Only You Can Protect Our Most Critical Resource! You may not often realize that only tap water keeps us healthy, fights fires, supports our economy, and provides us with a high quality of life to enjoy. Each of us can help ensure that we continue to have these benefits for many years to come by practicing water conservation in our everyday activities.

Water conservation is no longer just for drought; it is necessary as a way of life all year. It is simple, inexpensive, and most importantly our personal responsibility.

Below are just a few tips for conserving water:

  • How much water are you using?
  • Use your water wisely!
  • Water Sense – Look for the label

How much water are you using?

Use the H2OUSE Water Budget Calculator to determine how much water is the right amount for you.

How to use your water wisely


  • Design your landscape with native plants and reduce grass covered areas.
  • Use sprinklers that produce droplets rather than mist and include rain shut-off devices.
  • Water during the coolest part of the day.
  • Use soaker hoses or trickle irrigation for trees and shrubs.
  • Install covers on pools and spas to reduce evaporation, and check for leaks around pumps.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks.
  • Cut grass at least three inches high to shade roots, making it more drought-tolerant.
  • Mulch to retain water. Spread leaves, lawn clippings, or landscaping tarps around plants. Mulching also controls weeds that compete with garden plants for water.
  • Wash your car less often or wash it at a carwash where they can clean and recycle the water.
  • If you do wash your car at home, use a bucket of diluted biodegradable soap rather than running a hose.


  • Install a water-efficient showerhead (<2.5 gallons/minute).
  • Take a 5-minute shower rather than a bath.
  • Turn off water while brushing teeth and shaving.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry and replace old clothes washers with a water and energy efficient model.
  • Scrape rather than rinse dishes before loading into the dishwasher.
  • Check your toilet for “silent” leaks by placing a little food coloring in the tank and seeing if it leaks into the bowl.
  • Don’t pour water down the drain if you can use it for other projects such as watering plants or cleaning.
  • When you buy a new toilet, choose a low flow model (1.6 gallons or less per flush).
  • Avoid using the toilet as a trash basket for facial tissues and similar items. Each flush uses 5 to 7 gallons of water.
  • Teach children to turn off faucets tightly.
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Water Sense – Look for the Label

The City of Columbia became an EPA WaterSense partner in 2008.

Water Sense, a voluntary public-private partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is making it easy to find and select water efficient products with a label backed by independent testing and certification. Generally speaking, WaterSense labeled products will be about 20% more water efficient and perform their intended function as well as or better than their less efficient counterparts.