Skip to main content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Green Living: Water Use

Resources to help you green your home and make better environmental decisions.

GOOD Transparency: Water Conservation

Water Conservation

Water costs more than you think. You pay for it when it comes out of the faucet, of course. But you also pay to heat it and to get rid of it (sewage disposal).

Save energy by:

  • Setting water heater temperatures appropriately (120 degrees)
  • Replacing a failing 50 gallon water heater with a smaller one. Or go tankless. Or install a solar water heating system.

Save water and improve water quality by:

  • Installing low-flow fixtures, including low-flow showerheads.
  • Installing low flush or no flush toilets.
  • Fixing leaks (toilets, faucets).
  • Washing and drying only full loads of laundry and dishes.
  • Letting nature water your lawn and flowers. If you have automatic sprinklers, make sure that they're not running while it's raining. If you don't have automatic sprinklers, use soaker hoses and drip irrigation to efficiently water landscape plantings. Or install rain barrels so you can use rain water.
  • Using native plants in your landscaping. Work with your local gardening group, park district, or university extension to identify likely candidates.
  • Planting a rain garden to allow rainwater runoff from roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawn areas the opportunity to be absorbed by the soil.

Monitor changes in your water bill to calculate savings as you make changes. For information about more water efficient landscaping, see the Lawn and Garden page.

Books