Think you're frugal with water use?
Use the calculator on this page to see how your water use compares to the Houston average.
How to use water more efficiently
In the next 30-50 years there will be a rise in population in Houston and its surrounding areas bringing the total to 11 million people. We look at the projected population growth against our potable water supply. While the population continues to rise, our water supply does not. An increase in conservation is severely needed. There are many ways to conserve that are easy and ultimately cost effective.
Communities across the country are starting to face challenges in maintaining healthy and affordable water supplies; that's why it's more important than ever to use our water wisely and not waste it.
75 percent of water we use at home is used in the bathroom.
Efficiency in the bathroom
Check all your toilets for leaks. Very often these leaks are silent so you don’t realize they exist until they have wasted hundreds of gallons of water. Add 10 drops of food coloring in the top tank, then don’t flush for 15 minutes. If the color shows up in the toilet bowl, you have a leak. Don’t delay! Fix it right away!
Since 1992, new toilets installed in Texas homes must use no more than 1.6 gallons or less per flush. Replacing older toilets can save water and money in the long run. If this isn’t practical, consider using some type of toilet tank displacement device to reduce the amount of water in the tank. (Do NOT use bricks for this purpose because they eventually crumble and can damage the working mechanisms.)
Take shorter showers. Shortening a 10 minute shower to five minutes can save 25 gallons of water.
Here’s the no-brainer—Don’t run the water while brushing teeth or shaving… just turn on enough water to rinse the toothbrush and sink. This alone saves 3-4 gallons of water each time!
Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, “How can I waste some water today?”
Most of the time, careless water use is a matter of habit; like running the water until it gets cold enough to drink. Or letting the water run while you brush your teeth or shave. The days of cheap, plentiful water are behind us so it is time to stop taking our valuable water resources for granted, and to get serious about using water more efficiently.
The key to becoming a good water steward is to acknowledge that we have a serious long term water supply problem and to make a firm commitment to be part of the solution! When you reach to turn on the faucet, for example, ask yourself, “Is it worth the water?” If the answer is not an enthusiastic Yes, don’t turn it on. The little things add up. Here are some things you can do that do not require a lifestyle change—mostly just the application of old fashioned common sense.
NEVER pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it… perhaps to water your indoor plants.
Families don’t all use water the same, but national statistics suggest that nearly 40 percent of the water we use in our homes gets flushed down the toilet; more than 30 percent is used in showers and baths; doing the laundry and washing dishes take about 15 percent; leaks drain off 5 percent or more… and that leaves just 10 percent to use for everything else.
Another huge water waster is leaks… drips from leaky faucets, leaky toilets, and leaky shower heads add up in a hurry. Even a leak that drips just two tablespoons a minute accumulates to 15 gallons a day. That’s 105 gallons a week or 5,460 wasted gallons a year… and that’s money down the drain.
Save water in the kitchen
Instead of running the water, fill a pot or bowl—or put the stopper in the sink—for cleaning vegetables and fruit, or when washing pots, pans and cooking utensils. Then, when emptying the water, run the disposal.
If your family drinks a lot of water, keep a bottle of water in the refrigerator. This can save between 200 to 300 gallons a month.
Running the dishwasher only with a full load saves water, energy, detergent and money. Check the owner’s manual. Why fully wash off the dishes you’re loading—if scraping them will work just as well.
When purchasing new appliances, check the water requirements of various models and brands. Save more by using less.
Use less water for cooking. Food is more nutritious when the minerals are not boiled out of it and poured down the sink.
Garbage disposals use a lot of running water to operate. Consider maintaining a compost pile—this saves water and energy and can help your garden thrive, too.
Don’t use running water to defrost frozen food. Plan ahead to defrost it in the refrigerator overnight, or in the microwave. Depending on how much you cook, this can save 50 to 150 gallons of water a month.
Install aerators or spray taps on kitchen faucets. An aerator mixes air with water, which not only cuts the flow, but also reduces splashing. A spray tap is similar, but can move from side to side like a small shower head, to put the stream of water exactly where it is needed.
A Little Goes a Long Way
The potable water supply on this Earth is finite. With that being said, we have many tools we can use to extend and replenish the life of our water supply. It is our responsibility just as much as the next generation's to do everything that we can to conserve; not just for yourself, but for your children as well. We at Northwest Harris County MUD are simply requesting you be mindful of the water you are using and where it is going, for that alone could save countless gallons across the district.