23 Water Conservation Tips From the City of Watauga

Conserve water indoors and out with this helpful list put together by the city of Watauga.


  1. Insulate your water pipes.  You’ll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.
  2. Never install a water-to-air heat pump or air-conditioning system.  Air-to-air models are just as efficient and do not waste water.
  3. When adjusting water temperatures, instead of turning water flow up, try turning it down.  If the water is too hot or cold, turn the offender down rather than increasing water flow to balance the temperatures.
  4. Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly.  Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste instead of using the garbage disposal.
  5. Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don’t have to let the water run while it heats up.  This will reduce heating costs for your household.
  6. Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods.  Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or by using the defrost setting on your microwave.
  7. If the toilet flush handle frequently sticks in the flush position, letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.
  8. Don’t over water your lawn.  As a general rule, lawns only need watering every 5 to 7 days in the summer and every 10 to 14 days in the winter.  A hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for as long as two weeks.
  9. Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest.  This reduces losses from evaporation.
  10. Don’t water your street, driveway or sidewalk.  Position your sprinklers so that the water lands on the lawn and shrubs not the paved areas.
  11. Install sprinklers that are the most water-efficient for each use.  Soaker hoses are an example of water-efficient method of irrigation.
  12. Regularly check sprinkler systems and timing devices to be sure they are operating properly.  It is now the law that “anyone who purchases and installs an automatic lawn sprinkler system MUST install a rain sensor device or switch which will override the irrigation cycle of the sprinkler system when adequate rainfall has occurred.”  To retrofit your existing system, contact an irrigation professional for more information.
  13. Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches.  A lawn cut higher encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely clipped lawn.
  14. Avoid over fertilizing your lawn.  Apply fertilizers that contain slow-release, water-insoluble forms of nitrogen.  The application of fertilizers increases need for water.
  15. Mulch to retain moisture in the soil.  Mulching also helps to control weeds that compete with plants for water.
  16. Plant native and/or drought-tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees.  Once established, they do not need to be watered as frequently and they usually will survive a dry period without any watering.  Group plants together based on similar water needs.
  17. Do not hose down your driveway or sidewalk.  Use a broom to clean leaves and other debris from these areas.  Using a hose to clean a driveway can waste hundreds of gallons of water.
  18. Outfit your hose with a shut-off nozzle, which can be adjusted down to fine spray so that water flows only as needed.  When finished, “Turn it Off” at the faucet instead of at the nozzle to avoid leaks.
  19. Use hose washers between spigots and water hoses to eliminate leaks.
  20. Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended.  Your garden hoses can pour out 600 gallons or more in only a few hours, so don’t leave the sprinkler running all day.  Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn it off.
  21. Check all hoses, connectors and spigots regularly.
  22. Consider using a commercial car wash that recycles water.  If you wash your own vehicle, park on the grass to do so.
  23. If you have a swimming pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter.  A single back flushing with a traditional filter uses from 180 to 250 gallons or more of water.

Source: Watauga Water Conservation


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