In the yard:
.Water your lawn either in the morning or evening – watering during the day is less efficient because of evaporation. Use straight-edged container, such as a tuna can, to determine how long you need to run the sprinkler. Put the can under your sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill that glass an inch. That’s how long you need to water.
.Protect your plants with mulch. It helps conserve water by trapping moisture and keeping the soil cool.
.If you’re asked to conserve water, don’t panic. Lawns can actually survive a few months without water, and they will recover quickly once rain returns. Just as lawns turn brown from extreme water shortages, they will also return to their natural thick green state when conditions improve – usually in the fall.
.If you have an irrigation system, make sure it’s working properly. Repair or replace broken or damaged nozzles or heads, which can wreak havoc on your landscape and water bill.
.If you have a pool, cover it up. Pool covers help reduce evaporation. Also check your pool periodically for leaks.
In your home:
.Fix leaks. Experts estimate 11,000 gallons of water per U.S. household each year are wasted due each year to running toilets, dripping faucets and other leaks. A sink or bathroom leak may be obvious, but some leaks, like those close to water lines, may not be seen or heard initially. And don’t forget to check your outdoor faucets. Here’s a great test — add a few drops of food coloring to your toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl after about a half hour, you have a leak. Be sure to clean the bowl afterwards so it doesn’t stain.
.A water audit is also a great way to check for leaks. An auditor will check your water connections, toilets and faucets for leaks. He or she will also evaluate your home’s water use and suggest ways to make it more efficient. Some municipal utilities even offer free water audits.
.Faucets, showers and toilets combined represent two-thirds of all indoor water use. Consider replacing those as they age, with low-flow fixtures to conserve water and save money. For example, a WaterSense-labeled showerhead uses less than two gallons of water per minute.
.Take a short shower instead of taking a bath. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.