 gallons per year? Let’s assume a family of four. Each person saves 5000 gallons per year. Divide by 365 days per year, so each person saves about 13 gallons per day.

    Maybe if these were the old 3 or 4 gallon a flush toilets being replaced. If they were the new 1.6 gallons a flush type, you’d have to go about 20 times a day to save 13 gallons a day.

    These must be the same people that compare your internet speed to dial up.

    • AnthonyC says:

      Agreed.

      Then again, the last time I had dial up was in ’95. I lived in a town where the water table was about 3″ below ground level, the phone lines were very old, and I usually got about 2.4kbps, so for me those speed comparisons were an understatement.

  27. stonny9 says:

    I have low flow toilets, always wash full loads in both the washer and dishwasher. have the disher air dry, have a 1.5gmp shower head, and take 5 min or less showers

  28. arcticJKL says:

    My trick to conserve water is to convince everyone else to conserve water, thus leaving more water for me!

  29. RiverStyX says:

    Water saving toilet? Even penn and teller covered this 5 years ago! People, I want you to conserve water use, but the cost of having a gross bathroom is just not worth it. Check out those water-less urinals some gas stations have..Disgusting and they stink to high hell! If you really want to save water, shower for 5 minutes a day and avoid taking a bath; that’s a more logical solution. I know of some people who spend 20 or 30 minutes in the shower every single day.

    Dishwasher? Again, a sink full of soapy dishwater compares favorably to an energy-consuming dishwasher that takes an hour or more of scalding hot water, expensive system-polluting dishwasher detergent (And this is assuming you dont have that wimpy “No Phosphorus” soap or else you’ll be stuck handwashing them anyway to get the spots off), and heaven help you if the thing breaks down. If you have problems hand-washing, soak your troublesome pots and pans in hot soapy water for 20 minutes. Use a low-flowing stream and some quality dish soap, rinse in cold water..Do you really need me to tell you this, or are people really convinced that dishwashers are somehow “Green”?

    Pack this story up and sell it to Al Gore. Even Clorox has its fingers in the “Green” pie.

    • RiverStyX says:

      Sorry to get in here again, but this all reminds me of my co-worker..Shes a typical protester/vegan/liberal with wild hair, tattoos, and bumper stickers supporting obama and gay rights.
      Upon talking to her and hanging out with her, she drinks bottled water made by nestle, drives a Volkswagon (Pioneered by the 3rd reich), buys gasoline from BP “because its cheaper”, and shes just so dirty. This is how hippies always have been too..back in the 60s it was the VW buses that got poor gas mileage, lived to do nothing more then smoke pot and listen to music (Is there anything more selfish then that?)
      It just seems like protesters and green freaks only do what *they* want to support, have the basic self-interest principles we all do, but somehow bitch and moan about everything else just because they can and not because they believe in it.

      This whole “Protesting” and “Conservation” is anything but that when you get down to the reality of it and see that people rarely practice what they preach. Most of these groups like Greenpeace only stand for these causes because they know it pays the bills.

    • AnthonyC says:

      That smell isn’t coming from the waterless urinals. It’s there because you’re in a gas station bathroom. Think about it: have you *ever* been in a gas station bathroom that didn’t smell? I know I haven’t. Then again, I’ve been in many bathrooms that used waterless urinals, all perfectly smell-free.

      Wired ran an article a few months ago about this. Some bathrooms have always stank, but it isn’t until something new is installed that people start to complain- by blaming the new thing. This can actually be tested. First, clean the bathroom more often and see if it helps. If not, make sure the urinal is working as it is supposed to. If so, that means somewhere sewer gases are rising back into the bathroom- and they can test where it’s coming from (I think by releasing some sort of gas farther down in the plumbing and seeing which part of the bathroom it emerges from). It’s probably from the toilets, not the urinals.

  30. TooManyHobbies says:

    Don’t water the lawn. I practice Darwinian agriculture around my house. I now have a nice green lawn in August drought when many neighbors’ yards are brown (nobody waters around here). My secret? My lawn is mowed weeds.

