Vermonters are fortunate to live in a state where water is relatively plentiful and clean. As Vermont’s population grows, however, water conservation will play an increasingly important role in protecting the health of our state’s lakes and streams and the safety of our drinking water supplies. Using water more efficiently will protect and conserve drinking water supplies and save energy.

We can help safeguard our own health and the health of our neighbors by using less water. Water conservation improves septic system performance, which reduces the risk of groundwater contamination, and means less water gets diverted from streams. Water conservation also provides energy conservation savings as less electricity is needed to heat, pump, and treat water.

Consider these one dozen ways to conserve water in Vermont:

  1. An astounding 40 percent of the water you use in your home is flushed down the toilet. Placing a plastic bottle filled with water or rocks as ballast in your toilet tank can save several gallons of water per flush, and more than 12,000 gallons per year for a typical family.
  2. Wash full loads of laundry only, unless your washing machine has a water-saving cycle for small loads. Use cold water when possible, as this saves energy.
  3. Repair leaking and dripping faucets as soon as possible. A dripping faucet can waste up to 20 gallons of water a day; a leaking toilet up to 200 gallons a day.
  4. Turn off your faucet while brushing your teeth.
  5. For a glass of cold water to quench your thirst, keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator. This is more efficient than running the tap and waiting for the water to become cold.
  6. When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the hot water run constantly for rinsing. Instead, use one basin for soapy water and another basin for rinsing.
  7. Showers account for up to one-third of home water use for a typical family. Installing a low-flow shower head will save water and money.
  8. For automatic dishwashers, wash full loads only, unless the machine as water-saving cycle for small loads.
  9. Wash the family car or truck using water from a bucket, not running water from a hose. Use the hose only for rinsing.
  10. If you must water your lawn, do so in the morning or evening to minimize evaporation. Watering during the heat of the day can sometimes burn a lawn because water increases the sun’s intensity.
  11. Encourage your water system to establish a water pricing structure that rewards and encourages conservation.
  12. Encourage your office and local school to adopt water-saving measures.

To learn more about water conservation, call the Water Supply Division of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources at (802) 241-3400.