Saving Water Indoors

Are you using more water than you thought? Take a look at your bill. The average daily water use in the nine-county Dolores/San Juan River Basin of Southwest Colorado is about 185 gallons per person per day. You'd be surprised at how much water you are using and money you can save by following conservation tips.




Inside your house, bathroom facilities claim over 50 percent of the water used. Toilets use nearly 27 % of bathroom water, showers 17 %, faucets about 8%, and baths 2%. 



·         When purchasing new or replacement toilets, consider low-volume units which use less than half the water of older models. Low-volume units are now required by local building codes. Also, check with your local water utility to see whether toilet rebate programs are available. 

·         Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the toilet bowl within 30 minutes (flush as soon as test is done, since food coloring could stain the tank).

·         Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available, and easily installed. 

·         If the toilets handle frequently sticks in the flush position letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.

·         Install a toilet dam or displacement device such as a bag or bottle to cut down on the amount of water needed for each flush. Be sure installation does not interfere with the operating parts.

·         Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily.

·         Dispose of waste in the trash rather than the toilet.




·         Take shorter showers.

·         Replace your showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version. Some units are available that allow you to shut off the flow without adjusting the water temperature knobs.

·         In the shower, turn water on to get wet; turn off to lather up; then turn back on to rinse off. Repeat when washing your hair.

·         Place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water and use this to water plants. The same technique can be used when washing dishes or vegetables in the sink.




  • Retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors to slow the flow of water.

  • Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. If your faucet is dripping at a rate of one drop per second, that equates to approximately 2,700 gallons per year of wasted water. This adds to the cost of water and sewer utilities and adds to your water bill.


 Replace high water use clothes washers with more efficient low-use devices.

  • Operate clothes washers only when they are fully loaded.

  • Set the water level for the size of load you are using.


 Operate automatic dishwashers only when they are fully loaded.

  • When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet.



  • Never pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or for cleaning around your home.

  • Verify that your home is leak free. Many homes have hidden water leaks. Read 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, there is a leak.

  • Don't let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin.



  • Store drinking water in the refrigerator. Don't let the tap run while you are waiting for cool water to flow.

  • Do not use water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave.

  • Kitchen sink disposals require a lot of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing of food waste, instead of using a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals also can add 50 percent to the volume of solids in the sewer system or they can lead to problems with a septic tank.

  • Consider installing an instant water heater so you don't have to let the water run while it heats up. This will also help to reduce water heating costs for your household.

  • Insulate your water pipes. You'll get hot water faster and avoid wasting water while it heats up.

  • If you have a well at home, check your pump periodically. Listen to hear if the pump kicks on and off while water is not being used. If it does, you have a leak.

Install water softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on vacation.