Most people are conscious enough about water conservation that they at least turn the water off while they brush their teeth, and they probably already have low-flow shower heads. Yet, gallons of clean, usable water are still going down the drain because we overlook some of the most obvious things. Check out these creative ways to use less water.

“Rescuing” Water

Some people may not hop right into the shower as soon as they turn the water on. Instead, they wait a few seconds to a minute for it to heat up before hopping in, but during that time, precious, clean, unused water goes straight down the drain. Have you ever thought about keeping a bucket or jug in your bathroom to collect water? It will heighten your awareness of just how much water is being wasted (that bucket will fill up FAST!), and you can save even more water by using your ¨rescued¨ water in other places. Here are some ideas:

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  1. Dump it in your washing machine! If you have a top loader, just pour it on in!  If you have a front loader, you can often pour it right in the detergent chute.

  2. Pour it in your pets’ water dish! As long as you collect the water in a clean container, you can give it right to your fluffy friends.  You were going to fill their bowl anyway, so why not do it with rescued water?

  3. Those plants need water, too! Dump the collected water on your thirsty houseplants or container garden.

  4. Flush your toilet with it! Dumping water quickly into the toilet will make the toilet flush. You probably need about a gallon. You’ll also need another couple quarts to refill the bowl. (More information on this below.)

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  5. Be creative! Anywhere you would usually use water, you can use rescued water. Give it a try and soon it will become part of your everyday routine. It’s fun to challenge yourself and see where you can use it!

  6. You can also rescue water at your sink if you’ŕe waiting for water to heat up for washing dishes.

Flush With Grey Water

If you’re going to flush your water with rescued water anyway, why not do it with grey water instead of clean water? Depending on your level of commitment to conservation, you can save water from a bath and dump it in your toilet the next time you need to flush. Not necessarily ideal or even convenient, but even if you do it once in a while, you’re probably saving more than you realize. The cool thing about grey water is that even some businesses, such as the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certified Science Center at Jamestown Community College in Western New York collect grey water (in this case mostly from snow melt and rain) for flushing toilets, among other things.

Speaking of Grey Water…

Did you know that you can use water from your laundry, dishes, and even bathtub to water your trees and flower beds?  If you don’t mind schlepping a bucket or dishpan full of used water across your lawn, you can nurture your landscaping without turning on the hose. Just make sure your water isn’t super dirty and that you’re using chemical-free detergents and soaps instead of harsh detergents or products containing chemicals.

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Stack Your Showers

Is there more than one person in your home who plans on showering today? Spacing out your showers means that the water cools in the pipes, and then the next person has to wait for more hot water to travel from the water heater to the faucet. Try to hop in right before or after they do, while the water in the pipes is still hot, and you can just jump in without having to let the water run.

The extra bonus for all your water-saving effort is that you’ll save money, too!

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Image source: Schezar/ Flickr