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Indoor Water Conservation

water ripple

Why water conservation is important

  • Water is a finite resource. Even though about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, less than 1 percent is available for human use.
  • On average, a residential home in Columbia uses 3,740 gallons a month of water.
  • Toilets account for approximately 25 percent of indoor water use.
  • Energy-efficient water use has also spiked since 1999. This is because of energy-efficient appliances, such as toilets, washers and dryers, dishwashers, and shower heads.

How to save water and money

Using high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and appliances will not only help you conserve water, but will help you save on your next utility bill. You can save up to 30 percent of indoor water use by making the switch. This switch will not only affect your water bill, but will help you save on energy as well.

Pie chart showing typical water usage within a home.

Tips for indoor water conservation

  1. Check meter reading. Meters are usually along the water main, in the ground, or in the basement.
  2. Stop all water use for 30 minutes.
  3. Check the meter reading. If the number has changed, it’s time to check for leaks.
Fix leaks. Approximately 5 to 10 percent of U.S. homes have easy-to-fix leaks that drip away 90 gallons a day or more.
  • A slow leak in a faucet can waste 15 to 20 gallons of water a day.
  • The majority of leaks are due to worn-out washers. Turn off the water supply and replace the washer.
  • If the faucet is still leaking, consult a do-it-yourself manual available at most hardware stores or the library.

Two-thirds of all indoor water use takes place in the bathroom; so, it’s the easiest place to conserve!

  • Toilets should be seen, not heard! If you hear the water in your toilet running long after you flush, you could be wasting hundreds of gallons a day. Toilet leaks can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day.
  • Most toilet leaks are easily repaired. Take off the toilet tank lid and flush. Many problems can be readily recognized.
  • Check the overflow pipe. If water is spilling over the top, the arm needs to be adjusted so the valve shuts off the water sooner.
  • To check for leaks around the stopper, put a few drops of food coloring in the reservoir tank. Don’t flush for one hour. If the color shows up in the toilet bowl, the stopper at the bottom of the tank needs to be replaced.
  • Each flush of a standard toilet uses approximately 7 gallons of water. To reduce the amount of water used, fill a small plastic bottle (for example a 32 ounce soda container) with water and put it in the corner of the tank. Keep the bottle clear of the valve stopper. Don’t displace so much water that you need to double flush. Don’t use a brick or any other item that could disintegrate and cause problems.
  • Don’t use your toilet as a garbage can.
  • Typical shower heads use around 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Install a low-flow shower head and use only ~1.5 gallons.
  • Limit yourself to five-minute showers and fill the tub with only five inches of water for baths.
  • Don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing dishes in the sink.
  • Wash only full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine.

We’ll help you with your water conservation projects. Sign up for a free energy audit, or call 573-441-5528.

opens in a new windowWaterSense also provides more tips and tricks to help you conserve water indoors.

Interested in other water conservation tips? Check out our water conservation tips for outdoor landscaping and irrigation.

Contact Utility Services


701 E Broadway, Columbia, MO 65205




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