    Also, my showers are typically 3 to 4 minutes, and I don’t run the water full blast that whole time. I get wet, then I turn the head down to ultra saver where there are just two tiny needles of water (I find if I turn it off completely I can’t soap up properly). I soap up and scrub, then turn it back to full blast to rinse.

    There are people at work who turn the water on for over a minute to wash their hands. I turn it on, get one hand wet, turn it off, get some soap with the dry hand, rub for 20 seconds, then back on for 4 or 5 seconds to rinse. Done. Also I only use one paper towel to dry, because my hands don’t have to be bone dry leaving the bathroom, they’ll be dry by the time I walk the 100 feet back to my desk. I’ve seen people take 4 or 5 paper towels to dry their hands, throwing most of them away mostly dry.

    • jesirose says:

      You’re supposed to wash your hands for at least 30 seconds to get them clean. The hot water does as much as the soap does.

      • TooManyHobbies says:

        I’ve always heard 20 seconds. Two rounds of “happy birthday”. And it’s the mechanical action of washing that does it, not much the soap. The mechanical action gets stuff off the skin and free to be rinsed away.

        Pretty much every single person at work throws the water on full blast, wets their hands a little, then scrubs their hands without touching the water stream for 10 to 30 seconds, dumping a quart to a gallon of water uselessly down the drain, then rinses. Then they’ll grab about 5 paper towels, pat their hands a couple of times and wad up the mostly dry paper towels and throw them away.

  31. Double Trouble says:

    Put a brick in your toilet tank if you don’t intend to replace your toilet. It will reduce your water use by its volume with each flush.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Nope. it’s been designed to flush with the full amount of water.Put a brick in it, you’ll have to flush twice. Gotta get a low flow toilet to work properly, and even some of them fail due to poor design.

  32. anduin says:

    Live on an acreage, makes sense fiscally to do all we can to save $$$ and water. We have a container under the basement deck that we can pump water into from a sub pump. Also most of the water that collects on the roof or the decks funnels into this storage container. Then when we need to water our grass in dryer areas or the trees or any other plants outdoors, we use a pump inside the storage unit to get it out. The water just gets recycled for the most part and we end up not using any of our clean drinking water.

  33. george69 says:

    It is free here, and we use all we want. I was lucky and got the last 13L per flush toilets for the house I am building. You can keep those wimpy flush ones.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      You can get “power flush” toilets that work even better than that with less water.

  34. Baka-no-Kami says:

    In case no one mentioned it yet I picked upba new flush from Home Depot. It has two buttons. One for a regular flush and one for a half flush when it’s nothing that needs a lot of water. It something that was standard on German toilets when i was visiting a friend. It cost $25, took 5 minutes to install, and reduced my monthly water use about 30%.

    • AnthonyC says:

      My dorm had these. I can honestly say that in 4 years, I had to use the large flush perhaps 6 times.

  35. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Not only is bottled water totally wasteful, but most people can’t tell the difference between bottled and tap water. In a blind water taste test by Good Morning America, New York City tap water came out the clear favorite amongst testers: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=126984&page=1

    #1: New York City Tap: received 45% of the vote
    #2: Poland Spring: received 24% of the vote
    #3: O-2, Oxygenated Water: received 19% of the vote
    #4: Evian: received 12% of the vote

    and, If most of what you drink is bottled water, assuming you drink 64 oz. of water per day, you’d consume a little under 3 – 20 oz. bottles of water per day. Those 3 bottles per day would cost you $3/day or $1,095 per year. That same 1,095 bottles filled with tap water would cost you $0.48 PER YEAR. So one bottle of water costs more than a whole years worth of tap water. and as far as purity is concerned, tap water is actually held to higher purity standards than bottled water is, in the United States. Tap water is regulated under the EPA’s Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA), while bottled water is regulated under less stringent standards by the U.S. FDA’s Federal Food, Drug, & Cosmetic Act. http://20somethingfinance.com/bottled-water-versus-tap-water/

    And if you drink trendy “Fiji” water, you’re shipping it from a small island nation half way around the world where most of the residents have no access to clean water, and you support not only the wealthy owners, Steve and Lynda Resnick, but also the island nation’s oppressive military dictatorship.
    http://motherjones.com/politics/2009/09/fiji-spin-bottle

    • Battlehork says:

      New York tap water is really good. Tap water in Florida tastes like sulphur but it’s OK if you filter it.

