Water Conservation Facts and Tips

Faucets and Showers

  • Turn off the faucet while shaving, brushing your teeth, and washing your face.
  • Install aerators with flow restrictors on all faucets.
  • Install low-flow showerheads.
  • Turn the water off while you shampoo and condition your hair and you can save more than 175 litres a week.


  • Install ultra-low-flush toilets.
  • Replace or adjust the toilet flush handle if it frequently sticks in the flush position and allows more water to run than required.
  • Replace the toilet flapper if the toilet consistently makes a hissing or dripping sound.
  • Put food colouring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl, then you have a leak. It's easy to fix, and you can save more than 2,000 litres a month. (Flush as soon as test is done, since food colouring may stain tank.)

Plants and Greenery

  • Water the lawn during early summer mornings, when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter. This will minimize evaporation.
  • Check the sprinkler system frequently to ensure water is not wasted on sidewalks, driveways, or other non-required areas.
  • Install a rain shut-off device on automatic sprinklers to eliminate unnecessary watering.
  • Divide the watering cycle into shorter periods to reduce runoff and allow for better absorption.
  • Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.
  • Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation.  This will save hundreds of litres of water per year.
  • Collect the water used to rinse produce and re-use it to water plants.
  • Re-use the water when draining the fish tank to water plants. This water is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, providing you with a free and effective fertilizer.
  • Direct downspouts and other runoff towards shrubs and trees, or collect and use for the garden.
  • Group plants with the same watering needs together to get the most out of your watering time.
  • Weed the lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light, and water.
  • While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.
  • Choose low-water-use plants for year-round landscape colour and save up to 2,000 litres per year.
  • More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering. Be sure to only water plants when necessary.


  • Check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses for leaks.
  • Use a bucket, along with a sponge and hose nozzle to wash the car.  This will save about 300 litres per wash.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk.  This will save 300 litres of water each time.
  • Use a rain barrel to collect rainwater. Rainwater can be used for watering your garden or washing outside surfaces.  (Rain barrels are available for Richmond residents to purchase as a subsidized price. See Rain Barrel Program for more information.)

Indoor Washing

  • Use a bucket for regular household cleaning as opposed to running water.
  • Use a new water-saving washing machine. New models can save up to 40% of water used compared to conventional models.
  • Run the washing machine and dishwasher only with a full load.  This could save 3,700 litres per month.
  • Match the water level to the size of the load when doing laundry.
  • Fill the sink with wash water when washing dishes by hand.  Do not let the water run continuously.
  • Wash produce in the sink or a pot filled with water instead of running water from the tap.


  • Insulate water pipes. You'll get hot water faster and avoid wasting water while waiting for it to heat up.
  • Check your quarterly water bill to track usage and get a feel of the impact of consumption habits.
  • Check for leaks around your pool and hot tub pumps.
  • Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for cold drinks.
  • Check your pool for leaks periodically if you have an automatic refilling device.
  • Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save litres of water and damage to your home if a pipe were to burst.
  • Do not use recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
  • Click here to learn how to read your water meter and possible causes of leaks.