Request a Conservation Kit
Water conservation begins at home. Small adjustments can have a large impact. Boston residents can order a free water conservation kit to get started.
- Flow meter bag to measure water usage in showered and sinks before installing conservation devices
- Dye tablets to check the toilet for leaks
- Kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators to maintain flow while reducing usage
- Low-flow replacement showerheads
Outdoor Conservation Tips
Water a lawn only when it needs it. A good way to determine this is to step on it. If it springs back up, no watering is needed. If it remains flat, it is time to water. The best time to water your lawn is early morning. Watering mid-day will result in a high rate of evaporation and sunburnt grass and will leave grass vulnerable to disease from mildew and fungus
Don’t water when it is windy. Your water will go everywhere but on your lawn
Make sure that the sprinkler is aimed at your lawn and not the street or sidewalk
Install a trigger nozzle on your outside hose. This will allow the water to be automatically turned off when the hose is not in use
If you have an automatic sprinkler, make sure the timer is set to water each landscape efficiently. Install a rain or soil moisture sensor that turns the system off when it rains or if moisture is present in the soil
Raise the mower blade level to 2-3 inches or more. Longer grass retains more moisture because it shades the roots. It also encourages deeper rooting, requires less fertilizer and competes better against weeds
Aerate your soil in the spring and fall to aid water absorption and retention
Garden and Flower Care
Cover your ground with mulch to reduce evaporation and the number of weeds that would otherwise compete with the plant for moisture
Save time and water by placing shrubs, flowers, and vegetables near each other in your garden
Plan your garden according to the various zones in your yard (hot/sunny, cool/shady, moist, dry, etc.)
Choose low water-use plants that not only withstand dry summers but actually thrive in drier soil. Check out the Massachusetts Horticulture website at www.masshort.org for more information
Use a drip irrigation system or soaker hose in gardens that need the most water. Drip irrigation can use 30%-70% less water than overhead sprinkler systems. A soaker hose is a canvas or rubber hose with perforations. It is most effective when it lies on top or slightly below soil level and mulch is placed over the soil and hose. You can install the hose in the spring and leave it in place all season. In general, use the drip irrigation or soaker hose methods until the soil is moist 3-4 inches below the surface
Place rain barrels or other large containers under downspouts to collect rainwater to use for watering your garden. Use a lid, mesh fabric, or several drops of baby oil on the surface of the water to prevent mosquito breeding
Indoor Conservation Tips
Leaky toilets waste a lot of water. Your toilet could have a leak that you may not even know about. To test toilets for invisible leaks, place a few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet into the toilet’s tank. Wait about 10 to 15 minutes without flushing, and if the coloring appears in the bowl, there is a leak. To repair this, the flush valve may need to be cleaned or replaced. Parts are inexpensive and easy to install.
The toilet is the single biggest water user in your home. Flushing a regular toilet uses 5 to 7 gallons per flush, which accounts for more than one-third of the water used in your home each day. By replacing a regular model toilet with a low-flow toilet you can automatically reduce your home water consumption by 25%. Low-flow toilets, which are now installed per the building code, use only 1.5 gallons per flush. The MWRA has a list of available low flow toilets.
If you cannot replace your toilet, consider reducing the volume of each flush by placing a toilet dam or a water-filled plastic bottle weighted with gravel in the tank. Be sure not to interfere with the flushing mechanism.
Faucets and Showerheads
A faucet or showerhead that drips just two tablespoons per minute can waste over 5,000 gallons per year. Worn out washers are the main cause of most dripping faucets or showerheads. They are inexpensive and easy to install.
Faucet aerators that mix air with tap water can reduce the flow to 1.5 to 2.5 gallons per minute. Without the aerators, the faucet uses 3 to 7 gallons per minute. Installing a faucet aerator is a simple procedure that can reduce your water usage.
Some showerheads use 3 to 7 gallons or more per minute. A low flow showerhead uses only 1.5 gallons per minute.
BWSC supplies faucet aerators and low flow showerheads at no cost to our customers as part of our conservation kit.
Check under sinks, behind your washing machines and around basement plumbing for wet areas. Leaks not only waste water, they could be damaging your walls, floors and ceilings.
Dishwashers and Washing Machines
Use your dishwashers and washing machines for full loads only. Newer energy and water efficient models are available. When selecting new appliances, check the water and energy efficiency ratings in the manufacturer’s specifications or consumer magazines and look for the Energy Star label.
- Shut off the water when brushing your teeth, shaving or doing dishes
- Take shorter showers and don’t fill the bathtub to the top when bathing
- Keep a jug of drinking water in your refrigerator to avoid running water until it is cold enough to drink
- While dining out, say no to the glass of water brought to your table, if you know you will not drink it