Save Water in the New Year

Now that we’re into the New Year – are you sticking with your New Year’s Resolutions? While eating healthy, hitting the gym, and losing those holiday pounds are often high on the resolution list – it’s important to remember the importance of saving water. Did you resolve to save more water this year?

If you’re looking for helpful tips and ideas to save water, you’ve come to the right place. WaterSense, a voluntary partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created an excellent resource to help you stay on track.


  • Take the “I’m for Water” pledge and commit to saving water throughout the year. If you’re just starting now, don’t worry! You can take the pledge any time.
  • Learn about how you can reduce water usage by first getting to know your water bill. Are you currently using too much?


  • Look into purchasing WaterSense labeled fixtures for your bathroom and kitchen.
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and try reducing your shower time to save even more water.


  • Celebrate ‘Fix a Leak Week’ by checking pipes throughout the inside and outside of your house for leaks. Make sure no water is dripping in shower or drain pipes – if it is – be sure to remedy with pipe tape.
  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is used. Did it change?


  • Celebrate Earth Day! Lay mulch around your flowers and plants to prevent evaporation after watering.
  • Only water your lawn when needed.


  • April showers bring May flowers! If you’re concerned about keeping your grass and landscaping lush, be sure to check your watering system to ensure no water is being wasted.
  • Do you have an irrigation system? Look for an irrigation professional certified by a WaterSense labeled program to help maximize efficiency.


  • Look for rebates should you choose to install WaterSense labeled solutions in your home.


  • With high summer temperatures, avoid watering your lawn and plants in the middle of the day. This will reduce quick evaporation of water.


  • Happy World Water Week! Celebrate by committing to wash your clothes only if you have a full load.


  • Calculate how much you can save by using WaterSense labeled products in your home.
  • Thinking about adding new landscaping to your yard this fall? Research native plants that don’t require a lot of water to survive.


  • During Energy Action Month, swap out any inefficient showerheads with ones that release fewer gallons of water per minute.


  • Check your toilet for leaks.
  • Consider getting a new WaterSense labeled toilet to reduce water usage by up to 60 percent.


  • Be sure to scrape leftover food from your plate into the trash to avoid wasting water rinsing dishes off.
  • Get an early start on your resolutions and take the I’m For Water pledge again!

Are you up for the challenge this year? Making small changes each month can truly make a difference. Help save water this year and every year by committing to using and wasting less today!

Fix a Leak Week 2017

The Facts on Leaks

March 19-25 is Fix a Leak Week 2017.

Fix a Leak Week is celebrated in March of each year as a time to remind Americans to check their household fixtures and irrigation systems for leaks. In addition, it is a good time to address the leaks that we cannot see — those in our underground infrastructure. By addressing leaks in our homes and in our water systems, we can help to save our world’s most precious resource.

Leaks in the Home

  • The average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry.
  • Household leaks can waste more than one trillion gallons annually nationwide. That’s equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes.
  • 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
  • Common types of leaks found in the home include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves. All are easily correctable.
  • Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10%  on their water bills.
  • Keep your home leak-free by repairing dripping faucets, toilet flappers, and showerheads. In most cases, fixture replacement parts don’t require a major investment.
  • Most common leaks can be eliminated after retrofitting a household with new WaterSense labeled fixtures and other high-efficiency appliances.

Leak Detection:

  • fix-a-leak-week-2017A good method to check for leaks is to examine your winter water usage. It’s likely that a family of four has a serious leak problem if its winter water use exceeds 12,000 gallons per month.
  • Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.
  • One way to find out if you have a toilet leak is to place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 10 minutes without flushing, you have a leak. Make sure to flush immediately after this experiment to avoid staining the tank.

Faucets and Showerheads:

  • leaking-faucetA leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. That’s the amount of water needed to take more than 180 showers!
  • Leaky faucets can be fixed by checking faucet washers and gaskets for wear and replacing them if necessary. If you are replacing a faucet, look for the WaterSense label.
  • A showerhead leaking at ten drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year. That’s the amount of water it takes to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher.
  • Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection using pipe tape and a wrench. If you are replacing a showerhead, look for one that has earned the WaterSense label.


  • If your toilet is leaking, the cause is often an old, faulty toilet flapper. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays, or minerals build up on it. It’s usually best to replace the whole rubber flapper—a relatively easy, inexpensive do-it-yourself project that pays for itself in no time.
  • If you do need to replace the entire toilet, look for a WaterSense labeled model. If the average family replaces its older, inefficient toilets with new WaterSense labeled ones, it could save 13,000 gallons per year. Retrofitting the house could save the family nearly $2,400 in water and wastewater bills over the lifetime of the toilets.


  • leaking-hoseAn irrigation system should be checked each spring before use to make sure it was not damaged by frost or freezing.
  • An irrigation system that has a leak 1/32nd of an inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.
  • To ensure that your in-ground irrigation system is not leaking water, consult with a WaterSense irrigation partner who has passed a certification program focused on water efficiency; look for a WaterSense irrigation partner.
  • Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks while you run your hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.

If you find any of these leaks, and need assistance on how to fix them, visit the EPA’s “Fixing Leaks at Home” page.