  36. TuxRug says:

    Another idea:

    I have talked to people and asked “what do you do when you’re in the shower and the water gets too cool?”

    The response I’ve gotten every single time: “Turn up the hot water.”

    My answer: “Turn down the cold water.”

    I wonder how many people have thought of that?

  37. Wei says:

    It should be noted that the dishwasher uses less water, but more electricity.

    • AnthonyC says:

      True, but…
      less water also means less *hot* water. Heating 1 gallon of groundwater water (50 degrees F) to household hot water temperatures (~150 F) takes about 1 megajoule of thermal energy. If the fuel used for hot water were instead used at a power plant, it would produce about .4MJ, or .11kWh So the water savings offset electricity use, at least partially.
      Also, the majority of a dishwasher’s electricity use happens during the heated dry phase. So if you let your dishes air dry or dry by hand, you eliminate most of that.
      Older dishwashers use electricity to boost the temperature of incoming water. Modern dishwashers do this less, since improvements in detergents have reduced the necessary water temperature for a good cleaning.

      Numerically, it works out to be a very close call, energy-wise. The difference is in whether the energy use shows up in your electric bill or your oil/gas bill.

  38. sj_user1 says:

    Some of these numbers don’t add up. Each member of my family would have to flush the toilet 18 times a day to save 20,000 gallons a year.

  39. AnthonyC says:

    All good points, especially if your goal is to save money on your water bill.

    If your goal is to use less water for environmental reasons, there are other, higher-impact, things you can do. Remember, about 70% of water is used for agriculture, 20% for industry, and only 10% at home. The water footprint of beef is about 2000 gallons per pound; reducing meat in your diet can save far more water than any of the steps above.

  40. MercuryPDX says:

    I have a showerhead that has a “pause button” that shuts the flow off. I may be in the shower for 12-15 minutes, but the water is on for half that time. :)

    Check with your local water utility. They may offer you incentives to convert your toilets to dual flush/low flow.

  41. Plasmafox says:

    “Some toilets on the market use less than a gallon per flush. Install one of these babies and it could save you more than 20,000 gallons of water per year.”

    And in order for these toilets to flush a normal #2 from an adult human beng, you need to get out the plunger and to flush three times.

    A much more effective way is to buy a regular toilet and install an adjustable dual flush unit. Basically, it uses two buttons attached to two different floats- one that uses just enough water to start the siphon(for the #1) and one that uses more(but not full) power to deal with “solids”. This way you actually have a functioning toliet, and these kits are available from any hardware store for around $30, so it saves money versus replacing your toilet as well, while giving the same benefit.

  42. gman863 says:

    Until the local MUD (Municipal Utility District) realigns its billing structure, I’ll use all the water I damn well please.

    My water/sewer bill is a minimum of $46/month. Although I only use 2000 gallons of water per month, I’m forced to pay for a minimum of 5,000 gallons (included in the base billing amount). This, on top of an annual “MUD” tax assessment, makes my actual water bill closer to $95/month!

    If it wasn’t for the side effect of having to cut the lawn more often, I’d water the lawn three times a week (even in Winter) as a “fuck you” for getting ripped off on this billing method.

  43. sean says:

    I have a rain barrel which I use for laundry, some indoor plants, and occasionally drinking water. The effect on water use is really negligible, but my sheets are all softy. Oh, and I piss outside 90+% of the time.

    70% of water is used outdoors, and it’s not so easy to alter my gardeners’ habits. Planting succulents will have a greater effect than any minor thing you can do in the house.

  44. kjsnider says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t believe the math that can equal up to saving 20,000 gallons of water with a toilet like the story says. It talks of a toilet using .8 gallon / flush. Say you were using some toilet that was using 4 gallons / flush. ( Granted, most toilets today can only use 1.6g / flush.) You would be saving 3.2 gallons / flush. It would take 17 Flushes per day to save that much water. At the more normal 1.6 gallon / flush crapper that you probably already have, it would take 68 flushes / day.

    No where does it talk about the already “effecient” crappers that take 3-4 flushes to do away with some “jobs”. I can about imagine what a .8 gallon could do.