Leaks in Our Nation’s Infrastructure

A 20-inch water main break in Portland, Maine’s Bayside neighborhood. The rupture of a century-old water main flooded Somerset Street, disrupted 4,000 homes and businesses, and prompted a 24-hour boil-water notice. Most of Portland’s pipes are old. John Patriquin / Portland Press Herald Staff Photographer

About 20% of our nation’s drinking water is “lost” before it reaches the consumer, amounting to about seven billion gallons of clean, treated water lost in this way every day. Also called non-revenue water, this lost water would be enough to supply the ten largest cities in the United States for a full year. It also accounts for billions of dollars in lost revenue each year – funds that utilities desperately need to keep their systems running smoothly and safely. Most of this non-revenue water is the result of our nation’s leaking, aging pipes, which received a grade of D on the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2017 Report Card.

Fixing our Nation’s Infrastructure:

  • Conduct water audits, which take into account both real and apparent losses and are the most efficient, cost-effective way to accurately assess non-revenue water.
  • Conduct Capital Efficiency Plans™, which pinpoint and prioritize areas in a system most in need of improvement.
  • Pass legislation that increases available funding for water systems.
  • Conduct Business Practice Evaluations to allow utilities to function more efficiently and to utilize their limited dollars more effectively.

Feel free to share the above infographic (with attribution), download a printable PDF, or request a printed poster.

During Fix a Leak Week, while we focus on leaks and repairs in our homes, let’s also give attention to our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Through careful management and capital planning, efficient use of infrastructure budgets, and increased infrastructure funding, we can assure we have a sufficient, safe, sustainable water supply for generations to come.

A New Year’s Resolution That Has a Big Impact and is Easy to Keep: Save Water!

While many New Year’s resolutions include renewing that old gym membership or cleaning out the garage, a great way to start the new year off right is to focus on conserving water. With severe drought across the country, including New England, water is becoming ever more valuable and people are looking for ways to get the most out of every drop. One of the easiest steps we can take to help mitigate the impacts of drought is conserving water. Unlike most New Year’s resolutions, making a few simple changes to save water is an easy resolution to stick to and it makes a significant difference in the world. Let’s look at a few simple ways you and your community can conserve water.

Ditch Those Old Appliances

Image courtesy of

The average person in the United States uses about 80-100 gallons of water each day. Of that amount, almost all of it comes from appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, and faucets. Toilets alone account for approximately 27% of the water consumed in your home and many older toilets use up to seven gallons of water per flush. Installing a high-efficiency toilet that uses less than 2 gallons per flush can save up to 18,000 gallons of water a year – about $120 off your water bill annually. And if you really want to go green, and are brave to boot – consider one of these alternative toilets!

Washing machines offer another opportunity to save water year-round. Washing machines, on average, account for around 20% of a household’s water use, and switching to a high-efficiency washing machine can cut that water consumption in half. If one in ten American households were to install high-efficiency appliances, we would save 74 billion gallons of water per year as a nation. That’s an annual savings of about $1.5 billion dollars on utility bills. These appliances may have a higher upfront cost, but when you save 30-75 percent of your water bill each month, these investments quickly pay for themselves.

Water Sense is a partnership program of the EPA and is the standard when it comes to high efficiency faucets and accessories. Image Courtesy of

For a more affordable option, updating fixtures such as showerheads and faucets around the house can significantly reduce the amount of water you use. Conventional showerheads use as much as 10 gallons of water per minute. Modern showerheads use just 2-3 gallons per minute, which saves water and minimizes the stress on your water heater. Also, installing faucet aerators can help regulate water pressure to create varying flow rates to use less water depending on the task at hand, saving thousands of gallons annually. Updating your appliances and faucets is the most cost effective solution when it comes to saving water. Combined with simple lifestyle changes, these innovative technologies enable us to save significant amounts of water.

Small Leaks, Big Problems

Although it may look insignificant, a lightly dripping faucet can waste over 20 gallons of water per day. Toilet leaks are another major problem that often go undetected. To check if a toilet might be leaking, place a “toilet dye” tablet in the toilet tank and closely monitor the toilet bowl. If, without flushing, the water in the bowl changes color within half an hour, the toilet has a leak that needs to be repaired. Another way to determine if there is a water leak in your home is to read your house water meter before and after an extended period when no water is being used, like when the family is away on vacation. If the meter does not stay the same, then you have a leak somewhere in your home.

Manage the Meat

Infographic courtesy of

Our favorite steak or burger may taste great, but it takes a lot of water to reach the dinner plate.  A pound of beef requires almost 2,500 gallons of water to produce. By avoiding beef for just one day a week, we can save thousands of gallons of water each year. In fact, we would save more water by not eating one pound of beef than we would by not showering for six months. We can save even more by cutting out other foods that require a lot of water to produce such as almonds (1,929 gal/lb.), chocolate (2,061 gal/lb.), pork (1630 gal/lb.), and butter (2,044 gal/lb.). When we do eat beef or other water intensive foods, we should choose pasture raised because grass is less likely to require irrigation compared to corn or soy used in the conventional method of raising livestock. Even cutting out that one extra cup of coffee each day can save hundreds of gallons of water. Being conscious of what we eat is not only good for our health, but also the environment.

To Wrap It Up

When it comes to daily water usage, even the smallest action to save water is significant to combat our country’s severe drought. Paying attention to how you and your family use water in your home will help you come up with the best ways in which your family can make simple changes that can have a big impact. For your New Year’s resolution, think of one thing each day that will save water – even small ideas can add up to big savings, for both our wallet and our planet.